Doctor Who’s enemies brought together under one roof for new Edinburgh exhibition

Its creatures and monsters have been thrilling and terrifying television viewers for nearly 60 years.

David Smith from the National Museum of Scotland prepares for the opening of its Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder exhibition, which opens on 9 December. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
David Smith from the National Museum of Scotland prepares for the opening of its Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder exhibition, which opens on 9 December. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Now Doctor Who’s most famous creations are being brought under the one roof for Scotland’s latest blockbuster exhibition.

The country’s contribution to the long-running science fiction series, which has seen four Scottish actors land one of the biggest roles in British TV, will be celebrated in the show at the National Museum of Scotland.

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Unveiled ahead of an opening weekend that has already sold out, the exhibition combines displays of models, costumes, props and drawings used in the making of the show with a wide-ranging exploration of the role science has played in its storylines since Doctor Who first aired in 1963.

Two cybermen were on patrol in the National Museum Of Scotland ahead of its Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder exhibition opening on Friday. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Cybermen and a Cybermat, Daleks and their creator Davros, Sontarans and Sea Devils all feature in the exhibition.

It offers the chance to see inside and even sound like a Dalek, pose for pictures outside the Doctor’s police box, relive classic moments from the show’s archives and examine a recreation of the original TARDIS interior.

Other highlights include costumes worn by David Tennant and co-star Catherine Tate, an array of the Doctor’s “sonic screwdiver” gadgets, the giant robot from Tom Baker’s first story, the Time Lord Omega, canine robot companion K9 and a “weeping angel” from the modern era.

Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder, which looks at the design and visual effects innovations in the show, allows visitors to explore the possibilities of time travel, artificial intelligence and head transplants to whether life exists on other planets.

Two Cybermen were keeping guard at the entrance to the National Museum Of Scotland ahead of the opening of its Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder exhibition on Friday. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The exhibition will run in Edinburgh from 9 December till 1 May 2023 – the show’s 60th anniversary year, which will see the return of Tennant to the role and the debut of fellow Scots star Ncuti Gatwa. The exhibition features the two other Scots to played the Doctor previously, Peter Capaldi and Sylvester McCoy.

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It has been developed in collaboration between BBC Studios and Sarner International, the designers of the previous Doctor Who Experience attractions in London and Cardiff.

Steven Swaby, writer and curator of the Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder, said: “We really wanted to do something very different and more educational with this exhibition to ensure it is suitable for museums and science centres.

“It explores the science of Doctor Who throughout the entire history of the show, from the early sixties to the very latest episodes.

The Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder exhibition opens at the National Museum Of Scotland in Edinburgh opens on December 9. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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“It’s important to show that Doctor Who has been very much ahead of the curve when it came to environmental science, global warm and ecological disasters, going right back to the sixties and seventies.

“There are a lot of props, models and costumes throughout the show – that was something we wanted right from the beginning. Pretty much everything you see in the exhibition will have been on screen at some point and some of the more recent exhibits will not have been on public display anywhere before.”

Alison Cromarty, head of exhibitions and design at the National Museum, said: “The exhibition is an amazing opportunity to see lots of monsters, props and costumes from the entire history of the show.

"Doctor Who has really strong connections to science, which is of real interest to us given our scientific collections. It explores the real influence that science has had on the programme’s writers and producers.”

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The Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder exhibition opens at the National Museum Of Scotland on 9 December. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Alice Wyllie from the National Museum of Scotland has a close look at one of the exhibits in its Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder exhibition, which opens on 9 December 9. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire