Virgin Media pulls David Tennant “Doctor Who” TV ad

Complaints from the BBC have led Virgin to withdraw the advert featuring the Doctor Who brand as "a gesture of goodwill"


A television advert featuring David Tennant, and referencing Doctor Who, has been pulled by Virgin Media following complaints from the BBC that it used the brand to endorse its TiVo catch-up service.


The ad for Virgin Media’s cable TV, broadband and telephone packages (above) sees former Time Lord Tennant perusing his own back catalogue on Virgin’s TiVo service, and pauses on a page featuring the Doctor Who logo and a description of the show. Meanwhile, in the background, Virgin boss Richard Branson is shown constructing a time machine of his own.

Virgin originally responded to complaints by removing the Doctor Who logo but BBC Worldwide – the corporation’s commercial arm – argued that it continued to contravene BBC guidelines regarding the endorsement of third parties. 

Virgin has now pulled the ad but will continue to broadcast two others in the series, which also star Tennnant but do not reference Doctor Who.

A joint statement from Virgin Media and BBC Worldwide said: “Virgin Media has listened to concerns raised by BBC Worldwide about perceived commercial endorsement by a BBC brand relating to the recent Virgin Media ad… As a gesture of goodwill, Virgin Media has agreed to withdraw the ad and BBC Worldwide is satisfied that the issue has been addressed.”