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By Matt Kamen
July 13, 2007
One of the imposing Cyberman displays at the "DOCTOR WHO Up Close" exhibition in Manchester.
© BBC/MSIM 2007
As a testament to a series that's not so much an object of national pride as it is a wonderful addiction (or so the tabloid press would have you believe between seasons), Doctor Who has manifested beyond the confines of the television into its very own exhibition. Well, four actually – one each in Land's End, Cardiff, Blackpool and Manchester. Following on from the end of the third season last week, Elizabeth Birmingham reports on the Manchester show.
"After the huge revival over the past couple of years, it’s no surprise that the success of the new Doctor Who seasons have given way to the BBC exhibit in The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester entitled ‘Doctor Who Up Close’. Having started on the 31st of May and due to run until 5th November, the exhibit boasts a host of props, costumes and set pieces, updated throughout the year as the new third season progressed. These include the impressive ‘Face of Boe’, ‘The Empress of Racnoss’ (who takes up a large section of the floor space) and the newly added ‘Lazarus Machine’. There are of course Daleks and Cybermen without which no Doctor Who related exhibit would be complete, along with the Clockwork Robots from season two's 'The Girl in the Fireplace' and K9 adding nice touches to the collection. Throughout the floor (which is broadly split into Dalek, Cybermen and Racnoss sections, all linked by walkways displaying costumes, information boards and set-pieces) there are video screens showing clips from the past three seasons, which adds to the overall feel of the exhibit.
However there are a few things that I found rather disappointing. One being that there isn’t a TARDIS in the museum except for a wooden mock that’s been nicely constructed by the museum staff but unfortunately too small and painted in the wrong colour. But perhaps the biggest let down was the lack of anything relating to the original series, save for one wall with a picture of each of the past Doctors on it. Having watched the reruns on television I felt as though the makers of the exhibit have discarded the roots of the program in favour of the newer audience.
At present the exhibition includes items up until half way through the current season and more updates are expected, although the BBC team are behind on their deliveries at the moment, something the museum staff hope to have rectified soon. Also something to note is that whilst exploring the rest of the museum I came across an original BBC Cyberman from the older series in the basement storage area (which is open Tuesdays to Fridays on request), showing the original series isn't entirely forgotten after all.
All in all, ‘Doctor Who Up Close’ is definitely worth a trip or two as the updates and rearrangements that take place throughout the year make it a different experience each time. It’s definitely worth going, despite its minor problems and near-total omission of the original series – there's certainly enough there to have enticed me into having been twice myself.
Tickets range from £4.50 for concessions to £20 for a season pass."
Anime – Officially Art
The British Museum in London is screening an assortment of anime movies over the coming months, including the UK premiere of the Naruto movie, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow. In addition to the festival staples of Studio Ghibli movies and the likes of Akira, there are a few choice oddities being screened as well. Chief amongst these gems is Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix 2772 and the little known sci-fi thriller They Were Eleven. Neither of these is available in the UK on DVD and anyone with an interest in classic, landmark anime should be booking their tickets right now.
New UK DVD Picks for 16/07/2007
It's a pretty big week for anime releases here in the UK, and with Japan EX fast approaching, they're well timed.
Nurse Witch Komugi
A spin-off from another barely known anime series, Soul Taker, this short series is a knowing parody of the staples of anime fandom. Collecting all six episodes into one budget priced two-disc set will probably draw in a few curious buyers but be warned – if cosplaying magical girls with giant syringes as weapons aren't your thing, you should give this a miss.
Gungrave: Complete Collection
Think all video game adaptations are crap? Think again. Gungrave takes a brainless shooter and turns it into, essentially, The Godfather of anime. While the first episode plays very much according to type given its PS2 roots, the remaining 25 weave a very touching, very human story of love and betrayal. And then the zombie hitmen and mutated mad scientists show up. Extras are the same as the single discs.
Tactics: Part 2
For some reason, this is being branded as the second half of "Season One" on the packaging, which seems a little pointless given there is only one season of Tactics. Superfluousness aside, Tactics is a show steeped in Japanese mythology and folklore, following a boy with a sixth sense as he befriends or banishes various youkai, or demons. The UK release is spread over a mere two releases compared to the six in the US – a bit of a wallet saver there.
That’s it for this week. Thoughts? Comments? Hatemail? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.