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Oct 03, 2006

And personal...

The approach, from Liverpool, to the Doctor Who Up Close Exhibition at Spaceport in Seacombe is extraordinary.  Well, ok, you can get the train and two buses, or drive, but the way to do it is on a River Cruise, on a ferry across the Mersey (cue Gerry and the Pacemakers).  A combined ticket is available and although this was not the warmest of days and the wind really did nearly blow me off the deck it's one of the best journeys, riding past the three graces, the Albert Dock and the wind turbines near Crosby.  A commentary explains the landscape, although the gale was so strong it blotted out the sound of the speakers.  No matter.  Nothing could stop be standing on the bow of the ship, arms outstretched.

There is a great little leaflet on the main Spaceport ticket desk produced by someone at the museum, obviously a fan, with lots of history, including his top ten favourite monsters, Who Girls and Villians, list of companions and Doctors, episode guide to the new series and a summary of the exhibits.  It's so detailed, it even mentions John Culshaw's connection with the programme because he narrates the Planetarium show ('Spaceport has its own Doctor!').

The exhibition itself is - abbreviated.  After the prerequisite display of merchandise and an old black & white television showing the first Doctorless five minutes of An Unearthly Child, you're confronted by a giant poster pointing out the various incarnations with another one opposite of Tennant, his head the size of the Face of Boe.  To the side is a small 'theatre' showing The Satan Pit and straight ahead an Auton arm and the test tube filled with anti-plastic. 

Stepping forward I see a Perspex display case, The Doctor's browncoat and Rose's costume from New Earth within.  To the left someone from the Forrest of Cheem.  Elsewhere are a Dalek, a Cyberman, a Clockwork Man, a Slitheen, an Ood and K9 (which did give me the opportunity to shout 'K9!', quietly at least).  Costumes too from a Monk from Tooth & Claw and Rose in The Idiots Lantern.  And I was disappointed.

The place lacked atmosphere - for all the plasma screens showing episodes - and good lord doesn't The Girl In The Fireplace look amazing - doesn't all of it - I simply failed to be moved.  Is it that I lack the connection with these props that I have with those from the old series, all stocked up at Blackpool, because I haven't grown up with them?  Is it that they didn't seem rare enough - knowing that there are bunch of some of these things in existence means that they lose their luster? 

Or is it perhaps that the way they're displayed without much in the way of narrative and huge signs all over saying 'please don't touch anything' drawing you out of the experience reminding you that they are in fact just props and costumes and that its how they're used and brought to life that actually makes them special.  Is this something to do with my age - have I - eep - grown up?  Is this all just y'know for kids?

Makes you think.  Although it did make me feel Doctorish enough to do this on the way home so it must have been doing something right.


I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the exhibition, but I just wanted to tell you, that's really sweet of you to show her to the train and all that. Wonderful story and quite what the Doctor would have done. Although, he'd probably have taken her by Tardis.

The translation circuits wouldn't have gone amiss, either. Still, a truly gentlemanly action.

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