For 56 years, Barbie has been the undisputed Queen of the doll world. She is the number one seller on the planet and is much more than just the world’s most famous doll. She’s a multibillion-dollar business, a fashion icon and a portal into children’s and adult’s imaginations. But behind the plastic fantastic smile is a harsh truth. Global sales are down by 14%. They’ve been falling steadily for the last three years. Barbie’s crown is threatening to slip.
At a time when children as young as six worry about their body image and parents fixate about the effect a toy can have on their child’s future but in world where obsessives go to extreme lengths to not only collect the dolls in their thousands but mimic her unbelievable measurements and All American good looks – what does it say about us? And how will Mattel’s decision to introduce a Plus Size Barbie in 2016 and ever more realistic versions in 2017 play out? Will it recharge the global brand or could Barbie’s days as an icon be numbered?
Mary Portas, the same age as Barbie herself, ventures into the world of the blonde bombshell to find out.
First broadcast: 3rd October 2017 – 9.15pm on Channel 4.