As we reported in July, Eaglemoss, the company behind the Doctor Who Figurine Collection, is now in administration, with paperwork filed by the administrators blaming a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, together with ‘increased costs, lead times, and uncertainty in the supply chain, the failure of key customers leading to bad debts and the accelerated decline of its newsagent distribution channel’ for the sad demise of the company.
It’s a situation that has seemingly brought an end to the long-running series of Doctor Who Figurine Collection releases. Making its debut with the Eleventh Doctor in 2013, the collection has built up into one of the most comprehensive sets of Doctor Who merchandise ever produced, with over 200 figures released. The run has produced both some impressively varied versions of classic foes (such as an impaled Cyberman from The Five Doctors and a Black Dalek Leader from The Evil of the Daleks) and one-off characters which few would ever have expected to see turned into a collectible figure (Mestor from The Twin Dilemma and a Servo-Robot from The Wheel in Space, to give just two examples).
Alongside the main range of hand painted 1:21 scale models, each accompanied by a collector’s guide magazine, the company also released other Doctor Who merchandise including Mega-Sized Figurines, t-shirts, and badges. Other major franchises such as Star Trek and Marvel were part of the Eaglemoss portfolio.
So, with a lot of people disappointed by this abrupt halt to these popular releases, is there any prospect that the Figurine Collection could be revived? Ben Robinson, former Chief Editor of Eaglemoss’s collections, is doing his best to find a new licensee and has been regularly posting images of unreleased figures on Twitter in an attempt to maintain public interest and attract a new backer.
Our friends at The Doctor Who Site‘s Merchandise Guide have been posting useful updates as information becomes available. Administration can be a lengthy and complex process, but it seems some of the unreleased figures are likely to find their way to retailers, though its unclear what stage in the production process some later releases were at when administrators were appointed.
The administrators report that the company’s customer database has been sold to Heathside Trading, whose website says ‘specialise in the purchase and sale of branded clearance merchandise of all descriptions’. They further report that all options for the future of the company are open, though the ‘most likely exit route will be dissolution’ (meaning a company formally ceases to legally exist).
As to where all this will lead for the Figurine Collection, it’s too early to say at this stage. With the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who approaching and considerable enthusiasm among fans for the long-term future of the show with Russell T Davies back at the helm, it’s surely likely that other companies would at least consider whether it would be worthwhile to take the range on. On the other hand, global economic conditions are hardly favourable at the moment and, more specifically, the back catalogue of Doctor Who characters had been mined pretty exhaustively by Eaglemoss, leaving a question as to how long the range would continue even it hadn’t been for recent unhappy developments.
Whatever happens, it’s sad that a company with such a long track record has reached this point, and our thoughts are with those who have lost their jobs as a result. We’ll report any developments as news becomes available.