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Doctor Who - Worlds of Wonder review: Educational, inspirational and a fan's dream

A new exhibition in Liverpool combines authentic props from the series with scientific teaching to great effect.

A photograph of the Doctor Who World of Wonders exhibition featuring a Dalek and other costumes.
©Robin Clewley
Published: Friday, 27th May 2022 at 2:35 pm
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A star rating of 5 out of 5.

If you’ve ever wondered how the TARDIS is bigger on the inside or pondered how far off we are from teleporting around the universe like The Doctor and co, you may just find the answers at Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder, a new exhibition opening today (27th May) at World Museum in Liverpool.

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Matching Doctor Who props, costumes and ideas with detailed explanations of the science behind the show, Worlds of Wonder is not only a Doctor Who fan’s dream, but an educational tool and exciting lens through which to view the Whoniverse.

The extensive exhibition has been lovingly curated by Sarner International, the same brainchild behind previous Doctor Who exhibit the Doctor Who Experience. The show brings together the excitement of getting up close and personal with Who props whilst also educating visitors on concepts such as teleportation, cloning and space travel. There’s a focus on the scientific inspiration behind our favourite monsters and episodes, as well as theories on how the show’s more fantastical elements might actually be possible.

"There will be an opportunity for visitors to get to grips with some of the scientific ideas that have inspired the show’s writers for decades; things like astronomy and astrobiology, quantum physics, evolution, cybernetics and nature itself," Fiona Philpot, director of exhibitions at National Museums Liverpool, told RadioTimes.com. "It’s a wonder to behold, and perhaps a rediscovery of elements of the show that seasoned fans know and love."

A look at the exhibition in Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder
A look at the exhibition in Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder ©Robin Clewley

Upon entering the exhibition through oversized TARDIS doors, visitors are greeted with a replica of the First Doctor’s TARDIS console, setting the scene with a bit of Doctor Who history. What follows is an interactive tour through space, time and science, complete with specially-shot video content featuring Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss and scientists such as Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

For visitors who aren’t familiar with the show, there’s plenty to entertain. Pairing Doctor Who lore with educational activities such as guessing how many hearts a cockroach has (11 more than a Time Lord!) makes for a fun adventure - whether you know your Kerblam! man from your Kamelion or not.

There are fun opportunities to get inside a Dalek and use a ring modulator to make your voice sound like the Doctor’s deadliest enemy. But becoming a Dalek is just the tip of the interactive fun; why not match your favourite aliens to their Earth counterparts that inspired them, or dig into Who episodes that deal with environmentalism and climate change?

A look at the exhibition in Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder
©Robin Clewley

Towards the end of the exhibition, there’s a brilliant cameo from Zoë Wanamaker, reprising her role as ‘the last pure human’ Lady Cassandra – 'a living exhibit from the very distant future' – and a real treat for fans of the new series of the show. She is on hand during the final instalment, covering the future of humankind and the scientific possibilities that lay before us. From the implications of extending human life to explaining the science behind changing gender, the science behind Doctor Who has a lot to teach us.

Liverpool residents have their very own section of the exhibition, aptly titled 'Doctor Who’s Liverpool connections.' From Fourth Doctor Tom Baker to current showrunner Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who has many Liverpool-born alumni, as well as companion Dan Lewis (played by John Bishop) who joined the TARDIS last year. Of course Liverpool featured heavily in the latest series, so it feels right that this brilliant celebration of the show has premiered in the centre of the city.

A look at the exhibition in Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder
©Robin Clewley

Covering the entire history of the show, there is truly something for everyone at Worlds of Wonder. You might find a creature from the 2021 series stood next to a foe from '70s Who, or concept art for those interested in how monsters and spaceships are brought to life. The exhibition itself centres on inclusion and how Doctor Who has brought people together, telling the story of how it has inspired fans and scientists around the world.

At its heart, Worlds of Wonder is about accessibility, opening up the world of science through one of the nation’s most treasured shows. It wonderfully mirrors Doctor Who’s original intent; to educate and inspire. From the wonders of the natural world to the limitless possibilities within the stars above us; this interactive exhibition is a celebration of the Doctor’s adventures and shows us that we truly are living in a world of wonder.

Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder is open for visitors now, and tickets are available online.

Doctor Who returns to BBC One this autumn, and is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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