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Despite being 20 years old, my favourite Christmas present this year was, without a doubt, my Adipose toy. The Adipose were the first aliens to be featured in Series 4 of Doctor Who, starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate, in the episode 'Partners in Crime.' Essentially, they are formed from human fat tissue, hence the name; 'adipose tissue' is the correct biological term for body fat.
As soon as I first saw the episode, I thought they would make an incredible product. Much like the Ewoks in Episode VI of Star Wars, the Adipose seemed almost invented to sell merchandise. Cute and cuddly, with little of the creepiness associated with the majority of the monsters in Doctor Who, this toy makes a perfect gift for any Doctor Who fan. As a depiction of the actual creature from the episode, it is relatively accurate; if anything the plush figure is even cuter than its CGI inspiration. This is important to any real fan of the show!
The price tag seems to vary considerably; I personally do not feel that it is worth paying more than £10-15 on this item, partly because it is available more cheaply elsewhere, and also because while the obsessive Whovian will appreciate it as an addition to their inevitably large collection, and young fans of the show will be amused by it, there are other products available that would make a better investment.
However, having said that, if you can find it for the lower end of the price range, this product would make a great gift for a Whovian. There are other alternatives around, for example, I also own an Adipose 'stress toy', which is even better than the Adipose plush and a much cleverer, more novel idea. It's also available for a similar price. Generally though, the plush is an excellent product; not least because the majority of Doctor Who merchandise takes the form of action figures. For smaller children a plush is much safer and more appropriate, as well as meaning that it can be taken to bed or used as a comforting item. This is (unfortunately!) much harder with the Tenth Doctor action figure!
The Adipose made its appearance in one of the newer Doctor Who episodes. The Adipose are small creatures, made almost entirely of fat, with a couple of stocky arms and webbed feet. They look rather cute, but harvested a darker secret in the shows...
Character Options have already been responsible for making a great range of action figures from the Doctor Who series. This is not an action figure, but a plush doll. It is an interesting move for the toy company to produce a cuddly creature, but if you consider what kind of characters could have translated into cuddly toys, the options would have been quite narrow. A Donna Noble cuddly toy to take to bed, anyone? No thought not.
This chap looks rather like a marshmallow crossed with the Nintendo character Kirby (Kirby's Dreamland.) A basic looking blob of whiteness, with very little detail. He is well stitched though and has the most basic of expressions on his face, so he looks like the Adipose from the show. You cannot move his joints, but they are squishy, which means they return to form if you squeeze them.
The doll is just over seven inches in height, so why does he command a thirty five pound price tag? He is not especially rare, but it seems some stores sell him for varying prices. Personally, I feel no more than ten pounds would be a fair price for this toy. Doctor Who fans might be prepared to part with a little more cash, but the average shopper would not be happy with the price tag.
He makes a good display piece though and would also double up as a cushion or a pillow. Suitable for younger children and for the die hard collectors, he is a nice side-line in the Character Options range.
The first Doctor Who episode of series four, 'Partners in Crime' was screened in spring 2008. Adipose Industries was set up by an evil nanny who hid Adipose seeds inside what became very popular miracle weight loss pills. The Adipose babies would harvest fat from around the host human body and 'birth' themselves at night. The only problem was that some people were completely turned into Adipose babies, hair, bones and all, especially if they were in danger of exposing the secret.
They looked so irresistibly cute for little alien parasites formed from fat. When I saw the episode I told my son I hoped they would bring out a toy version, and I wasn't alone. There were online fan petitions to bring out a toy, and people began selling knitted Adipose babies on eBay almost as soon as the episode had finished airing! The expectation seemed to be for some kind of a squeezy rubbery figure, but the plush Adipose toy and Adipose additions to the action figure range were announced and came out in late 2008 just in time for the Christmas market.
Initially it was very hard to get hold of a plush Adipose, they were sold-out everywhere. Luckily I went in to enquire about them in Argos on the same day they'd had a toy delivery, and the 'Baby Adipose Plush' was in stock! As it turned out they were only sold up until Christmas and haven't been officially released again since so I am pleased that I didn't wait.
It cost £9.99, and was packaged in a clear plastic bag instead of the usual Doctor Who box packaging. The only sign of the Doctor Who logo was on a cardboard tag attached to its left hand. It said 'Adipose Industries' on one side, referencing the diet pill company from the show, and 'Baby Adipose Plush' was printed on the other side. There were no accessories included.
In all honesty I wasn't surprised when my son took one exasperated look at his Adipose, told me he was too old for teddies, put it to one side and reached for another present. I happily adopted it, it's in my bedroom. Actually I should confess to being the maternal version of those men who buy their wives snooker tables and bowling balls. I also acquired for him the Doctor Who Clockwork Man that it turned out he didn't want, and a Bingo Beaver from the Get Along Gang cuddly toy that I won for him on eBay even though he'd never heard of the Get Along Gang and weirdly wasn't impressed by the sight of a beaver on rollerskates. He asks his father to buy his presents these days.
The Adipose plush is simply the best ever toy to be inspired by a lump of human fat. It looks better than I had originally hoped for. It's much cuter in toy form than the TV version which has a greasy shine and looks like the walking lard that it is supposed to be.
It's 10 inches tall, and the surface material feels suede-like, soft and strokeable. It has shiny black plastic eyes which are very firmly attached. There is definition stitching around the eyes. Its little smiley mouth is embroidered in black thread and features a white baby tooth, which looks like a fang. I have been tempted to unpick the tooth as I think it would be cuter without, but I don't want to risk ruining my toy!
You can move its arms and its podgy little feet about but they don't have points of articulation as the body of the toy is entirely soft. There is some beanbag stuffing in the middle of the toy, but it is surrounded by a lot of soft material padding so you just get a very cuddly experience! The tag that explains how to clean it has faded to the point where I can't read it anymore, but I just surface clean it in case machine washing wrecks the shape. Even though it's a white cuddly toy, it has only needed spot cleaning once this year which is pretty good.
The only thing I dislike about the Adipose toy is its name. I find it very forgettable, it's not a trip-off-the-tongue kind of character name at all. I had to look for its cardboard tag when I decided to review the toy as I couldn't remember what it was called. There was a method behind the madness though - I discovered the Adipose babies were scientifically named after the fat tissue of the human body!
Availability is quite poor right now unfortunately. I found some for sale at £39.99 on Amazon which is expensive (UPDATE: since I looked two days ago they have dropped the price down to £29.99, mind you I still think that's a rip-off). eBay may be the best place to find one. I have seen some for sale in the (presumably original) plastic bag packaging with tags attached. You can also buy an 'action figure' pack of several little Adipose (or Adiposes, I'm not really sure what the plural is!) to fit with the scale of the other Doctor Who figures. I'm not too keen on them. They've got a beige tint to their colouring which makes them resemble little anaemic kidney beans, but they are more widely available at least.
In my opinion, the Adipose plush is the best Doctor Who toy they've produced so far and I have no idea why they stopped selling them. If you can find one at a reasonable price anywhere I wholeheartedly recommend that you buy it!