Monday 24 April 2023

Worlds of Wonder @ Edinburgh

The Worlds of Wonder exhibition was first launched in Liverpool in May 2022, which coincided with the part the city had played in the Flux TV story. Rather than a straightforward exhibition of costumes and props, the exhibition had a specific focus - looking at the real science behind the Doctor Who stories. As such, there were educational displays about real life robots, animals with strange abilities, time travel etc. As well as interactive displays, there were video talks. 
The exhibition was always billed as a travelling one, and I was pleased to see that its second venue would be in Scotland - at Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland - from December. 
Health issues had prevented me from spending a weekend in Liverpool - and the same issues almost prevented me from catching the Edinburgh showing, as I have been in and out of hospital several times between January and March. Knowing that the exhibition closed on 1st May, I made sure that I would be able to go the week before - combining the visit with a couple of walks around the city and a stay over at a friend's in South Queensferry (between the Forth Road and Rail Bridges, half an hour from the capital).

Adult tickets were £12. I pre-booked, just to be on the safe side. One of the slots for Friday 21st April was already full. It was busy when we attended, but far from crowded. We were about 20 minutes early for our slot, but were allowed to go straight in. Photography was fine - so long as flash wasn't used.

The first thing you see is a TARDIS console - the one built for An Adventure in Space and Time (2013).
Nearby was a First Doctor outfit in glass case. 

The first big room was devoted to robots. Present were the K1 Robot, who is like an old friend now. I saw him at Blackpool, and later at MOMI, then again at Cardiff. Always one of the most impressive props from the classic series, it was better presented here than at the DWE

K9, the Skovox Blitzer, and masks of a Heavenly Host, Voc Robot and Clockwork Droid shared its stage, along with Cyber-head "Handles" and a bust of the Half-Face Man. 

Glass cases opposite held a display of sonic screwdrivers - and sonic sunglasses - as well as some other props (the Paternoster Gang's sonic implements, the Doctor's confession dial etc.).

Next up was the Crooked Man from Hide. Close up, you could clearly see where the actor was able to see out of the costume. He and a couple of other costumes (the Fisher King and the second Omega) were housed by themselves in mirrored alcoves.

The video behind Omega was a piece about the feasibility of time travel. 
The next room had a theme of space travel, so some spacesuit costumes were on display. First though was Gadget from The Waters of Mars.

The costumes included the Impossible Astronaut, the Oxygen one, the red Sanctuary Base 6 one, and the Library / Vashta Nerada one. The latter had a skull barely visible in its helmet.

Opposite the spacesuits were some model spaceships, courtesy of Mike Tucker of the Model Unit. These came from Dragonfire and from Shada.

There was also a model TARDIS and a full size prop - beside which everyone wanted to have a photo taken. Naturally, we got ours taken. Had to be done. nearby was a small model of the Doctor in his diving suit from Thin Ice, and I was pleased to note the tiny Doctor's modelled features within.

Before moving into the next room, we had a cabinet containing various heads plus a Dream Crab in its tank. Present were the Ood Elder, Pig Slave, Mire, Hath, Jabe, Whisper Man, and the Flood-infected Andy.

Once past the Fisher King it was into the last main room - devoted primarily to full costumes. Present on one side were a Weeping Angel, Cybermat (2011 version), Iraxxa and a classic era Ice Warrior, Flux Sontaran and Legend Sea Devil, a Dreg, plus busts of the 1980's Silurian and the 2010 version.

Opposite them we had representatives of Mondas / Telos and Skaro. The 2006 Cyber-Controller was the only full costume, but there was a range of Cyber-heads from across the ages next to him.

The Davros was the 1980's Terry Molloy version, and the only Dalek prop was a 1963 version.

The final section of the exhibition was a bit of a mixed bag. Going past Karvanista's costume (just the outfit - not the mask) we had the Teller surrounded by some creepy creatures - a spider germ from Kill The Moon and the Dalek mutant from Resolution.

After the Face of Boe, we then had a variety of costumes and mask - including Novice Hame, Emojibot, Morbius monster, Kerblam! Man, Matt Lucas and Greg Davis head casts from Husbands of River Song and a Tesselecta Antibody from Let's Kill Hitler. Opposite these was Cassandra. Rather than a static prop, they had projected video footage of her features moving in synch with Zoe Wannamaker dialogue to animate it.

Mark Gatiss presented a video just before the exit, which included clips from stories across all 59 years. I've mentioned pretty much all of the Doctor Who exhibits, but have only added a fraction of the photographs I took that afternoon. From the images people had uploaded from Liverpool I had not picked up on the scale of the exhibition, as they were mostly from a single room. It was much larger than I expected - and there's all the educational aspect I've not really touched on. There's less than a week to go in Edinburgh, but if you live near enough then I highly recommend catching it before it closes. 
I've just checked the exhibition's official website and there is no third venue listed so far. Edinburgh was already advertised long before it left Liverpool - so it looks like this might well be the end of the road for Worlds of Wonder.

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