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It's Not a Police Box, It's a Tardis 257

xA40D writes "The BBC is reporting that they've won the battle with the Metropolitan Police over the trademark police box, more commonly known as a Tardis: 'arbitrator Shaun Sherlock remarked that even if the police had built up any reputation, it would have only been in the area of policing and law enforcement and would not have extended into the goods and services which the BBC had applied to use it for.'"
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It's Not a Police Box, It's a Tardis

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  • by penginkun ( 585807 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:41AM (#4519872)
    All caps, right? Time And Relative Dimensions in Space, yeah? OK. As you were.
  • by acehole ( 174372 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:42AM (#4519874) Homepage
    You mean the BBC are planning to use the policebox for timetravel tips?

    The timelords would not be happy about that.
  • by Trongy ( 64652 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:43AM (#4519880)
    Next stop will be ionian columns.
    (The Master's tardis default appearance)
  • I wish... (Score:5, Funny)

    by gr0ngb0t ( 410427 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:44AM (#4519883)
    ... that my room was a tardis. not so much for interstellar travel and everything that the good doctor used to do (although that would be cool), but just so I can fit all my shit in there easily.

    dont know how much my cat would like K-9 though...
    • What the hell did K-9 actually do anyway? Yes, he was the doc's trusty friend, but he just buzzed and wheeled around the TARDIS all day doing sod all.

      Shees, I mean the thing never even trundled his way off to the door wagging his antenna when the Doc returned home. Not much of an 'old faithful was he?

      Come to think of it, I think the Doc didn't really like him either - you never saw him stroking the box-o-bolts or say hello to it.

      Maybe he was supposed to have been a guard dog for the TARDIS, since there were'nt any locks on the front door, and that thing oftern found it way into pretty hostile territory. If so, he could have developed a more fierce attitutude. What would he have done if an intruder got in? Pee'd oil on him?

      • Re:K-9 or K-O (Score:2, Informative)

        by g4dget ( 579145 )
        I'm not a Doctor Who expert, but I just saw the Key to Time series on DVD. In it, K9 does get the Doctor out of a lot of tight spots. Also, the Tardis is locked and can only be opened by the Doctor. And, the Doctor really seems to like K9 and does pet it quite a bit. And, yes, that tail does wag.

        • I am a Doctor Who expert (lots of misspent (sorta) hours of my youth, up until I discovered my first compiler), and the TARDIS can be unlocked by pretty much anyone with the key.

          In one of the sillier episodes, we learn (because the screenwriters had just invented this fact) that inserting the key into the lock turns off lots of protecting and stabilizing mechanisms, on the assumption that the door will be opened half a second later. So a companion (not the Doctor) puts the key in, starts to the open the door, but gets distracted and walks away leaving the key in the lock. So the TARDIS starts drifting around on its own.

          • Out of curiosity, do you know which ep that is or some keywords I could use to find that out?

            I think I missed that ep, and ya got me curious!
          • I'd like to pick your brain on something.

            I thought I heard once, in an episode, that the TARDIS can detect the presence of the being attempting to gain access and can deny access. (hmmm, /etc/sysconfig/firewall/TARDIS.conf ... but I digress.) However there are also counter-examples, such as the Gallifreyan guards entering with a master trimonic key (Invasion of Time).

            Have you any thoughts on the matter?
      • Re:K-9 or K-O (Score:2, Informative)

        by Atrahasis ( 556602 )
        Actually, the the TARDIS has an infinite number of keyholes inside the one (apparent) keyhole on the outside. Only The Doctor knows which is the right one, and only he has a key.
      • K9 was cool - he'd laser the badguy in the nuts.
    • by spakka ( 606417 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @09:28AM (#4521425)
      I can fit all my shit in there easily

      You're thinking of the TURDIS

  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by SexyKellyOsbourne ( 606860 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:45AM (#4519887) Journal
    I peed in one of those Tardis boxes when I went to the UK, as I seriously thought it was a public urinal (I was very drunk) :D

    But anyways, it's not like the police were going to win against the BBC's high-priced lawyers -- and now that this lawsuit's over, the police (read: taxpayers) also have to pay the BBC's mega legal fees, too, even if the rest of it is just 850 pounds.

    If I were a UK taxpayer, I'd be quite angry at them for it.
    • Re:Heh (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kwikymart ( 90332 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:56AM (#4519922)
      The one thing that bugs me about this is that why does a government organization that does not take part in any trade, own the trademark on something?

      Maybe if they developed profiling software or an efficient billyclub or something (even then, that is more of a patent area), but I really think the police should be the last people getting a trademark. If I lived in the UK, yes, I would be uber-pissed at such idiocy. I hate the attitude of cops in general. Damn cops!
      • Re:Heh (Score:2, Offtopic)

        ...please permit me to go off topic for 1 second...

        I hate the attitude of cops in general. Damn cops!

        I am in agreement - they should spend more in improving their image and attidute. While the attitude of UK bobbies is on the whole better than their US-counterparts, some are bloody down-right rude

        Get this - I got pulled over 2 weeks ago for running a red light in London (it was frikkin orange, but never mind). I was on my way from work to the hospital, where my 2.5 month-old son lay with a 40.3oC temperature, so I was in a bit of a hurry. I really was, and I was all panicky. Anyway, the cop was sympathetic and let me go on my way without issuing a ticket, and putting god-knows how many points on my license.
        Yesterday, I got a letter with a 600 GBP fine and an issue to go in front of a Police tribunal for failing to stop after being flagged down by a policeman for running a red light. WT friggin F??? The b'stard took my license number and issued a failing-to-stop-for-police notice. I'm frikkin fuming - So hah, Metropolitan police. Pay your frikkin huge court bill, because now I have to get a bloody solicitor to defend me in a my-word-against-your-word case, because I didn't ask for the policemans number after he was so 'kind' to let me go.

        Grrrrrr

        • Re:Heh (Score:2, Informative)

          by billcopc ( 196330 )
          Hey we get the same kind of police fraud here in Canada. I once got pulled over for speeding, which in itself is okay except for the fact that the guy was out of his district (I traveled four close cities to/from work, and he was about a mile beyond the borders - bah). Anyways I fought the ticket in court and got shut out by the judge who had an obvious grudge against 21-year olds who earn more money than he does, so I pay the fine and go on with my life, slightly irate.

          3 months later I get arrested for driving without a license because they decided to charge late fees on my fine but never bothered informing me, so a sneaky (fraudulent?) 40$ late fee ended up costing 300$ (the fine for an invalid license) and another 600$ in hiked insurance premiums because of the big ugly mark on my record for having my license suspended.

          I have recently moved to the sneaky police's district, and I see them everyday, camping out the same traffic trap, arresting at least a hundred drivers at that intersection PER DAY for the same 130$ ticket and 2 points on the license, for changing lanes during rush hour in 2 kph traffic, something that has never killed anyone here, and certainly doesn't deserve the attention of FOUR cars and 6-7 police agents, leaving two cars to cover the remaining 1400 square kilometers of the region (an aggregate of small country towns, perhaps 25000 habitants).

          I swear every time I drive by that intersection, I get this urge to just ram them all into a sheet-metal sandwich. Police (and the rest of government) are supposed to be non-profit. We pay taxes for this shit, and we get raped in return. Police state, meet Anarchy village!
      • If the BBC, you can buy T-shirts, memorabilia, copies of shows, etc.

        If the police, I've never been in the UK, and from what's been posted it would seem I couldn't expect to see such a blue police box on the streets. Even though it might have been a trademark at some point, it lost that status because it's status as a trademark was not maintained and protected.

        Had they continually protected and maintained the blue police box as a unique feature or trademark, they might have had legal ground. For example, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) dress uniform is a very distinctive trademark and is appropriately protected. The protection isn't so much to make money for the RCMP as it is to protect the historical importance of that image and theoretically to ensure that it isn't abused for profit by a person or business that didn't build that reputation.

        As to "Damn cops", everyone has the right to their own prejudice. I've never had any problems with the police -- give respect and you get it back. Most of them are just regular people who spend an awful lot of time dealing with whackos, drunks, crazies, domestic arguments, and a lot of other situations where they have no assurance it's not going to blow up in their face. Give them attitude and they have to assume you're a problem and will react accordingly. Don't get me wrong -- there are a few gung-ho gung-ho jarheads and corrupt/prejudiced idiots with badges. They just aren't the norm.

      • Re:Heh (Score:3, Informative)

        by stygar ( 539704 )

        Regarding the Metropolitan Police's desire to have a trademark on something: they might've just been following the lead of the RCMP here in Canada. The mounties have trademarks on their traditional image (ie the red-coated, wide-brimmed hat wearing cop on a horse), ostensibly so that they have control over how the image is used, and on what products. The only really objectionable thing they've done with the trademark is sign a contract with Disney (shudder) to act as their agent for those licensing the image (IIRC, this contract has run out and not been renewed).

        Mind you, the RCMP is probably in a unique position on this - I doubt there are many other police forces with as distinctive an image, in any country.

    • Re:Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by snookums ( 48954 )

      the police (read: taxpayers) also have to pay the BBC's mega legal fees

      Yes the police are funded by the taxpayer, but Joe Random Public also pays for the BBC (through taxes and TV licenses). That's right, two-fifths of British free-to-air television is public television.

      I think the BBC will do a better job of making money off the trademark than the police ever would, thus more money goes back into a public service. I put this one down as a good outcome for the British public.

    • Re:Heh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @05:36AM (#4520364)
      But anyways, it's not like the police were going to win against the BBC's high-priced lawyers -- and now that this lawsuit's over, the police (read: taxpayers) also have to pay the BBC's mega legal fees, too, even if the rest of it is just 850 pounds.

      You're right - one taxpayer-funded entity is suing another taxpayer-funded entity, over something that was developed with the taxpayer's money and therefore rightfully belongs in the public domain. They only people who are coming out of this ahead are the lawyers. What a coincidence that the present Prime Minister, his wife, and most of their friends, colleagues and supporters are all lawyers. Shakespeare had the right idea centuries ago.
    • But anyways, it's not like the police were going to win against the BBC's high-priced lawyers -- and now that this lawsuit's over, the police (read: taxpayers) also have to pay the BBC's mega legal fees, too, even if the rest of it is just 850 pounds.

      The BBC is public funded too. Brits pay a "television licence fee" to the tune of $150US per year, maybe even more now. So they don't necessarily have pots of cash either. Indeed, it is thanks to merchandising and program sales to foreign markets that the licence fee is so low. It seems ridiculous that the Police and another quasi-state owned institution should be battling legal battles. Cases like these just make lawyers rich from money in the public coffers, but there's nothing new about that.

      P.S. If you were really drunk when you peed in a Police Box, you were probably over 18. So you were born in 1940-1950? They haven't been in public for a long long time... there were still red phone boxes until about 10 years ago though.

      • Re:Heh (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jweatherley ( 457715 )
        There are still some (non functional) police boxes in Glasgow. There's one at the end of Byres Road which was in a bit of a state the last time I saw it. You could certainly piss in there after visiting all the pubs in Byres Road on a Friday night as the door was kicked in.

        There is also a police box in the middle of Buchannan Street. It has a small window and if you look through it you see an infinite space full of fibre optic lights - maybe that one does work!
  • Sheesh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darkov ( 261309 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:45AM (#4519889)
    You'd think the coppers would have something better to do than having trade mark wrangles with the BBC over something they stopped using nearly 50 years ago. Sounds a bit opportunistic - were they trying to raise some cash for the police social club?
    • Re:Sheesh... (Score:2, Informative)

      by foo12 ( 585116 )
      Or win back the mark and allow its licensing to third parties, effectively capitalizing on the popularity won for the police box by the Dr. Who series.

      A similar suit [guardian.co.uk] was recently settled in favor of the London Underground. Perhaps those more familiar with international resolution of civil torts can comment.
    • You'd think the coppers would have something better to do than having trade mark wrangles with the BBC over something they stopped using nearly 50 years ago.

      You'd also think they'd have something better to do than pull people over for doing 80 down a clear motorway.

      were they trying to raise some cash for the police social club?

      Normally the speeding fines cover that.
  • Erm... Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:50AM (#4519906) Journal
    WTF? Hey, I totally support police finding "alternative" methods of funding (as opposed to milking the taxpayers, or confiscating anything they lay their eyes on thanks to the WO(s)D, ala a witchfinder general), but really...

    With all that we have going on in the world, these folks have nothing better to do than bicker over who owns a damned box? Oh, sorry, the *IMAGE* of the box. My bad. That makes it so much more serious.
    • Re:Erm... Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Only Druid ( 587299 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:55AM (#4519918)
      Just a note - you've got to love a reference in this post to _Good Omens_. On a related note (so that this post isn't viewed as a troll or whatever), I think its important that what the courts basically said here is that if you're not using a trademark for a commercial use, its not really yours. In a meaningful way, they may have just made it possible for people to use any non-commercial trademark in a way that doesn't infringe on the original use.
      • by nounderscores ( 246517 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @03:14AM (#4519958)
        Cool! Now I can have my intrepid alien protagonist travel the galaxy in a space ship disguised as a box of Microsoft XP disks. The logic being that it can hide the space ship in computer stores and remain undetected because nobody ever picks it up to buy it.
      • by N Monkey ( 313423 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @04:28AM (#4520138)
        In a meaningful way, they may have just made it possible for people to use any non-commercial trademark in a way that doesn't infringe on the original use.

        I don't think this is anything particularly new. The Beatles' Apple record company used to use a picture of a real apple on the labels, which I assume they considered to be a trademark.

        I don't think the farmer tried to sue them for it. ;-)
  • by devross ( 524605 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @02:53AM (#4519914) Homepage
    If he were just a bit more clever, there never would have been a dispute. Nobody would have ever known there was a such thing as a "TARDIS" if the Doctor wasn't materializing and dematerializing all over London in broad daylight like that.
  • Perhaps this will allow a reincarnation of the earlier Dr. Who TV series in a new form, or perhaps even a new movie. I remember watching these when I was young, very cool stuff despite its age.

    But the Metropolitan Police lost its appeal and has been ordered to pay £850, plus legal costs.

    The case has been rumbling on since 1996, when the Patent Office originally accepted the Tardis as a BBC trade mark.


    Anyone besides me think that the £850 isn't going to amount to much in comparison to the legal charges. Having to pay legal charges for 7 years worth of case-wrangling is probably a big ouch on the police bankbook. The Metropolitan Police will probably have a shortage of donuts in the office for quite awhile.

    Any else anticipate an article that states Metropolitan Police are reducing the tolerance for speeding limit to 1% and then upping the cost of a tickets, they'll have to recover this money somehow. :-)
    • Perhaps this will allow a reincarnation of the earlier Dr. Who TV series in a new form, or perhaps even a new movie. I remember watching these when I was young, very cool stuff despite its age
      I read somewhere recently that there will be a new series of Dr Who sometime next year - the Doctor has not yet been announced (probably not Paul McGann, so the Beeb wasted the entire 8th Doctor on a film).
      • Done some digging around, and it would appear the series is scheduled for November 2003.

        Timomthy Spall (Auf Wiedersein Pet, All or Nothing) was rumoured to be cast as the 9th doctor, but that has been quashed by the BBC.
    • The Metropolitan Police will probably have a shortage of donuts in the office for quite awhile.

      If that's the worst that happens after such a cock-up of public money that this money-grabbing scheme was, I think they got off light.

      Any else anticipate an article that states Metropolitan Police are reducing the tolerance for speeding limit to 1% and then upping the cost of a tickets, they'll have to recover this money somehow. :-)

      Who'd notice? England's about the only place in the world worse than Victoria when it comes to revenue raising speed cameras.
    • by krugdm ( 322700 ) <slashdot.ikrug@com> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @08:47AM (#4521093) Homepage Journal

      But the Metropolitan Police lost its appeal and has been ordered to pay £850, plus legal costs.

      Hmm. That should be just about enough cash for the BBC to pay for the special effects to film another episode...

  • by roalt ( 534265 ) <slashdot.org@roa ... m minus caffeine> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @03:05AM (#4519939) Homepage Journal
    If the BBC lost this case, they could always send Dr. Who back in time to trademark the police box before the 1960-ties...

    Another question is... which Dr. Who?

    • by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @03:56AM (#4520073) Homepage
      If the BBC lost this case, they could always send Dr. Who back in time to trademark the police box before the 1960-ties...
      Another question is... which Dr. Who?


      [nerd mode]
      It's The Doctor, not Dr. Who. Dr. Who is the show; The Doctor is the main character.
      [/nerd mode]
      • by Phexro ( 9814 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @05:12AM (#4520268)
        [nerd mode]
        It's The Doctor, not Dr. Who. Dr. Who is the show; The Doctor is the main character.
        [/nerd mode]


        [uber who nerd mode]
        "Doctor Who" is the show, not "Dr. Who." Besides, you're both wrong. The credits listed The Doctor as "Dr. Who" until it's seventh season, when they listed it as "Doctor Who." The Doctor was never credited as "The Doctor," though it did flip-flip between "Dr. Who" and "Doctor Who" a few times.
        [/uber who nerd mode]
    • You'd have to go quite far back in time as the Police box came into existence in the 1930s!

      Doctor Who started in 1963.

      :-)

      Strangely enough old Police box models designed for use on railway models are quite collectable to Dr. Who fans.

      I remember being told by a fan that the original hollow black iron models (about 3 inches high) are worth a good few quid whilst the blue ones are only good for a fiver.

      Amazing how anything Who related is worth money.

      I've still got my square CD of Dr. Who music (serial #2) that I bought donkey years ago at a charity auction. Its supppose to be worth a fair bit to music and Who collectors. :-)

  • Etymology of Tardis (Score:4, Informative)

    by jukal ( 523582 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @03:09AM (#4519944) Journal
    tar [rt.com] -c myself && dis [rt.com] locate work->home.
  • What's the point? (Score:2, Informative)

    by shplorb ( 24647 )
    They're both government departments - can't they be happy that it belongs to the government no matter what? Ahh the wonders of bureaucracy!

    Damn bitches! err... lawyers.

    • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @03:33AM (#4520011) Journal

      The point is that when the government sues itself, it begins a process that theoretical physio-economists have postulated will result in the following phases: 1. A massive increase in the consumption of money, in this case pounds. 2. Due to the increased consumption, the government expands. 3. After burning through a considerable ammount of money as determined by the famouse Shrodinger-Herzfeld equation, it begins to collapse in on itself. 4. The collapse accelerates, during which a number of curious phenomenon are predicted such as the emission of Higg-bosons, PI denominated Euros, and pfennig-marks. 5. Finally, the government collapses into a Police Box, err... Tardis, from which an infinite supply of pounds eminates which curiously enough neither overinflates the economy nor vaporizes the world into a burst of X-rays. Unfortunately, it causes everybody to lose their teeth at an early age but most of the scientists studying the matter don't see this as a great problem, and they are eager to continue their research.

      • The point is that when the government sues itself

        The BBC is not a government organisation. Why do some people have so much trouble getting this? It is a publically owned corperation.

        The UK government has no control over the BBC. Any time that it tried to "suggest" they do something, they have had their fingers burnt.

        For example, the satirical current-affairs comedy "Have I got News For You" once received a request from up high to not mention a particular politition. They spent the next next show completely focusing on the guy. If they were govenment controlled, that would not have been possible.


        • The BBC is not a government organisation. Why do some people have so much trouble getting this?

          Because it is funded mostly through television taxation. The difference between that and an actual government organization is irrelevant. It's a "private" company in the same way that the electric company is "private" or the sewage treatment company is "private", or the construction company that does nothing but road repair is "private". You cannot choose to patronize a competing company instead. (Can you get a TV, watch JUST ITV for example, and not pay the BBC any license fee? No. BBC gets the same fee either way, whether you watch them or some competitor. Not surprisingly, under that climate the competitors are very small in number.)
    • Re:What's the point? (Score:5, Informative)

      by vidarh ( 309115 ) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @04:31AM (#4520147) Homepage Journal
      They're NOT both government departments. The BBC is a Corporation under Royal Charter. It may seem like a subtle difference, but it means that the BBC for the most part is run like any other company with the exception that it's board is appointed by the Crown, and it's main form of revenue is the license fee.

      Particularly under the Royal Charter BBC has an agreement that guarantee them editorial independence, which means that if they use the Tardis in a way that the Metropolitan Police doesn't like they don't have any recourse through government channels - they can choose to try to negotitate with the BBC, or they can sue. Presumably it's a situation like that the Met doesn't like.

      • by sql*kitten ( 1359 )
        The BBC is a Corporation under Royal Charter. It may seem like a subtle difference, but it means that the BBC for the most part is run like any other company with the exception that it's board is appointed by the Crown, and it's main form of revenue is the license fee.

        Then can you explain the practical differences, if any, between the license fee and a hypothecated poll tax on televisions?

        Calling it a corporation rather than a department is mere semantics. After all, license payers are not customers in any meaningful way, since you have to pay the fee irregardless of whether you watch the BBC 24 hrs a day, or not at all. Exactly the same as you pay NI whether or not you ever use a hospital.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 24, 2002 @03:24AM (#4519978)

    'arbitrator Shaun Sherlock remarked that even if the police had built up any reputation, it would have only been in the area of policing and law enforcement and would not have extended into the goods and services which the BBC had applied to use it for.'

    In response to which the BBC commented, "No shit, Sherlock."

  • by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <slashdot2@@@anthonymclin...com> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @03:35AM (#4520018) Homepage
    Yet in the US the police department in Los Angeles is working out the licensing rights for a potential tv show centered arround the LAPD, and the police department in New York is anxiously watching to see what comes of it and how it will apply to shows like NYPD Blue.

    I think if this was a U.S. case, the police would probably win.
  • by RomikQ ( 575227 ) <romikq@mail.ru> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @03:43AM (#4520043) Homepage
    Think about it! They have just stopped the police from getting time travel technology which could be used to prevent crimes and enforce law. Now it'll be employed by a news media giant planning secretly take over the world! We are doomed! Doomed, I tells ya!
  • by xeniten ( 550128 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @04:02AM (#4520090) Homepage
    Dr Who was the most intelligent,courageous and brave of all the sci-fi characters I've ever encountered in my childhood.

    He was a man you could depend on. He helped the poor and oppressed through out the whole universe. He put his life on the line so that others could live free from tyrants and dictators. In his travels he faced many dangers. He gave of himself so others could live free in peace and happyness. And indeed he lost many lives in the line of duty.All those lives were his own to give, for the sake of others. He could have lived selfishly,yet he did not.

    He was a perfect role model for children.

    Unlike the police of today , which have appearently become far too litigious for thier own good.

    They could learn a lesson or two from the Dr.

    The police call box was chosen as a motif for the good Dr becuase the series creators thought it would immediately assosiate the Dr with justice,law,and order.Many children in England grew up trusting police because of that call box.

    The BBC and the collective writers and staff of the series should have gotten a medal from the police for community service, NOT A LAWSUIT!

    • Dr Who was the most intelligent,courageous and brave of all the sci-fi characters I've ever encountered in my childhood.

      Ah, if only I'd modeled myself on the Doctor, but instead I chose Kerr Avon...

      He gave of himself so others could live free in peace and happyness. And indeed he lost many lives in the line of duty.

      That's a fundamental problem with fictional heroes. Take Superman (or Captain Scarlet) for example, he wasn't brave, he was indestructible. You don't have to brave if you're indestructible, even the concept of bravery becomes meaningless. It's similar with the Doctor; he knows that he's effectively immortal. Avon, on the other hand, did have to confront the very real risk that he would be killed. That made him a much deeper and more complex character than the Doctor.

      ObTopic: Servalan == Blunkett.
      • Hrm, I'm not sure the Dr was indestructible. I certainly remember that he went through a change after he got badly injured one time and as he can only go through 9 changes (IIRC), that puts a limit on his "life".

        As for being a role model, I think it's worth considering that the most offensive weapon he ever carried was the sonic screwdriver. I don't recall him ever having (let along using) a gun of any description...

      • The doctor wasn't indestructible. Each regenration was a flesh and blood destructible body... presumably if his head got chopped off or something he couldn't easily regenerate (although having an intact body seemed to be OK as the film showed... although I don't really like to count that [half human? where did they drag that one from? And they *changed the tardis!!!*]).

        He was just unbelievably lucky. Of course, being TV, all these 'ultimate evil' aliens had an obvious flaw (allergy to cold, salt, water, unable to climb stairs, etc.) so it wasn't that hard. Also in TV-land the enemy can never shoot straight enough to actually hit anyone.

    • ...principally, Adric.

      Also, if you were to ask Omega, the Rani, the Valeyard, Borusa, or the Master of their opinion of the Doctor, their opinions would be far from universally good.

      Even Tegan Jovanka had her fill at one point.

      And what of Fenric or the Valedium statue, held in what was for the Doctor a dark web of intrigue?

      And if the Mechanoids could be convinced to speak freely and not in some convoluted code, would they be pleased to have been used in the Doctor's personal vendetta with the Daleks?

      Granted that none of the above audience had particularly sterling personalities of the strictest virtue, but in the saner moments of the series, the hero-worship syndrome was abandoned, and the Doctor was presented in a much more realistic light with flaws and quirks just like the rest of us.

      Can you believe that I remember all this useless trivia?

  • Clearly... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jedi Paramedic ( 587254 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @04:02AM (#4520093)
    ...the metropolitan police are running out of places to hide the bodies and simply need to figure out the "dimensionally transcendental" nature of the TARDIS in order to have more room.

    In light of this, I wonder why the people with the patent on the tire-pressure-checker have never gone after the BBC for infringing on their design for the sonic screwdriver!

    The real culprit here is the broken Chameleon Circuit. It was under warranty, but alas - the last time he was near an authorized OEM service station, the good Doctor had to leave Gallifrey in haste before someone tried to go and make him Lord President again...

    And remember - the REAL Matrix doesn't involve a kid whose only line is "there is no spoon."

    Dr. Who rocks. Only he could go back to the beginning of time and jettison 1/3 of the TARDIS (which is asserted in many previous episodes to be infinite) to escape from the gravitational pull that would become the Big Bang. Silly Zero Room.
  • A trade mark on Mr. Bean? :)
  • by Monty Worm ( 7264 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @04:37AM (#4520163) Journal
    "I bear in mind that for most of the period since the police call box was
    taken out of service, the only sight the public at large would have had of this item of street furniture has been in the TV programme Dr Who, provided by the BBC where it is a Tardis, a fictional time travelling machine with the external appearance of a police box," ruled Mr Sherlock.

    Eh? If it was taken out of service, how did I manage to get a photo taken [ihug.co.nz] of me next to one? For the excessively keen, this TARDIS is outside Earls Court Underground Station, in London, England.

  • by gibodean ( 224873 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @05:01AM (#4520234)
    It seems I'm the only person here to actually not know what the original purpose of the police box was.

    I mean, before 1960 when they were taken out of service, what were they used for ?

    Did they have a telephone inside which connected you to the police ?

    Or was it somewhere to hide when you were being chased by hooligans ?
    • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @05:17AM (#4520286)

      This [freeserve.co.uk] looks like a good introduction to the history of the British Police Box...


      "The TARDIS style boxes were the most expensive and the cost for building a box in 1931 was 55pounds 16 shillings and 7pence, with another 3 pounds for number plate, coat hook, lino , stool, a fire extinguisher and bracket, as well as a brush and duster to keep the mini police station tidy!"


      Happy reading. Me, I'm 36 and grew up in England. Never saw a 'real' police box til I was a teenager. Vaguely knew that Dr. Who was travelling round in something that old-fashioned policemen used to use when my dad was a boy (or the Age of the Dinosaurs or similar) but never saw one until I was wandering round London as a teenager and found a few grubby disused and flyposted ones. Luckily these days councils have cottoned on to the fact that they are actually design classics, charming and tourists love them (as well as us who grew up as kids watching the Doctor take on tin foil and vacuum cleaner-part aliens), and they've been restoring a few rather than flattening them all.

    • by Foniks ( 543979 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @05:19AM (#4520296)
      They were used as a temporary holding cell for aprehended criminals and were made from anything from wood to cement. The front panel did house a phone that could be used by the public or the police to call for help/backup. In fact the original TARDIS was going to be an abandoned police box found in the country - but when the props guys rocked up it had been lifted, so they had to make a new one. Which lasted from 1963 till 1975ish when it fell apart on Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladens head.
    • They had a dual purpose:
      1. In a time when the telephone had been invented but had not become ubiquitous, and mobile radio units were extremely bulky, the telephone on the outside of the box was the beat cop's means of contacting the station. If he needed some help, or needed to report something, he could run to the nearest police box and use the phone there.
      2. The box could be opened and a suspect could be locked inside for a short while. Thus the officer could hold the person there, then make the phone call (using the phone on the box) to have more people come down from the station to escort the detainee back.
      This became obsolete when the constables started using automobiles in addition to walking cops. First, the automobile could carry a radio and the battery to power it, which made the police box telephone obsolete. Second, the automobile was used to transport the suspect back to the station directly, which made the second use of the police box obsolete.

      By the time of the show, they were already obsolete and only a few were left. Thus the first Doctor and his granddaughter (or was it niece? I can't remember), kept the TARDIS in a back alley piled with random junk (where an old unused Police Box would look normal.

  • 850 Pounds? (Score:5, Funny)

    by NeuroManson ( 214835 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @05:08AM (#4520255) Homepage
    Awright, now they have the budget to bring back Dr. Who for another season! More tinfoil and oatmeal skinned aliens than ever before!
  • by Foniks ( 543979 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @05:26AM (#4520321)
    Incidently, "This Planet Earth" used to make a full size replica TARDIS that you could purchase online. It came in a wood version and later a fibreglass version - but it has since been discontinued (only recently too). But you can still buy replica Daleks, Cybermen, K9's etc. Very high quality, i.e. as good if not better than the TV originals. In fact the Daleks have been used for Doctor Who promo gigs I believe. Check them out at http://www.thisplanetearth.co.uk It looks like they are thinking of releasing the 1996 movie version of the TARDIS soon..
  • There's at least one in Glasgow, possibly two, and I think there's a couple in Edinburgh...
  • by ayjay29 ( 144994 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @07:55AM (#4520753)
    This is how the BBC got the TARDIS idea:

    Director: We'r doing a space time travel "Star Trek" type thing. We need a flash spaceship, with lots of flashing lights lights and things.

    Props man: This is the BBC, be realistic.

    Director: OK, well we need a cheap model spaceship with thin wires that we can blue-screen with and do some cheesy fly-by shots.

    Props man: This is the BBC, be realistic.

    Director: Well we need something, what have you got?

    Props man: I've got this old phone box from "Dixon of Dock Green", needs a lick of paint but...

    • That would've been great if Star Trek hadn't started in 1966, and Doctor Who in 1963. Hmmmm?
    • Veering offtopic, but didn't Douglas Adams put in some time as a script editor (aka uncredited writer) on the series when Tom Baker incarnated the good doctor? ISTR some sort of Amazing Engine in one episode which had the usual perspex, silverpaint and blinkenlichten, and somewhere in the middle, the main control... the steering wheel from a Moris Minor[1]. Now that was being creative on a small budget.

      [1]A small British automobile, manufactured from soon after World War 2 until the very late 1950's or early 1960s. (Austin Powers would know them, and would surrender to Dr Evil rather than being seen dead in one.) Primitive, but reliable[2], some of the station-wagon versions with the wooden window-frames in the rear extension were still going strong into the late 1990's. They probably finally failed their annual safety tests because of damage from woodworm and deathwatch beetle rather than from rust.

      [2]The Morris Minor, not Austin Powers[3].

      [3]Austin was another British automobile manufacturer, it merged with Morris after WW2.

      [4]Apologies and credits to Terry Pratchett, independent inventor and populariser of the footnote-to-footnote joke.

      • >Apologies and credits to Terry Pratchett, independent inventor and populariser of the footnote-to-footnote joke.

        Actually, I think Douglas Kenney did a footnote-to-footnote (and a footnote to that footnote's footnote) in National Lampoon in the mid-70s, probably before Pratchett.
  • The BBC could practically make three Dr. Who episodes off that settlement amount!

    Let's see... rent a rock quarry for the day, drag out the old Dalek suits, Voila! Dr. Who episode!

    -jason <-- still loves Dr.Who
  • The BBC bought 3-5 Mellotrons back in the day to use for sound effects for Dr. Who. Mellotrons are one of the first 'Samplers'; they used magnetic tape loop to store about 6-8 seconds of sound *for each key*. Each key had a rotating group of three of these tapes. You could change the sound my moving a knob, which would rotate the carriers and load new tapes. You can hear a Mellotron (sometimes known as a Chamberlain) on the Beatles 'Strawberry Fields Forever' song - its the flute sound playing in the beginning.

    OT as hell, but interesting nontheless.

  • The BBC chooses the police box as the disguise for the Tardis for the exact specific reason that it is already common and well-known. Then they try to get trademark protection on it.

    That's a lot of nerve.

  • Big Deal! (Score:5, Funny)

    by foistboinder ( 99286 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @11:33AM (#4522406) Homepage Journal
    The Tardis has been Dr Who's preferred mode of travel for transporting him through time zones since 1963.

    So? I do that all the time in my car.

  • by ayjay29 ( 144994 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @11:38AM (#4522455)
    When I was a lad kids used to hide behind the sofa when Dr Who came on TV.

    Nowdays kids hide behind the sofa when the police come to the door.

  • But the Metropolitan Police lost its appeal and has been ordered to pay £850, plus legal costs.

    I'm from the UK living in the US and for my American friends straining their eyes at their monitors, I have to point out that yes, there really is no missing M or six zeros after that number.

    We English figured out a long time ago that the fun is in wearing wigs while you make the judgment, not in ordering large amounts of money to be moved around.

  • Anyone noticed how ahead of it's time Dr. Who was?

    Examples :

    Stealth Technology : Chameleon Circuits (ok, so they never worked, but you can't fly a B-2 through a rain shower either).

    Non-lethal Weapons : Sonic Screwdriver

    Recent 'Anit-Gravity' research : The TARDIS' ability to move by manipulating time and space

    Sony's Aibo : K-9 (granted, K-9 could kick Aibo's ass)

    And is it just me or is Jeff Goldblum always seem like he's trying to channel Tom Baker?

    Anyone care for a jelly-baby?
  • They should try suing Bill & Ted and George Carlin for the infringing time-travelling phone booth they used in their excellent adventure... They definitely stole the idea...

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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