Merchandise Time of the Doctor Toys - feat

Published on July 11th, 2014 | by Alex Skerratt

Fans’ Uproar Over Figures Price Disparity

In a quiet backwater store, a scandal is brewing. The massed forces of the universe’s most passionate fans have gathered, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars…

“Have you seen the price?!”

That’s right. Forbidden Planet has released pre-order details of its Time of the Doctor Eleventh and Twelfth’ figurines… at an eye-watering £29.99 (reduced from £32,99, I should point out!). While that price is enough to leave any staunch Whovian in need of a new regeneration cycle, let’s first examine the positives of this admittedly cool piece of merchandise.

Here’s the description from Forbidden Planet:

“Presented here is the Eleventh Doctor in his iconic final season long frock coat. The set comes with a Twelfth Doctor regenerated head plus young and ‘aged’ Eleventh Doctor heads with 2 swappable shirt / chest pieces. It also includes 1 x walking cane, 1 x Sonic Screwdriver and 1 x ‘Handles’ accessories.

“The set is presented in a TARDIS inspired gift box with opening front panels to reveal episode information and display your collector figure. Exclusive to Forbidden Planet!”

I so wish these had been available when I was a kid. But then, my mum would have whacked me round the head if I’d asked her to pay £29.99 for them…!

Why the high price? Forbidden Planet itself is reportedly mystified, so it seems the problem originates with the manufacturer (that’s Character, if you’re planning a protest).

Moreover – and this is where the scandal reaches almost Omnirumour proportions – the same product will be available in the US at a much cheaper price – $35.00 in fact, which is roughly £20.44 according to my desktop widget! And you don’t need a badge in mathematical excellence to realise that is a staggering £10.00 less.

But you may need a time machine if you want to get your hands on one of these at the same time as our American friends, because they will be out in the States long before they’re out in the UK; the UK release date is currently September 30th, 2014.

It really is very perplexing, especially at a time when the BBC is making steps to achieve a sort of international Doctor Who synergy, with ‘simulcast’ episode transmissions being arranged for the benefit of the global audience, for example. Is it helpful, or necessary, for there to be such a price gap for this particular piece of merchandise? And why the long wait for UK fans? Are these figures being dispatched from the other side of the world on a very, very slow boat, pulled by snails, through an ocean of wallpaper paste, on a hot day? Because even then they should reach us before September 30th, surely!

On the plus side – this is a very snazzy collectible, and one that I would be happy to add to my assortment of Doctor Who paraphernalia in the years to come.

But – maybe when the price has dropped a bit…

(With thanks to Ian.)


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About the Author


likes William Hartnell, whisky, being creative, debating canonicity, The Gunfighters, The Keys of Marinus and City of Death. He has a strong dislike of cold quiche, corporate PowerPoint presentations and lanyards, but loves terrible puns. He's currently employed by a mute teddy bear with black ears.

13 Responses to Fans’ Uproar Over Figures Price Disparity

  1. avatar Karl says:

    Yet again, another classic example of British Doctor Who fans being totally shafted. Unless this figure is reduced in price, I for one, will not be buying it. Shame really as it has the potential of being a lovely piece.

  2. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Character Options: Once so admired, loved and detailed in their work, now reduced to being vilified, hated and abandoned by the very people who started out buying and collecting their figures. Did the company come under new management a few years ago or something? If so the new management needs getting shot of and the previous management reinstated with immediate effect!

  3. avatar sw says:

    So after all the “how many figures is this” it turns out to be 1, I can say when I pre ordered mine earlier this week the description was NOT as informative as it is now, for that price you would expect 2 figures and be happy at £15 each, but £30 for 1….come on!!! As for the price difference I notice where action figures are concerned $’s and £’s are like for like and the exchange rate just vanishes into the cosmos.

  4. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Character Options is probably just ticked off that no one likes their crappy 3.75″ figures and has decided to charge extra again now that they’ve decided to make a good action figure again at the right scale. While it is nice that it will be cheaper here in the states, so far, NO ONE has offered it up for sale or preorder here. No one that I’ve seen yet anyhow.

    C. O. Is going to go out of business though if they keep screwing with the fans. I’m just happy to have saved so much money not buying the lame small scale figures that I can afford buying these rare 5″ scale beauties.

  5. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    UPDATE: I just found one place here in the states that has put up a pre order at it’s $38.00, so we’re getting screwed on the price same as you in the UK. Heck, if it actually goes on sake here anywhere for $20, I’ll buy two!

  6. avatar Ian says:

    I think I have worked out why the price is high. Its not just cause FPI have to import it, its a Underground Toy exclusive so FPI have had to pay them to get the set. Like the re-release of the Daleks in Manhattan set, its a UT/US exclusive only, not available here in the UK.

  7. avatar Colin says:

    Even though I live in the States and could benefit from this deal, I agree that it’s unfair. The UK should be the primary market for Who, and UK fans should always get the best deals. For all the international appeal and attention, one of the things that makes Doctor Who so attractive to non-UK markets is its British-ness. And what was the rest of the world doing with Doctor Who back in 1963? Where were the US fans when the Daleks were rising out of the Thames? Or the Yeti taking over the London Undergound? The UK fans have been supporting the show from Day One. It’s only fair they get the best goodies at the best prices first.

    That’s my opinion, anyway. :)

  8. It is an Underground Toys Exclusive issue. It gets shipped from the PRC through the port of Hong Kong ( no longer British!) to Los Angeles or San Fransico , then by rail to New York. Now they go into a cargo container on the Kobayashi Maru to Liverpool!
    Add in that ridiculous VAT you lot came up with, and you get an overpriced, late to market ,but, nevertheless awesome collectible!

    I am buying 3 sets!!
    It really is good to be American , sometimes!

  9. Price disparity is something that we’re used to here in Australia. Even electronically delivered products on services such as iTunes cost us more – figure that one out?!

    We’d be very surprised if this particular disparity isn’t fixed in the very near future because, if it isn’t, this article will only be the beginning of the Whovian-based outrage.

    Brilliant reporting bringing this to our attention by the way, team! Great work! :)

  10. avatar Al says:

    I find the price of the action figures, whether 5 or 3 1/2 inch, it doesn’t matter, is insane. Here in North America it’s not uncommon to see them slapped with prices in the $40-50 range (especially in sets). And $29.99 is common, but still way overpriced. Considering I paid about that same price for 10-inch-tall David Tennant action figure a few years ago. But prices for so-called collectable figures have been going through the roof for no apparent reason. Two years ago I’d be able to buy a deluxe Sideshow figure for $150 (very high, I know, but they’re special limited editions), and then suddenly it’s $250 or more for the same sort of thing, which is a rate of inflation that’s just unacceptable. What’s happened – has the price of PVC or whatever they make these things out of gone through the roof? I know petroleum-based products are used, but even when the price of oil first spiked past $100/barrel I don’t remember the cost of action figures going insane as a result. They’re really pricing themselves out of the market. These days I only buy these types of figures when stores throw their hands up in surrender and are forced to slash the price for sale specials.

  11. So, I just pre-ordered 3 sets at $37.99 each. (Got free shipping, as it’s over $100). BUT, they are listed as available in October!
    The set consists of 1 body, 2 shirtfronts and 3 heads: young Matt, old Matt and Peter Capaldi.
    Six extra heads for me to do some custom figures with, and display one each!

    I really can not stand the whinning about cost. Save your money up , get a second or part time job, or rebalance your budget to have more disposable income! Example, eat less junk food like chips/crisps etc!!

    Or,steal a Vortex Manipulator and sell it on the black market!

  12. avatar bigwhofan says:

    I agree too, but price-wise aside I’m afraid of ordering it now it case it becomes cheaper in like 6 months, but then Im afraid of ordering then because FP might sell out fast, like with the War Doctor figure.

    • Here in the States, Entertainment Earth does not charge you until shipped and guarantees the lowest price at time of shipping. So, if it comes down between now and October, you pay less.
      They also are still selling the War Doctor now!

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