January 31st, 2005

Picnic Bear

Robot Daleks out to exterminate

The Daleks are set to take over toy shop shelves after the BBC signed a merchandising deal for the new Doctor Who series.

The radio-controlled Daleks will be made by the company behind the hugely successful Robosapien robots.

The corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, signed up with Character Options to produce a number of items.

Doctor Who returns to TV screens later this year with Christopher Eccleston in charge of the Tardis.

'Simply awesome'

The Daleks, which are expected to retail for about £30, will be joined by Doctor Who's Electronic Sonic Screwdriver as well as vehicles from the cult series.

Jon Diver, of Character Options, said: "We are delighted with the appointment, and will be producing an innovative range of products to complement the heritage of this property.

"The footage that we have seen to date is simply awesome".

The company's Robosapien was one of the top-selling toys last Christmas with more than two million of the humanoid robots sold.

The company has also made licensed products for Lord of the Rings and Spider-Man 2.

Richard Hollis, head of licensing at BBC Worldwide, said: "We are excited to be working with such a strong toy partner, and one who has had such success with technological and robotic toys."

The series, written by Russell T Davies for BBC Wales, will see former pop star Billie Piper take the role of the doctor's sidekick Rose Tyler.
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Starbucks Sued Over Alleged Crushed Penis

A Canadian tourist who claims that his penis was crushed by a faulty toilet seat at a Starbucks Corp (SBUX) restaurant has sued the giant coffee retailer for $1.5 million, his attorney said on Monday.

"Our client, Edward Skwarek, was in a seated position on the toilet when he turned to retrieve the toilet paper in back of the seat when the seat shifted causing his penis to be caught and crushed between the seat and the bowl," said Richard Robbins, the lawyer for Skwarek, 37, of Toronto.

The suit, filed Nov. 26 in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges the coffee house was careless in "allowing a defective toilet seat to remain open ... causing a hazardous and unsafe condition ... in its public restrooms."

Skwarek, a government financial worker, alleged thhat the incident took place on Aug. 20, 1999 at a Starbucks in the Chelsea district of Manhattan where he and his wife, Sherrie, 37, dropped in for some coffee.

The suit also claims that as a result of Starbucks' carelessness, Skwarek suffered a "crushed penis, Peyronie's disease, retrograde ejaculation with consequent substantial reduction in sperm count, infertility, severe bruising to his penis and sexual function impairment."

Peyronie's disease usually causes deviation of the erect penis to one side.

Skwarek seeks $1 million in damages and his wife $500,000 because she has been "deprived of his services."

Alan Gulick, a spokesman at Starbucks in Seattle, where the company is based, said Starbucks does not comment on pending litigation.
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