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This subject is not a valid source for writing our in-universe articles, and may only be referenced in behind the scenes sections.

A series of Superannuation advertisements, marked out by the on-screen title or slogan Time Is Everything, were released in 1997, marketing campaign for the New Zealand Superannuation Services (NZSS). The advertisements in the campaign featured Tom Baker as the Doctor in the TARDIS, which (along with the Doctor Who theme) was licensed from the BBC.[1] The shorts, due to their commercial nature and fourth wall-breaking, are not considered valid sources by this wiki.


A postcard advert from this campaign


The Doctor steps into his TARDIS from some sort of heated battle, stopping to point his sonic screwdriver at the outside through the TARDIS door before he walks over to the console. As he does so, he explains that one must always be ready for the future.

"Of course, I hear you say, it's easy for him: he's a Time Lord!" continues the Doctor as he begins setting the controls; but he explains that "the answer the whole universe has been seeking for centuries" in truth lies with the New Zealand Superannuation Services, whose telephone number he shows on the TARDIS scanner's screen.

Just as he finishes his spiel, the Doctor is interrupted by a commotion which shakes the TARDIS. Stepping out into the lush New-Zealandese countryside, the Doctor exclaims "Oh, yes! Oh, yes!"


"The future… it's so much easier to plan for once you've been there!" the Doctor remarks, before adding that it's much easier still if you own a Berillian time transformer like he does. Almost as soon as he produces the device, however, it begins to malfunction, and he thus adds that the next best thing is probably a telephone number which allows one who rings it to start a savings plan for 21st century Earth.


Leaning on his TARDIS console, not wearing his coat or hat, the Doctor cannily explains that the past is full of woeful tales of people who did not think to plan for the future. He admits that a savings plan would not have saved the Krakenoids of Tarr 7 from "a life of financial drudgery and dependance" (the TARDIS scanner, showing a picture of a krakenoid, also adds that the species is of male sex, have depleted income and are now extinct), but then adds: "Then again… you never know!"


In his TARDIS, the Doctor monologues about how great the life of a Time Lord is: "traveling through Time and Space, toying with the future, mastering it, shaping it to your own design". It then occurs to him that thanks to Superannuation Services, it's now possible for any simple human to do the same, after a fashion.


As the TARDIS tumbles through the green Time Vortex, the Doctor ponders what it takes to change the future: "a Berillian time transformer? A sonic screwdriver? Or just the uncanny ability to remember a telephone number?"


Behind the scenes of Tom Baker filming the commercial

In his autobiography Who on Earth is Tom Baker?, Tom Baker wrote, "'Would you like to go to New Zealand to do a commercial?' That's the sort of question an actor likes to hear from his agent in freezing mid-January." He arrived in Auckland on 18 January and returned to the UK on 29 January; recording took place from the 21st to the 23rd in Studio 601 in Newmarket, Auckland, and on the morning of the 22nd on location at the rim of a crater on Mount Eden in Auckland.[1]


The TARDIS console with blank panels visible.

  • A behind the scenes feature of the advertisement was released titled Behind the Scenes of Tom Baker's Return.
  • During a break in recording on 23 January 1997 Tom Baker was interviewed by TVNZ's One Network News, and the interview was shown on that evening's edition of the programme.[2]
  • The ads were released as part of the additional extras in the season 18 Blu-ray as "Commercial Break" with special thanks to Richard Bignell and Nigel Windsor.
  • This was the first on screen appearance of Tom Baker as the Doctor since 1993's Dimensions in Time.
  • Although one might assume the Doctor in the advertisements is the Fourth Doctor, his appearance and TARDIS control room are drastically different from what was seen on television; he is best likened to the Doctor from the Shada VHS release, the Doctor from Introduction to the Night and the Curator, all unnumbered incarnations of the Doctor played by an aged Tom Baker wanting to return to the part of the Doctor, but no longer physically similar enough to his younger self to simply play the Fourth Doctor again.
  • The end of the advertisement featured the phrases "TIME IS EVERYTHING" and "0800 - TARDIS" underscored by "827347". This was a joking way of advertising their telephone number 0800 827347.
  • These commercial stories reused the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie's concept of a TARDIS scanner video-screen able to be manually pulled into position by the Doctor at their whim, a detail which would be incorporated from Rose onwards into all modern TARDIS interiors.
  • Only three of the TARDIS control console's six panels were finished to be viewable on-screen. The rest were left blank.[3]
  • Impressed with the quality of the set, New Zealand Superannuation set up the TARDIS police box and control room from this advert on display in their offices in Auckland, New Zealand and allowed visitors to tour it.[3]

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