As things begin to return to something resembling normality in the UK, The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi reopened last weekend in Allendale, Northumberland. In attendance was an ‘Ace’ guest…
Neil Cole has created an incredible exhibition of pieces from science-fiction’s history. In the small village of Allendale, Northumberland. In his basement. BlogtorWho previously reported the museum’s appearance on Netflix and the original opening event. But then the Covid-19 global pandemic hit. However, adversity presents opportunity. During the various UK lockdowns, Neil Cole was able to update the museum. This didn’t just mean adding new exhibits but also refurbish the display cases and other equipment. All of this effort was in preparation to reopen the Museum. To celebrate, a special reopening event was organised with Sophie Aldred (Ace) in attendance to do the honours.
To mark the relaunch of the museum Sophie Aldred was guest of honour to cut the ceremonial ribbon. Like the Queen breaking a bottle of champagne over the side of the ship, Aldred channelled her inner Ace by breaking a baseball bat over the Allendale Dalek bringing back memories of the iconic moment from ‘Remembrance of the Daleks‘. Documenting the occasion was Keith Barnfather of Reeltime Pictures. This filming was part of an upcoming project called ‘Doctor on Display‘, a five part documentary series covering the various Doctor Who exhibitions over the year. The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi will appropriately take its place in the series.
SP Bowling the incredible Davros impersonator, you may recognise him from an appearance in the recent trailer for Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 17, was also in attendance. Also present were members of the Hyde Fundraisers who provided some further alien monstrosities. Sophie Aldred was also available to meet with fans and sign autographs. The village of Allendale proved to be wonderful hosts.
The museum is a phenomenal achievement. To have constructed a series of display cases in a basement is one thing. However, to create within that environment a coherent museum is simply staggering. On display is a wide variety of items, the breadth of which is hugely impressive. Within the vault artefacts include a claw from ‘The Thing‘ (2011) to Morgo from ‘Space Precinct‘ and Aida’s (Madame Hydra) costume from ‘Agents of Shield‘. Those are just the modern pieces! On the walls are original artwork and animation cells.
Of course, Doctor Who is a significant section of the museum. Many of the items on display have been seen elsewhere in previous Doctor Who exhibitions. Visitors will likely remember seeing the Garm or Mestor at Blackpool, Longleat or Llangollen for instance. However, there are other items which I had not seen before. For example a full Chimeron from ‘Delta and the Bannermen‘ and Mawdryn’s costume from ‘Mawdryn Undead‘. Currently on loan to the Museum is Broton the Zygon which was last seen on display at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff. It is an incredible collection with many of the monsters looking as good as they were in the BBC studios.
The Evening event
In the evening The King’s Head pub in Allendale provided the location for a very fun and entertaining Q&A session with Sophie Aldred. Neil Cole was a wonderful host, taking the opportunity to ask all the questions that as a fan he always wanted to ask. Joining the pair on stage was Keith Barnfather who happily discussed the working relationship he has enjoyed with Aldred over several years. Of course the session was thrown open to questions from the audience. All manner of topics were discussed, from the location of Ace’s iconic jacket to the infamous water tank sequence in Battlefield. Alongside Barnfather, Aldred also talked about the multi-award winning ‘Sil and the Devil Seeds of Arodor‘. The slightly informal atmosphere made for a more personal experience and was a welcome change to the big conventions we often get these days.
Overall, it was a wonderful day and a flawless event. Personal gratitude must be extended for those at The King’s Head for looking after this particular traveller. Although Allendale is a little out of the way, the Museum is a must for a Sci-Fi buffs but particularly Doctor Who fans. Trust me, it is worth the effort. You will not regret visiting!