HISTORY OF THE EXHIBITION

It was in 1973 when the first Dr Who items were put on display at Longleat as part of a visual effects exhibition. Pleased with its success, Lord Bath encouraged the newly formed Exhibitions department within BBC Enterprises to base an Exhibition of props and costumes as one of the attractions on the Longleat estate. Its offical launch came at two days later than Blackpool on April 12th 1974. The set up was quite similar to the Blackpool exhibition although on a much smaller scale. This time it was all on one level with an oversized Police Box exterior to house the entrance and exit based in an old stable block.

Tom at Longleat in August 2000
The Longleat celebration in 1983
Again there was a winding passage with displays mounted on each side culminating in a 'Console' room which again was ringed by further display units.The Exhibition mirrored its Blackpool counterpart for its season of opening between April and October. During the winter months the displays would be updated, as they were in Blackpool, to feature some of the latest TV Villains to battle the good Doctor ! In 1980 'BLUE PETER' did a feature on the Longleat Dr Who Exhibition in which presenter Tina Heath faced some of the Exhibits which included the Virus Nucleus from 'The Invisible Enemy'. She witnessed some of the refurbishment of the Exhibition and was joined by John Nathan-Turner who promoted some of the forthcoming alien menaces to face The Doctor in Season 18 !
Perhaps Longleat came to the fore when it hosted the ' TWENTY YEARS OF A TIMELORD' celebration in 1983 attended by all the living Doctors and most companions ever gathered for such an event. It proved so successful that it brought most of Wiltshire to a standstill that Easter Weekend.

Since then regular events have taken place at the Exhibition in early August featuring guests from the programme to sign autographs and chat to fans. We ourselves have supported and even organised one of these events which continues to prove how popular and successful the programme is percieved.

Chrissie Buttery and friend!
George Baker attends an event with Lady Bath in May 1996 for McMillan Cancer Care aided by Hyde Fundraisers
Colin Baker and friends

It was on a sad note that the Longleat Exhibition closed its doors for the final time in October 2003 after serving Dr Who fans for almost 30 years. Longleat was special to Hyde Fundraisers because of the friends we made there such as Tim Bentley, Tim Moore, Dallas Slade, Chrissie Buttery and Irene Perry.

We have been happy to include some vintage exhibition photo's from Derek Handley. Take a peek .....
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