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Barbie: The Most Famous Doll In The World

This documentary brings us experts, collectors and fans young and old to find out what has made the iconic toy become the worldwide multi-billion dollar business we know today.

Mary Portas investigates the phenomenon of one of the world’s most popular toys – Barbie – as she finds out more about the little doll whose impact has reached every corner the world.

Barbie, along with her stylish friends and boyfriend Ken, has shown off a plethora of fashions since her debut in 1959, and inspired youngsters in over 180 jobs: from police officer to pilot to United States Presidential candidate. Some say her array of careers has subtly introduced young minds to the hopes of the feminist movement, while critics claim the dolls perpetuate unrealistic standards upon impressionable young women. Mary hopes to find out just how Barbie fits into the 21st century’s expectations of womanhood.

With privileged access to Mattel Inc, the programme sees Mary head to the US, making a pilgrimage to the place where founder Ruth Handler started it all. Mary meets experts, collectors and fans young and old to find out what has made the iconic toy become the worldwide multi-billion dollar business we know today. But, with a growing mix of amusements vying for children’s imaginations, what does the future hold for the 30cm poseable plastic doll?

Stream on OnDemand from 19 January.

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