I wrote recently about a trip to the rather excellent Dinosaur Zoo in Birmingham. Whilst we were there, we went to visit a couple of other interesting places in the city. Before the show, we had a quick trip to the city’s museum – a great place for afternoon tea – and afterwards, as we walked back through the Mailbox, the shopping and dining centre, we stopped off at the BBC to experience Dr Who in Birmingham.
The BBC offices in the Mailbox are easy to find on the third floor, at one end of all the restaurants, because of all the props at the entrance. At present, there is a Dalek visible as you walk by, so we had to go and have a look. It’s an actual Dalek from an episode of Dr Who, guarding the entrance.
The lift has the appearance of the Doctor’s TARDIS, keeping the Dr Who theme, and upstairs is a TARDIS. It’s a real BBC prop, but not from where you might think; rather than from an episode of Dr Who, this one is from Eastenders, where it appeared at a Doctor Who convention as part of one storyline.
Of course, the props are not limited to those based on adventures in time and space, as visitors can see plenty of other exhibits from the BBC, from outfits from Strictly Come Dancing to a sign for the Archers’ Ambridge, which is recorded in the city.
The staff are remarkably friendly and helpful, and for me, a trip to see a few props is much more fun than the same time spent shopping in the same building. But that might just be me…