The BBC has ordered a Doctor Who fan to stop producing knitting patterns from the sci-fi TV series.

The woman began creating patterns of creatures like the Ood and the Adipose for her online knitting circle.

The fan, who does not want to be named and calls herself Mazzmatazz, never sold her patterns.

But BBC Worldwide contacted her after finding they had got on to eBay, where they were being sold by other people.

A spokesman denied that the BBC had threatened legal action, saying: “We sent an email from our brand protection team asking her to remove the patterns from websites because she didn’t have permission to use them.

“If it’s on a small scale, for the fans and not for profit then we let the matter rest. But this had crossed the line into a profit-making exercise by third parties that wasn’t going back to the licence fee payer.”

The Open Rights Group is helping to publicise the case.

Becky Hogge, the group’s executive director, said: “We need to recognise that there is a difference between selling knock-off handbags in the market, and fans who are making tributes and contributing to creativity in the future.”

Andres Gudamuz, a law lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, told The Times newspaper that creating a knitting pattern could be enough to give Mazzmatazz a copyright.

He said: “For more than a decade fans kept Doctor Who alive when it was off air. The BBC should recognise that.”