Friday, March 9, 2012

The Doctor Who Experience

A wax figure of the new Dr. Who presides over the call box at the London museum display
Dr. Who is a BBC science fiction series that premiered in 1963 and featured a time traveling Time Lord who sailed the universe in a sentient time machine called a TARDIS, which appeared to be a benign blue British police call box on the outside, but was a vast contraption on the inside with several stories and many rooms.

As silly as this series has been from time to time, it has garnered a vast following in the years since its debut.  It is the most successful science fiction franchise of all time (at least according to the BBC) and has come to be known for its imaginative scripts and low budget special effects.  And some really catchy theme music.

Olympia is an exhibition and conference center in the West Kensington area of London, comprising three main halls: the Olympia Grand, the Olympia National and the Olympia Two.  The BBC Worldwide sponsored an exhibition of Dr. Who props, memorabilia and Dr. Who themed interactive exhibits at the Olympia Two this past fall, which proved to be so popular it got an extended stay through February 22nd.

A couple of friends of mine have been able to see the exhibit.  It looks like a lot of fun.  To corroborate this, I asked my friend who saw it most recently how he liked it.  His reply, "It was fun".

There you go.

 These "life size" Daleks (above) are from the BBC show.
You never forget your first Doctor. (Tom Baker)
I've been a Dr. Who fan since the 80s.  My first doctor was played by Tom Baker, a jovial giant of a man, who (as an interesting sidelight), briefly dated one of my girlfriends on a visit to Los Angeles many years ago.

His doctor was a bon vivante with a jaunty hat, a long multi-coloured scarf and a shock of reddish curls.

There have been many doctors since then.  (And who knew there is a new Dr. Who?  Say that three times really fast!)

Christopher Eccelston as the 9th Dr. Who
 If you've never seen Dr. Who in your youth, perhaps you just don't "get" the Dr. Who phenomenon.  But, as the record numbers of folks flocking to the Olympia Two exhibit in London can attest, there's just something about Dr. Who that is compelling.  (Note: the exhibit closed at the end of February, I believe. Just in case you were wanting to go.) Granted, the early special effects were pretty cheesy, but the writing was always imaginative and fun.

Long live the good doctor!  Or, better, yet - please get me a TARDIS and whisk me away!

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