20 May 2017

Golden Mile Years - The Blackpool Doctor Who Exhibition #5

By 1983 it seemed as if perhaps there had been some sort of backblast backlash – how else to explain the fact that this year the corridors were extremely dark with the carpet or floor or whatever being more like an inky void. The exhibits ranged from a Gundan that seemed to be headbanging through a line up of the Time Lord council, Omega and his bird (the Ergon), a Dalek running rings around a totally out of it Davros and displays from `Mawdryn Undead` and `Terminus` One exhibit in the corridor was a montage of various costumes but sadly only lit up once an hour! Darkness was in that year!

In 1984, ten years after the opening, the exhibition had splashed out on a bouncy new carpet and even more scary lighting. That year there were two Daleks in the first case issuing their usual warning about not smoking. They were followed by some 'Warriors of the Deep' Sea Devils and Silurian and even the Myrka, one thing which could never really look good. Opposite was a mixed collection comprising a Terileptil, Gundan (with a rather alarming axe that gave everyone quite a shock when it suddenly crashed down) Plasmaton and an Axon. There were also some props including Khalid’s globe and a silver space suit from `Planet of Fire` which had the label `The Logar` which puzzled everyone. 

Opposite sat another case with mixed props including both Sutekh masks, a Jacondon head, Brousa’s crown from `The Five Doctors` and the Mara from `Snakedance. Next up sat the impressive Gastropod Mestor. It was always the case that some things looked better as static exhibits than they had on the show and this was one. Then there was the black orchid flower, Sharaz Jek's costume which loooked quite small and the sleeping Queen Bat.
Into the console room we found some Tractators plus Plantagenet in his globe thingy. The Magma creature, the Garm and a Vanir make up a group of less popular aliens though they somehow looked alright in the atmosphere in the room. Perhaps that’s why they all stood together. The largest display featured Davros and the Daleks with a set taken from `Resurrection of the Daleks` and they were joined by an odd selection of items including a Sea Devil, Zygon, Mandrel, the `Deadly Assassin` Master, a Marshman, Polyphase Avatron, Pirate Captain and K9.  Near the merchandise sits the `Five Doctors` Yeti and the fifth Doctor’s cricket costume and on the stairs out there’s a case containing a Sharaz Jek mask and the Guardian’s bird hats as well as some studio plans for `The King's Demons`. Occasionally Bessie was parked outside though you were lucky if you caught this.

Unfortunately the following year was to be the final one for the Exhibition and in October 1985 it
closed for good. Typically, the BBC were unable to give a good reason why except that it was "time for re-evaluation" though rumours suggested that the place was no longer paying its way plus, with the programme then on its 18 month hiatus, there would have been no new exhibits for 1986 anyway. Perhaps, too, with the video age in full swing, the need for the attraction had dimmed and the younger generation of fans were less likely to be impressed by something as static as display cases and groovy lights. 

None of the other Doctor Who Exhibitions before or since have quite managed to recreate the thrill of the show the way the Blackpool one did and none have been situated in such a loud, brassy locale. Those of us who wiled away many childhood – and adult - hours in those dark, twisting corridors experienced just that little bit more of Doctor Who than any other generation of fans.

Now - check out the Blackpool Doctor Who Exhibition Gallery for more photos! Link under the blog title!

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