Twentieth Century Fox is bringing The Simpsons toy range to the UK through a series of licensing deals. Until now, Fox has only sold collectible figurines of The Simpsons and Simpsons-branded merchandise, such as bicycles, inflatables and stationery in the UK.
The new range of Simpsons-branded toys, which launches in 2003, features soft-bodied dolls, animatronic figures, a Micro Scalextric set, Cluedo, Backgammon, Dominoes and Top Trumps cards.
Vivid Imaginations, which already holds the licence for the figurines, has bought the distribution rights for the soft-bodied dolls in the UK. As well as the classic Bart and Homer dolls, the toy manufacturer plans to launch seasonal Homer dolls focusing on Christmas, Valentines’ Day and Fathers Day.
Hasbro is the distributor for the Simpsons-branded Monopoly and Cluedo games, and Hornby has produced the Simpsons Micro Scalextric set. Funtime owns the licensing rights to the animatronics dolls – toys that feature a sound chip and can sing and dance – which will launch towards the end of 2003. There are no UK distributors yet for the Simpsons-branded backgammon and dominoes games, but, once the licensing rights are sold, Fox plans to launch these in 2003 as well.
In March, Channel 4 paid &£15m for the UK terrestrial rights to The Simpsons TV series from 2006 and the archive rights to terrestrial repeats.