Six weeks back I wrote about the need for LEGO and the BBC to put their heads together and bring out a line of Doctor Who LEGO sets. Apparently, I’m not the only one to feel there’s an obvious need to be filled, as there’s an entire thread at TrekBBS on the subject.
Interestingly, the first post in the thread is from someone who wrote to LEGO and proposed Doctor Who as a potential license. He then posted LEGO’s reply:
I think Dr Who LEGO would be a fantastic idea but I don’t know of any plans to make any. Our Design Team, based in Denmark, try to find products that will be popular all over the world, so they tend to use well known licensed characters such as Harry Potter, Star Wars and Batman.
As I wrote earlier, I think that Doctor Who would have the worldwide appeal, and it would certainly have an all-ages appeal.
But then, I had an interesting thought. And if you read the TrekBBS thread, you’ll hit that idea, but I’m going to write at greater length about it here.
One of the great things about LEGO is that you’re not limited to building whatever the instruction manual lays out. Yes, for some things — like the various model designs — you’re probably going to build it exact, and then never, ever touch it again. (The USS Constellation model is like that for me.) But just taking a bucket of bricks, and building something that you’ve seen only in your head — well, that’s the joy of building with LEGO.
Something that LEGO used to do — though I’m not entirely certain that they still do — is they would publish, about once a year, a book of LEGO designs that fit into their “worlds” but didn’t have kits to actually go with them. Sometimes there would be instructions, but sometimes it was just pictures of things you could do with LEGO. And you could sit down, take a bunch of bricks, and either follow these new directions or build something completely different, riffing off something they had pictured. In some ways, the LEGO Magazine does this, and there’s TwoMorrows Publishing’s BrickJournal, but they’re not at all what I remember from my youth.
What I’m getting at is this: Test the market.
Suppose LEGO and the BBC teamed up and produced a profusely-illustrated book of Doctor Who rendered in LEGO. And provided instructions for building an “official” LEGO TARDIS, and “official” LEGO TARDIS Console, even an “official” LEGO Dalek. Assume the buyer has the parts — perhaps even offer a special brick bucket with the parts and then some — and sell LEGO Doctor Who like that.
In terms of production costs, there would really only be the cost of designing the models, designing the book, and publishing it. And it would be a book that would appeal as equally to the eight year-old who loves his LEGO sets as it would to the thirty-something who has a whole line of licensed LEGO sets. At worst, it would sell like an art book. At best, it would indicate to LEGO that the market exists for “real” LEGO Doctor Who sets.
The fantastic thing about Doctor Who is that the TARDIS can visit any of the environments that LEGO creates. LEGO probably couldn’t show the LEGO TARDIS in a picture with LEGO Star Wars sets or LEGO Harry Potter sets, but the LEGO TARDIS could certainly land in and interact with the Town, Space, or Castle sets. The TARDIS can go anywhere, it has the immediate crossover appeal.
As I said six weeks ago, LEGO Doctor Who simply needs to happen. There’s a way for LEGO to test the waters without committing to investing in an entire line. Doctor Who is the BBC’s most identifiable brand, and one that would appeal to the same ages and demographics that LEGO targets. Yes, there would be licensing costs simply to produce an illustrated book, but if such a book goes over well, then perhaps LEGO could follow that with full-scale sets.
I, for one, would welcome anything LEGO Doctor Who.