The Great Exhibition of 2008
It was so funny/strange taking Max with us. He's five years old and just getting into the whole Dr Who thing. There were lots of other kiddies there too who were equally relishing the experience, running around and shrieking with excitement on seeing their favourite monsters / creatures and all of it took me right back to my own childhood. It really doesn't seem so long ago when me and my friends in York, all die-hard Whovians, used to hold "group meetings" in which we got together to "rap" about DW and watch badly copied VHS tapes of old DW stories, which we'd paid through the neck to get hold of (we had a "contact" in Leeds who helped out for some extortionate price ... All I can say is THANK GOD for the advent of the DVD ...) I was also a member of the DWAS (that's Dr Who Appreciation Society to you plebs out there) and a regular subscriber to Dr Who Weekly (I still have a copy of the very first issue), closely followed by Dr Who Monthly. And erm, you are going to think me frightfully naughty, but me and a friend who shall remain nameless once wrote an "adult" version of the Colin Baker story "The Mark of the Rani", on his ZX Spectrum. This was in our later teens, you understand and we were, testosterone-infused not to say frustrated youngsters ... (Mind you it's probably no worse than this recent effort or this one, is it? Some things never change ... ) Regrettably "The Mark of the Randi" never got published.
Another highlight of my Who-infused childhood was a visit to the Dr Who Exhibition in Blackpool - which is still going strong. I think I went in about 1982 or 1983 and remember being terribly, terribly excited. I didn't get out of York very much and this felt like a trip to the USA or something similar. With hindsight I now realise Blackpool is probably one of cheapest and tackiest places one can visit but at the time it all felt sooo glamorous. And we went to the DW Exhibition and loved it. They had the regeneration scene from "Logopolis" on a looped video in the shop and I remember buying a china TARDIS money box and having my picture taken with my friend and his brother outside by the "TARDIS" entrance.
Anyway, flash forward to 2008 and Earl's Court. Here's a pictorial guide of what was on offer that day!
A taster of things to come!
Stephen and Max getting all excited in the foyer!
Doctors numero Nine and Ten invite you to the Exhibition ...
There were lots of good pictorial displays like the one on the right ... lots of good Who info and facts! It was probably more informative than the Blackpool Exhibition I'd say.
Saints preserve us! It's shop dummies coming to life! Could they be ... Autons?
Does the Henriks logo remind you of anything?
The David Tennant incarnation of the Doc outside the TARDIS. If you're wondering why his face is blank, there was a projector which "shone" a moving DT face onto the dummy .... unfortunately it didn't come out very well in the photo so he actually looks kind of sinister!
A David Tennant / Tenth Doc display.
Mewsters! It's a cat nun! Tin of kitty kat, anyone?
Lordy lordy! It's the wise and reputable Face of Boe! What a humongous head (oh, no comments please ... )
Me attempting to commune with the Face of Boe ... you can see the difference in head size ...
A bendy-wendy Slitheen! He (or she?) was positively huge! Big pincers too!
That famous model of Ben Ben from the first Slitheen story. Good model!
Aaaaah! It's that bitchy stretchy piece of flesh, Cassandra!
And one of the Trinnie / Susannah (not sure which it is) robots from "Bad Wolf"!
Uuuuughhh! The Empress of the Racnoss!!
An Ood waits patiently in a corridor. One of the best of the new Who monsters in my opinion ...
A Santa Claus robot! Rather silly staring eyes though.
This was an interesting display - showed you how they "made" an Oood mask. Who knew the spaghetti heads used blusher?
It's - that monster with the long name from "Love and Monsters"! Didn't look as good as on screen, I have to add. The jock strap didn't seem to ... hold very much.
Affirmative Master! Everyone's favourite doggie on show.
One of those scary looking clockwork dolls. Nice britches.
Enter ... the Cybermen!! Great display and great design. Kind of looks like they're on TOTP though.
No, no, NOOOOOOOO!! Don't delete me!!
Roger Lloyd-Pack, or should I say the Cyber-controller?
A solitary Cyber-bloke.
Rose's gorgeous costume from "Idiot's Lantern". Again she seems to be sans face ... but that's what happens when Maureen Lipman sucks the life out of ya ...
Couldn't resist a close up of Rose's lovely pink heels.
Remember those pictures the girl in "Fear Her" drew? The one of the absent Dad was rather horrible ...
Heaven help us! It's Wendy the Weeping Angel! I thought she was a testcard girl?
And no DW Exhibition would be complete without ... the Daleks! Enter the Black one ...
This was a cool bit of the Exhibition. You can't really see it from the photos (and the dry ice kind of obscures things) but three Daleks glided onto the "stage", threatened the audience as "unidentified intruders! and then shot them! Cue lots of laser beams ...
A Sontaran, recently returned to DW! Again didn't like the silly staring eyes though. Guess they couldn't exactly use real ones ...
One of those fishy aliens (again I can't be bothered to find out the name) who got all loved up with Martha in "The Dr's Daughter".
A scary scarecrow! Another one of my fave DW creations ...
A model of the Dalek Emperor.
Please do not touch the exhibits. Or you will be EXTERMINATED!!
The truck thing driven by Kylie of Minogia in "Voyage of the Damned". Remember?
Bannakaffalatta. Is he Darth Maul's baby brother?
Stephen and a Dalek. Actually you can't see, but Max is inside! They had a microphone inside in which you could imitate the Dalek voice - great fun! Naturally the place was filled with screeching kid's voices, all going "Exterminate!" again and again. I guess if you worked there it might drive you slightly mad ...
A saucy showgirl from the Daleks in Manhattan two-parter. Great outfit!
And later at home, Max tries out his newly purchased radio-controlled Dalek!
How exciting!! Oh to be young again ...
Well it was a good day in all. What Stephen and I both noticed (and as you'll probably have gathered from the photos above) was that the exhibition focussed almost entirely on NEW Dr Who monsters (apart from the obvious "crossover" aliens like Daleks and Cybermen) from the revived version of the series. There were no old ones, which was a slight pity. I guess the reasoning behind that is that a lot of the attendees will be too young to remember DW Mark One and far more au fait with Mark Two, hence the recent exhibits. Also the fact that if there had been monsters from Mark One PLUS Mark Two, a very big venue would have been needed! (And Earls Court is pretty big as it is - much more spacious than the Blackpool Exhibition for instance). But it's still great to know that the DW legacy lives on and that a whole new generation of children are being reared on the show, as I once was. Okay, what's the point in denying it. Going to these kind of things is really just an opportunity for my inner kid-like Whovian to manifest itself. Or, should I say, materialise!!