Merchandising the 50th Anniversary — Public Service Consumption in the Name of the Doctor
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This chapter considers how Doctor Who’s anniversary underpinned a wide range of merchandise. Such material might be viewed as corroding the BBC’s public service remit, but I argue instead that “public service consumption” has formed an important part of Who’s history — fans’ decommoditization of merchandise has aided in cementing audience affection for the BBC’s distinctiveness. I also examine how the ExCeL “Celebration” was saturated in memory discourses, with merchandising being pre-decommoditized as “souvenirs”. Merchandise acutely raises the work of para-paratexts, given that its paratexts are themselves framed by books such as The Vault, commemorative brochures, or fan reviews. I conclude by addressing how the BBC’s public service brand was disrupted by glitches in capitalist realism such as BBC Worldwide licensees going out of business.
KeywordsBBC Worldwide capitalist realism ExCeL “Celebration” merchandise para-paratexts public service consumption
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