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Hi. I produced a disco version of the DW theme music in 1978. I want to release an album to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the show. I would like to call it 'Gallifrey And Beyond'. Do you know if the BBC claims the word 'Gallifrey' as a trade mark or a copyright?

best  Don Gallacher

Hi, Don, thanks for the question. While I'm not 100% certain if, indeed, the BBC owns the rights to the word 'Gallifrey', I CAN say that it stands to reason that they do. Everything produced by individual writers in the classic series, unless otherwise negotiated away by the writers/creators (such as the Daleks and K9, both of whom are wholey or partly owned by their creators), generally fell under the 'work for hire' rule, meaning if a writer (in this case, Robert Holmes, in 'The Time Warrior') created something that stuck around, it was automatically the BBC's property to use and further exploit.

I also know that, like you, the band KLF (Kopyright Liberation Front) produced an album back in the 1980's called 'Doctorin' The TARDIS', a collection of dance tunes inspired by 'Doctor Who'. In their case, they originally put it out under the band name The Timelords, and even after they changed it to KLF, the BBC went after them legally. I can tell you in my own experience making nothing more than fan films locally, that our humble little fan group sent a letter to the BBC asking for permission to make them, and were informed that we could provided we give them full credit and didn't actually make money off their copyrighted materials.

So, while I don't know specifically if the BBC would take the time to pursue it legally with you (odds are they would eventually if you did indeed charge for it and make money off their property), and while there's no 100% proof that the BBC owns the word 'Gallifrey', as I said the work-for-hire pertains here, so odds are they 'do', at least that's my educated guess. My advice to you would be to perhaps contact BBC Worldwide, the distribution and commercial arm of the BBC, and just run it by them; at least you can say you 'tried'. If you can change the title of the album to avoid 'any' legal ramifications should they arise, I'd advise doing so. But if you really do want to put the word in, then yes, I'd just check with them. Again, that's what we did legally and we were fine. The BBC is not as litigious as, say, LucasFilm or DC Comics over the unauthorized use of their stuff, but they 'have' been known, as they did with KLF, to not-so-gently remind people that most everything associated with 'Doctor Who' is their property.

I hope this helps! Incidentally, I perform a 'Doctor Who' podcast called 'The Whostorian', you can find us at, as well as iTunes and youtube. We are always looking for unique content, fan produced, to discuss and review, so if you'd like, when you do release the album, please contact us at the website and we'd be happy to check it out and let people know about it!

Cheers, Shannon

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Shannon Marshall Lush


I am mostly conversant with the era of the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, however I have a deep and thorough knowledge of the entire history of the series as well as the spinoff merchandise. I edit a local magazine devoted to the series as well. I have limited knowledge of the audio plays and the book range; mainly it is the series itself I am familiar with. I enjoy the production and effects realm of the series and the factual minutia as much as the stories themselves.


I have been a devoted fan for over 15 years and enjoy all aspects of the series, both the original and current.

The AYUDWFCON (As Yet Unnamed Doctor Who Fan Club Of Newfoundland), a local branch of devoted fans who have created fan episodes and publish a magazine, The Whostorian Quarterly, of which I serve as editor and which is the only not-for-profit Canadian magazine to have the distinction of being placed in the Center For Newfoundland Studies and the Canadian Public Archives. I also am a member of the Newfoundland Writer's Alliance.

The Newfoundland Herald (provincial arts magazine), The Quill And Quire (Ottawa Standard newspaper annual supplement), The Evening Telegram (provincial newspaper), numerous trade publications, others.

I am a published author with numerous articles in local, national, and international magazines and newspapers, and a published volume of poetry. I also have won local and provincial writing awards.

Awards and Honors
1993 Honourable Mention, Newfoundland Writer's Alliance Arts And Letters Competition.

Past/Present Clients
Mulberry Books Publishing, St John's, Newfoundland, Oui! Films, Quebec City, PQ, Moonside Press, Newfoundland, Flanker Press, Newfoundland, Commoner's Publishing, Ottawa, ON, others.

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