Fans of Britain’s longest-running sci-fi show, Doctor Who, are all aflutter over the new logo of the UK Space Agency, Britain’s answer to NASA.
The UKSA will bring together the loose partnership of British government departments and research councils that currently handle space policy, thus taking charge of all UK space activities and bringing under one roof for the first time.
The new UK Space Agency name and £10,000 logo were unveiled earlier this week by two senior UK government ministers, Lords Mandelson (Business Secretary) and Drayson (Science Minister).
However, its logo – a stylised Union Flag with a central red arrow shooting up into the sky – looks uncannily like the logo for the British Rocket Group (BRG), a fictional scientific body from the BBC TV series Doctor Who. One Who fan, Alan Pettigrew, speaking to the redtop tabloid Sun newspaper, said: “To say there’s a similarity between the two logos is an understatement.”
However, Folio Creative, the space agency’s logo designers, insisted: “There is barely a passing resemblance. It is inevitable if you combine the Union Flag with a space theme. We are delighted the logo has been well received.”
Apparently, the similarity was first pointed out by a Twitter user, RthrTylr, who was replying to a picture of the new logo posted to Twitpic from the launch by Professor Brian Cox, the D:Ream-rock-star-turned-physicist-and-television-presenter whose popular science series Wonders of the Solar System is currently being broadcast in the UK on BBC2.
The British Rocket Group and its logo, which featured in the 2005 Who Christmas special, The Christmas Invasion – the debut adventure of the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant – is also prominently featured on the BRG website, created by the BBC in 2005.
The BRG was inspired by an almost identically named organisation from Quatermass, the classic BBC science-fiction series written by Nigel Kneale. In that series, Professor Bernard Quatermass was the head of BERG – the British Experimental Rocket Group. Quatermass – which became a major influence for Doctor Who – holds the distinction of being the UK’s first-ever television sci-fi series when it began in 1953, and, in 2005, Tennant and the Doctor Who writer and actor Mark Gatiss both appeared in a live remake.
Tennant has since been replaced as the Doctor by Matt Smith. Smith can be seen in his first full-length episode, The Eleventh Hour, on 3 April in the UK and 17 April in the US. The new 13-part series is executive-produced by Steven Moffat, and it’s third episode, Victory of the Daleks, is written by Gatiss.