independent

Monday 19 November 2018

One D dolls and the sweet smell of success

WITH JIM HAYES

I was never really into dolls...except for Action Man. We didn't call him a doll, of course. He was an action figure With an indelible scar on his cheek and an impossibly square-set jaw. We imagined that if he could speak, he'd surely call Barbie or Sindy 'doll' in a John Wayne-type drawl.

The same couldn't be said for the Donny Osmond doll Mattel inflicted on the world in 1976. Where Action Man came in fatigues, with a dog tag, the ' Puppy Love' singer came in a purple jumpsuit with a plastic microphone.

The Donny doll opened the floodgates as toymakers realised that little girls would beg their parents to part with hard-earned cash for miniature injection-moulded versions of their favourite popstars.

Since then many a boyband and teen idol have been immortalised in shiny plastic, including Take That whose doll figures gave us a priceless interview with Gary Barlow on the Graham Norton Show.

'Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts,' read Norton, from the packaging.

'Listen, let me say one thing,' said Barlow. 'When we got those dolls the first thing we all did was to pull the pants down to have a look, and there were no small parts - at all - on the bodies.'

One Direction haven't been around as long as old dinosaurs Take That, so they greeted the arrival of a new range of 1D dolls with unnerving excitement last month.

'My sister's actually got them up in the house,' Irish member Neill gushed in a group interview with MTV. ' So we're just there in the corner.' Creepy.

'I think we all wanted them to be as authentic as possible, and we got involved in the outfits and stuff,' said bandmate Zayn. 'And it's cool for the fans, because they get a doll with outfits that we've picked.'

I don't know if Zayn was being serious or just a super salesman but One Direction - who also have their own fragrance on perfume counters for Christmas - will have to sell a lot of toy boys to match the success of the Spice Girls who had the best selling celebrity dolls in history, with eleven million shipped.

I'm not an authority on this but I believe some versions of the One Direction dolls actually sing snippets of the boys' hits.

Now if they really wanted to impress the fans maybe they should have employed the late sixties/early seventies technology that brought us a talking Action Man.

You pulled a string in his back and Action Man bellowed commands such as ' mortar attack, dig in' and ' hold your fire until I give the order'.

But what would the boys of One Direction say?

'Don't forget to buy our perfume' and ' thank-you Simon' presumably.

News