Explore the best creative works

Australian claims Tardis copyright and triggers Twitter fury

The son of an Australian who worked on the fledgling Doctor Who program in 1963 is claiming that his father’s contribution has not been recognised, and is pursuing a claim that could see the iconic Tardis removed from screens ahead of the program’s 50th anniversary.Tony Coburn moved from Australia to the UK in 1950, and was drafted in as screenwriter for Doctor Who’s pilot episode, ‘An Unearthly Child’.His son, Stef Coburn claims the BBC has withheld "the public recognition that should by rights always have been his due," specifically in relation to the concept of the Tardis.His claim for a breach of copyright has inflamed the Twitter community, many of whom have rushed to rubbish the claims.Ian Levine, informal consultant and liaison for the fan community to the BBC over many years spearheaded the public revolt.Coburn is seeking compensation for his father’s input."It is by no means my wish to deprive legions of Doctor Who fans (of whom I was never one) of any aspect of their favourite children's programme,” he said.“The only ends I wish to accomplish, by whatever lawful means present themselves, involve bringing about the public recognition that should by rights always have been his due, of my father James Anthony Coburn's seminal contribution to Doctor Who, and proper lawful recompense to his surviving estate."In the 1990s the BBC registered the blue police box as a trademark, and successfully won an action raised by London’s Metropolitan police which claimed that the iconic design belonged to it.Mr Coburn is not referenced in the BBC’s forthcoming dramatization of the creation of the series, ‘An Adventure in Time and Space’.The BBC said in a statement: "The film reflects on myriad issues behind the scenes of the production, and to ensure the strongest narrative possible focuses on the core team of Sydney Newman, Verity Lambert, William Hartnell and Waris Hussein."Twitter users have claimed that the concept of the Tardis was in place before Mr Coburn was involved in the programming.


By continuing to use The Drum, I accept the use of cookies as per The Drum's privacy policy