My first recollection of the ABC Shop in Melbourne was a small space in their then Lonsdale Street radio HQ, which was where the County Court is now — on the corner of Queen Street.
I think it’s where I got the 1983 Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special book (a local reprint of a UK Radio Times publication), as well as the Doctor Who Technical Manual (in hardback no less) – both still in our family.
Later on they were in the Galleria (in bottom of the gigantic State Bank, later Commonwealth Bank building at Elizabeth/Bourke Streets), and at times I bought Monty Python VHS tapes, DAAS Book (which I got autographed at the shop by the Doug Anthonys… since sold on eBay) and lots more Doctor Who merchandise, of course. This includes a bunch of laminated posters of paintings from renowned franchise artist Andrew Skilleter, one that also marked the 20th anniversary story (The Five Doctors) — which eldest son Isaac has since had autographed by Fifth Doctor Peter Davison — at an ABC Shop, of course.
Since then the Melbourne CBD shop has moved to the GPO, then more recently to Emporium. And meanwhile they’ve popped up in most big shopping centres.
We still love browsing, and occasionally buying there. The selection of DVDs is more focussed than somewhere like JB Hifi, and the range of other merchandise is good. (Have you seen the amount of Doctor Who stuff that’s available nowadays?!)
Admittedly I browse more than I buy, but purchasable gems still abound… in March I found this excellent documentary:
I found this fascinating when I watched it via, err nefarious means. DVD available at ABC Shop. Lessons for Melb. pic.twitter.com/e0sbmrq5Z6
— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) March 10, 2015
I’ll miss them.
Online will continue, but it won’t be the same.
PS. Trivia: before the recent crop of Doctor Who pop-up shops, there used to be a BBC Shop. Okay, it wasn’t a standalone shop, but a dedicated section of Thomas’s Music on the ground floor of the Southern Cross hotel building.