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October 12th, 2019 24 comments

David Boyle – Founder of Dapol

We know many of you ( including us) have fond memories of The Dapol Exhibition in Llangollen and the weird and wonderful figures which people still collect today. Many also have an interest in Model Railways, Dapol in its later years manufactured a Virgin Voyager that was named “Dr Who” (in real life). We have one of those as well.

David Boyle’s Partner has kindly sent us these words about David Boyle.

David Boyle passed away on 17th September…

He founded DAPOL model railways in 1983. For many years DAPOL had the licence from the BBC to manufacture Dr Who figures.

David also operated the Dr Who Exhibitions in Llangollen and Blackpool.

He spent his twilight years living in Lytham St Annes.

David was well known within his local community. He loved dressing up and driving his beloved Dr Who car Bessie in the local carnival parades.

David survived a massive stroke against all the odds in 2017. The severity of the stroke left him profoundly disabled needing round the clock nursing care in a specialist facility.

In spite of his disability he enjoyed remarkably good physical health. He had an amazing quality of life and we enjoyed life to the full until days before his passing.

Outings had to be planned like a military operation checking accessibility at venues and booking wheelchair taxis well in advance.

David reached the ‘big 70’ in May 2018 and as most of the country were glued to their TV sets watching the Royal Wedding or placing bets on the outcome of the FA cup final David enjoyed a celebration party with family and close friends.

In recent weeks he was reunited with his beloved Dr Who car when Blackpool Heritage Trams invited us to display it at their open day

He also attended the Preston Comic Con and met up with Colin Baker, the 6th Dr. David and Colin had met on several occasions when David ran the Dr Who Exhibition in Llangollen. Colin was lovely to David treating him with the utmost respect and compassion. The stroke had taken David’s speech but the pleasure he got engaging with Colin was plain to see.

David was determined that when his time came he was making his final journey in style.

His TARDIS coffin was transported in a silver horse drawn hearse from our home in Lytham to St Cuthbert’s Parish Church where a public celebration of David’s life took place. When the cortège arrived at the crematorium gates a bag-piper led the procession playing ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘Abide with me.’ David’s family said their final goodbyes to the original 1960s Dr Who theme tune.

Thank you reading this. I hope you like some of David’s story, not only to highlight his Dr Who contributions but to show that you can lead a happy and fulfilling life and enjoy a loving and committed relationship in spite of profound disability.

Kind regards
Julie Whitfield

Photos (apart from Preston Comic Con) taken by Sean Paul Clayton of True Capture Photography

Categorised under: News, Retail


  • MJS

    October 13th, 2019 - 11:30am

    I have many happy memories.of the Dr Who Exhibition at Dapol. I was even in an article the Scunthorpe Herald did back in the late 90s (don’t ask!) I also remember David showing us a load of prototypes! He was quite a character.

    How very sad to hear he has passed and the circumstances of his stroke. I’m happy to hear he still lived a full life til the very end. And a TARDIS coffin? What a way to go. RIP david

  • ABBA

    October 13th, 2019 - 12:17am

    Booboo it was Bachmann that made the model of Virgin Trains Super Voyager 221122 Doctor Who not Dapol

    • booboo

      October 13th, 2019 - 9:59am

      Bachmann made the 00 gauge unit, Dapol Did a Book set N Gauge Dummy unit, like i say i have one here.

  • bryan

    October 12th, 2019 - 9:31pm

    I first met David at Winsford. He was a huge part of my Doctor Who life. LLangollen was such a brilliant,friendly place to vist, and too see the way things were made, was superb.Blackpool,was a Wonderful experience, and Husband, is a model Railway Fan, so the house is full of Dapol 🙂

    With love and respect to Julie and Family. I salute David and all the he did, for so many people, in all his Various Endevours.

  • Philip Gee

    October 12th, 2019 - 5:54pm

    Another fine tribute to a great man.

    “He only in a general honest thought
    And common good to all, made one of them.
    His life was gentle, and the elements
    So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
    And say to all the world, “This was a man.”

  • James Guthrie

    October 12th, 2019 - 3:30pm

    A very touching tribute from Julie to her beloved partner David, and such kindness shown to his fans by sharing their inspirational life story. Dapol was a wonderfully eccentric addition to the Whoniverse – I adored my black and silver Renegade Dalek, and as a committed Time And The Rani fan I remain forever grateful for the figures they produced unique to that story. It’s this dedication and joy that makes me a proud fan of Doctor Who.

  • Exterminator

    October 12th, 2019 - 2:54pm

    What a remarkable man. I loved collecting the Dapol Dr Who figures when I was younger.

    May he rest in peace.

    • Exterminator

      October 12th, 2019 - 3:15pm

      In the late 80’s I used to have to go by train to Chatham in Kent where there was a specialist model shop that sold the Dapol figures that’s now long gone sadly. I would’ve been about 15 at the time.

      I remember I couldn’t believe my luck when I found a green K-9 figure right at the back of the regular grey ones and the 2 handed Davros which was my favourite figure.

      I still get the same buzz from collecting even now.

  • Jeff

    October 12th, 2019 - 12:56pm

    My sons first experience of a doctor who exhibition was Blackpool. All the staff were friendly but a highlight was meeting David for the first time and having him give us an impromptu guided tour which was fascinating. He gave my son a free gift and a day he will never forget. We met him numerous times afterwards at the exhibition and he was a always friendly and courteous. Until recently I didn’t know he was the creator of the Dapol line. As a child Dapol was the first real experience of doctor who toys, apart from a palitoy talking Dalek. They were good fun and the variants were great. I still have some today alongside the character options line. Fond memories of those early figures and of a great man who was obviously passionate about the show and card for other fans. If I remember rightly he also had the alien exhibition as well which was another favourite place

    • Daz

      October 12th, 2019 - 6:11pm

      I met him in a few years back in Blackpool when I visited and he chatted for a long while about Doctor Who and aliens at the counter while I bought VHS tapes he seemed like a very nice man and interesting too. Until recently I had no idea myself he was the man behind Dapol until I read about him and the factory in a Doctor Who magazine special on toys! He didn’t mention it when I was there so I didn’t know I met the guy who gave us all those wonderful toys but I did remember him.

  • Craig Savage

    October 12th, 2019 - 12:54pm

    My Gran worked in a shop called toy town where I first saw Dapol’s 7th Dr range and got very excited as 6 year old. Ten years later I discovered Forbidden Planet and found the Millennium Dalek range. Since then I’ve added other Dapol figures and filled my house with Doctor Who collectibles of all types but it all started back there in the late 80’s with Dapol. So a big thanks from a fan to the family of a man who added to the joy in my life and I’m sure many others.

  • Daz

    October 12th, 2019 - 12:02pm

    I remember being a very excited 10 year old when I saw the Dapol Tardis and figures in a model shop called “beatties” in the late 80’s.
    I got most of the figures and the Tardis which were played with soooo much!
    The only thing I never had was the console as it was a bit pricey especially as my Mum would have had to buy one for my brother too (we didn’t share lol) but as it was limited edition it soon vanished from the shelves anyway.
    This year I found one on eBay for £35 and snapped it up! it’s as awesome as I thought it would be and still works brilliantly for a 30 odd year old toy.

    The Dapol range was before it’s time and quite imaginative in it’s construction (Opening Tardis to make the console room) I’m glad someone was catering for fans back then when there was almost nothing Doctor Who fans could buy.

    Thanks David for the fun I had with my toys when I was 10 and also this year when I finally got my console! And thanks for the exhibition’s I loved Llangollen and Blackpool.

  • Anonymous

    October 12th, 2019 - 11:45am

    Rest in peace. Such an amazing man. He brought so much happiness to the lives of young Doctor Who fans back in the old era.

  • Tim M

    October 12th, 2019 - 11:35am

    I remember in the early 1980’s collecting the Star Wars figures and wishing there were Doctor Who figures instead. (I was a bigger fan of Doctor Who than Star Wars…and still am!). So I was overjoyed when Dapol started releasing Doctor Who figures in the late 1980’s. Thanks David Boyle for Dapol making these figures, they were what I always wanted. David Boyle R.I.P

  • Anonymous

    October 12th, 2019 - 11:25am

    The dapol range polarised fans, but whatever you think about the quality at least someone cared enough in the late 80’s to produce toys for the fans. I still remember buying the figures and just being happy they existed (even ena sharples or was it ace!) They were great and dapol must be lauded as being the forerunner to the future toy range. Sad to hear of David’s passing, my thoughts with his family and friends. It’s also sad to see idiots making stupid comments. Right I’m off to look at my dapol collection again. Thank you David…

    • Whorules

      October 12th, 2019 - 11:47am

      I should say, the comment above is mine I forgot to put the username on, that even to this day I have a dapol display in my cabinets. At the moment it features 7th dr, ace and a rather ridiculous amount of imperial daleks. I had friends who refused to buy them but I used to say just look at the original star wars figures, the aliens were great but human features were never accurate, the technology just wasn’t accurate enough in the 70’s – 90’s. Display your dapol with pride. Think I might add a cohort of cybermen to the display. I’ll say it again… thank you David…

  • Colin the 3rd

    October 12th, 2019 - 11:21am

    Lovely article, I still have my Dapol collection and add to it if i see something i want.

    The exhibition was such a great place to visit

  • Brian Paul

    October 12th, 2019 - 10:39am

    • Greg Sutton

      October 12th, 2019 - 10:40am

    • Sammy

      October 12th, 2019 - 10:42am


    • Julie (Mrs David Boyle)

      October 12th, 2019 - 10:50am

      Thank you Greg and Sammy for defending David. I am David’s partner. His passing was totally unexpected and I am still reeling with the shock I have posted David’s story not only to show his great achievements with DAPOL / DR WHO but to give hope to others living with a lifelong disability. Whilst most of the comments have been kind and thoughtful a hardcore if idiots with the IQ of a newt have the overwhelming urge to show their true colours. Thanks again gentlemen for your kind words, truly appreciated.

    • booboo

      October 12th, 2019 - 11:07am

      Really sorry i didn’t get to these posts in time, Brian Paul, Greg Sutton and Sammy were all posting from the same IP so i suspect they are all the same person and their comments have been deleted and IP blocked. Please ignore these comments they don’t speak for anyone.

      Thank you for sending us the article.

  • Shaun

    October 12th, 2019 - 10:20am

    Rest in Peace, David. You showed willingness to begin a new venture in Doctor Who merchandise when it was drawing some of its smallest audiences on TV, and you continued to produce figures during the wilderness years or the 90s and beyond. Some might have been the butt of fans’ frustration and jokes (green K9s, five-sided consoles, a two-armed Davros, an anorexic-looking 80s cyberman) but these didn’t take away any of the kudos you earned for actually doing what you were doing. And some of the later figures (Melkur, 2nd Doctor, Tomb Cyberman) were really good.
    And I loved visiting Llangollen, especially the first sight of the brown road sign with a dalek on it as you neared the town! It was the first Doctor Who exhibition I had chance to take my partner to and we loved it. Thanks for some really happy memories (and some figures that I still cherish amongst my collection).

  • Bradley

    October 12th, 2019 - 10:10am

    Very sad to hear that David’ has passed, I remember having a great conversion with him at the Blackpool Doctor Who Exhibition. And I was gutted when it closed as it was the highlight of many trips to Blackpool.

    Though the other highlight was collecting one new Dapol figure each time I visited, and still have them in there Blackpool exhibition packaging.