Doctor Who exhibitions
Since Doctor Who was first broadcast in 1963, there have been a number of exhibitions of props, costumes and sets throughout the United Kingdom. Some have been intended to be permanent, and others seasonal; most have been staged at existing tourist locations.
Former permanent exhibitions
Doctor Who Experience
An exhibition titled Doctor Who Experience, complete with a new interactive Doctor Who episode with the Eleventh Doctor, opened at London Olympia on 20 February 2011 after a number of test days and preview visits. It closed on 22 February 2012.
The exhibition moved to Cardiff, opening on 20 July 2012. The new exhibition was housed in an unusual 3000 square metre building in Porth Teigr designed by theme-park company Sarner Ltd. Due to the temporary nature of the exhibition, with a 5-year lease on the site, the building was constructed like a large tent, with a cover stretched over curved steel beams.
The exhibition began with a short film and a walk-through adventure inside the Eleventh Doctor's first TARDIS interior and in various locations. Later, after the replacement of Matt Smith visitors were instead led through the experience by a guide and the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi)
Following the adventure portion guests were free to roam two floors of exhibitions including original costumes from ten of the twelve Doctors (the first two being replicas as the originals were lost). Alien prosthetics, Daleks and Cybermen over history, Sonic devices, and the TARDIS interiors belonging to the First Doctor, Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor, and the Ninth Doctor and Tenth Doctor. Many other show memorabilia and artefacts were also on display, including costumes from the companions since 2005 including: Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Captain Jack Harkness, Amy Pond and Rory Williams.
Each year since opening, costumes and props used from new series were been showcased. In 2013, props, such as Porridge's costume, the deactivated chess-playing Cyberman (from "Nightmare in Silver") the costumes of the Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald, along with the giant snow globe from the Christmas episode entitled "The Snowmen", were also added to the collection. In late 2014 props and costumes from "Last Christmas" were added.
Museum patrons could also take pictures in front of a green screen, with multiple backgrounds to choose from including Totter's Lane (from the Doctor's first adventure) and inside the time vortex, as well as several props such as various Sonic Screwdrivers and articles of clothing symbolic to several Doctors (e.g. Matt Smith's fez).
Cardiff Bay is home to the BBC Roath Lock production studios, as well as locations from the Torchwood series. The experience closed its doors on 9 September 2017, due to, what was originally blamed on the lease running out, the ticket sales over a five-year period not covering a loan from the Cardiff Council and, by extension, the Welsh government. BBC Worldwide have said they are "not sure yet" if it is going to reopen elsewhere.
The twentieth anniversary convention was titled "Twenty Years of a Time Lord" and was held in April 1983. It featured appearances from Jon Pertwee (and the vintage car Bessie), Peter Davison, K9; props included the TARDIS, Daleks, and the set of The Five Doctors feature-length special. About 40,000 fans turned up, many more than expected.
In 2003, the annual "Doctor Who Day", to mark the 40th anniversary of the programme, featured an attempt to gather the largest number of Daleks ever assembled. Colin Baker, Sophie Aldred and John Leeson attended.
The original exhibition on the Golden Mile, Blackpool, Lancashire, operated between 1974 and 1985. It reopened in 2004 to coincide with the relaunch of the programme. The Blackpool Doctor Who Museum finally closed on 8 November 2009, the large collection of props, monsters and costumes (including the Doctors' trademark car, Bessie, and classic monsters such as Tractators, Ice Warriors and Yeti) being distributed to other exhibitions around the country.
The "Dapol Dr Who Experience" opened in 1994 and was sited in Llangollen, Denbighshire, Wales, under the auspices of the company that made Doctor Who merchandise until 2002. It featured many costumes and props, some dating back to the 1960s. It closed in 2003.
The Doctor Who Exhibition Cardiff was the only semi-permanent exhibition in the UK. Situated in the Red Dragon Centre, Cardiff Bay, the museum opened December 2005, in the city where the series is currently recorded and produced. It was closed on 27 March 2011 before in July 2012 the above-mentioned Doctor Who Experience opened on the other side of the city.
Props on display included an Ood Elder from "The End of Time", a fly-headed Tritovore and Lady Christina De Souza's costume from "Planet of the Dead", plus the 'Flood' monster and Maggie and Tarak Ital costumes from "The Waters of Mars". There was also a special display from the team behind the show's monsters, Millennium FX, showing the production process behind creating an Ood. Costumes displayed included those worn by the characters Martha Jones, Captain Jack Harkness, Donna Noble and the Doctor.
The Cardiff Exhibition had a complete refurbishment in October 2008.
Former temporary and touring exhibitions
- 1982–1986 & 1999: The Doctor Who Experience, Madame Tussauds wax museum, London
- 1986–1988: Doctor Who USA Tour / Doctor Who Celebration & Tour 87-88, USA
- 1988–1989: The Space Adventure, London
- 1990: Museum of Childhood, Edinburgh
- 1991–1994: Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI), London. This exhibition was titled "Behind The Sofa" and after closing at MOMI moved to the Exploratory, Bristol.
- 1993: Official 30th Anniversary Exhibition as part of the Birmingham Doctor Who Festival. Science Museum, Birmingham. Organised by the local Wolves of Fenric club with the BBC and local council.
- 1993: Spaceblasters
- 1994: The Needles, Alum Bay, Isle of Wight – a summer attraction.
- 2002: Derby Industrial Museum
- 2002: Dunfermline
- 2002: MOMI, Sheffield
- 2002: Smith Art Gallery and Museum
- 2004: Motherwell Heritage Centre
- 2005: Brighton Pier
- 2005: National Space Centre, Leicester
- 2006: National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
- 2006: Spaceport, Merseyside – September 2006 to January 2007 and May 2008 to March 2009.
- 2007: MOSI, Manchester – March 2007 to January 2008 The exhibit featured Daleks, Cybermen, a Slitheen and the Racnoss.
- 2007: National Space Centre, Leicester – November 2007 to January 2008. Featured the Emperor Dalek, the Moxx of Balhoon, Slitheen, Auton and pigmen from Daleks in Manhattan.
- 2007: Land's End, Cornwall – April 2007 to January 2011.
- 2007: Dorking Museum
- 2007: Paisley Museum
- 2007: Out of the Box Exhibition, Rook Lane Chapel, Frome, Somerset. A showcase of the box art of Doctor Who collectables, made by the illustrator Graham Humphreys. The exhibition also included a life sized red Dalek.
- 2008: Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London – Easter 2008 to January 2009
- 2009: Coventry Transport Museum – March 2009 to early 2010.
- 2009: Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow – a year-long exhibition, it closed in January 2010. The exhibition featured many props from the 2005 series, including the Tardis, Cybermen, Daleks, Autons, K9, Hath, Judoon, Abzorbaloff, Weeping Angels, Ood, The Host, Sybilline Sisterhood, Cassandra, Face of Boe, Sisters of Plenitude and Sontarans, as well as many character costumes and sets.
- 2010: City Museum, Portsmouth – June 2010 to January 2011. Part of the Alien Invasion exhibition of film and TV props and costumes. Displays include a Dalek from Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., a suit worn by Tom Baker, an Ood, K-9, the TARDIS and a Sontaran.
- 2010: Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne – May 2010 - October 2010. Featured props and costumes from the series between 2005 (Series 1) and 2010 (Series 5).
- 2015: Made in Wales Exhibition. Original costumes and props from a private collection
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