What’s “Doctor Who” without the TARDIS? That’s one question coming up following the news that the family of its creator wants the BBC to stop featuring it on the show.
Stef Coburn, son of first episode’s writer Tony Coburn, claims the BBC is in breach of contract by continuing to use the blue police box that takes the Doctor everywhere in space and time, according to the Independent. He says any informal rights his father gave the BBC connected to the TARDIS expired with his death in 1977.
At that time, the rights transferred to Tony’s wife, who signed them over to Stef earlier in 2013. Now holding the rights, Coburn says BBC can either drop the TARDIS from the show or start paying for every appearance of the box since his father’s 1977 death.
It seems Stef also takes issue with the upcoming dramatization of the show’s early days, “An Adventure in Space and Time.” He feels the TV movie doesn’t give his father the credit he deserves for his role in the show.
The BBC released a statement, dismissing Coburn’s claims. “The BBC registered the TARDIS trade mark in the 1980s unchallenged and there have been no challenges since,” a spokewoman says.