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Toy Empire: The British Force behind Star Wars Toys

Superfan David Whiteley celebrates how an unassuming band of designers and factory workers in Leicestershire created the toys which were to define a generation.

Star Wars superfan David Whiteley celebrates the unlikely toy heroes of the 1970s.

Toy manufacturer Palitoy based in Coalville, Leicestershire, was chosen to make toys for the new Star Wars movie in the UK. The company was already successful with Action Man and Tiny Tears. But Star Wars toys were about to become the must have toys of a generation. It was an unexpected success. At that time toys from films didn’t sell well. Rich archive brings the nostalgia of the 1970s back to our screens, as David Whiteley meets the men and women who made it happen against all the odds, and the enthusiasts whose pocket money toys now fetch eye watering sums.

‘Toy Empire: The British Force Behind Star Wars Toys’ tells the success story of the toys would change the way movies are marketed forever.

29 minutes

Last on

New Year's Day 2021 15:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:00

    London Symphony Orchestra

    Star Wars Main Theme

  • 00:18

    London Symphony Orchestra, John Williams

    The Throne Room/End Title


Role Contributor
Presenter David Whiteley
Director Matt Wildash
Executive Producer Diana Hare