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Sued for Nicking the TARDIS, BBC Barristers Say 'Bugger Off'

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | November 12, 2013 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | November 12, 2013 |

In a classic case of “Brian Herbert Derangement Syndrome,” Stef Coburn is suing the BBC and claiming he owns the rights to the TARDIS. The basis of this claim is the fact that Coburn’s father wrote the first episode of Doctor Who back in 1963. In a wonderful legal argument that can only be properly evaluated with laughter, Coburn claims that his father granted the BBC informal rights over the TARDIS, but that those rights lapsed with his death and reverted to his mother who, he assures us, gave them to him in the last year. Contrary to popular belief, I am not currently licensed to practice law in most of the United Kingdom, but even so I feel qualified to evaluate the legal standing here as being bloody bollocks.

Says Mr. Coburn:

“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. 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.”

That sounds awfully complicated, so I’ll translate it: “Once upon a time my dad did something that a bunch of morons like. Give me money.”

The BBC’s response: “The BBC registered the TARDIS trade mark in the 1980s unchallenged and there have been no challenges since.”

Again, with the translation: “Sod off you fucking wanker.”

This is one of the worst cases of Brian Herbert Delusion Syndrome yet recorded. It’s a rare disease that appears to be a congenital defect in which the greatness of a parent is passed on to the offspring with a recessive twat waffle mutation. Typical sufferers experience delusions of grandeur in which they imagine themselves to be the intellectual heir of their parent, while doing nothing but spread manure over that legacy. In the case of Coburn, it appears that the disease has manifested so severely as to not even require nominally following in the footsteps of the parent in order to support the reality constructed by the delusion.

This is a serious disease, and should not be mistaken for Christopher Tolkienism, in which a child deeply respects the works of the parent and continues their legacy.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.