No, look, there’s a blue box. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go
anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it’s meant to go. And when it turns up,
there’s a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be wrong stuff and he will do his best to
sort it out and he will probably succeed ’cause he’s awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch
– Neil Gaiman
At its best, Doctor Who is science-fiction that at its heart celebrates humanity’s intelligence, compassion and curiosity. And the Doctor, throughout his – and now her! – different regenerations throughout the years, continuously demonstrates the value of logic, creativity and imagination: a true champion of scientific thinking that has inspired, and continues to inspire, generations of scientists, engineers, film-makers and more.
To mark 55 years since the first ever episode of Doctor Who, here are five items from our collection celebrating the iconic TV series.
These silver painted boots formed part of the costume for a Cyberman, ‘Cyberlieutenant’, from the episode Silver Nemesis in 1988. The episode celebrated the 25th anniversary of the TV drama and was also the last appearance of Cybermen in the classic series.
Cybermen were once humans, turned into emotionless cyborgs incapable of compassion or free will. They were created by writer Gerry Davis and Dr. Kit Pedler, the unofficial scientific advisor to the show, in 1966.
Pedler had the idea after a conversation with his wife about what would happen if a person had so many prostheses that they could no longer distinguish themselves between man and machine…
Fighter Spaceship (1980)
Over 14 lives (and counting), the Doctor has used a variety of vehicles, from the time-and-space-bending Tardis, which curiously looks just like a vintage police box, to Bessie, the Third Doctor’s main means of transport while he was exiled on Earth – a yellow Edwardian roadster, currently on display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, as part of their On Screen Cars exhibition.
A Toy Dalek
This shiny toy Dalek dates back to 1966. The violent and merciless robotic aliens, who demand total conformity to their will, bent on the conquest of the universe and the extermination of other races, appeared for the first time in 1963. They were created by science-fiction author Terry Nation and designed by Raymond Cusick.
Released by toymaker Louis Marx in 1964, this battery operated Dalek stands 6 inches tall and comes complete with the iconic plunger and eyestalk.
A picture of Jon Pertwee at the Science Museum
This picture was taken at the opening of the BBC TV Visual Effects exhibition at the Science Museum in December 1972.
Jon Pertwee (centre) was the third actor to impersonate Doctor Who, from 1970 to 1974. Here he is pictured with Katy Manning, who took the role of the Doctor’s assistant Jo Grant from 1971 to 1973, and John Levene, who played the UNIT soldier Sergeant Benton. Jon Pertwee was the first Doctor to be filmed in colour, and his adventures largely took place while he was exiled on Earth, working as a scientific advisor to the international military group UNIT.
A Doctor Who inspired cross-stitch
The exhibition celebrated the 50th anniversary of the TV programme and looked at what it means to be a Doctor Who fan, fans’ collections and art, and the passion that Doctor Who has generated—and regenerated—over the past half-century.