The Tardis has landed in Newcastle as Doctor Who faces an invasion of people from the North-East into his world. Steve Pratt faces the Daleks as the Life science centre enters the world of the Time Lord.

THIS is Life, Jim, but not as we know it. The Newcastle science centre is letting its hair down and going Doctor Who crazy. The Tardis is looking the worse for wear. Toppled on its side and lying among the remains of a garden shed. All around is danger. Of course, if you don’t know your Cyberman from your Slitheen, you’re in trouble.

But those wandering around the Life centre during last night’s preview of the major Doctor Who exhibition clearly knew their stuff, although they were more intent on posing for photographs with the monsters than fighting them off.

The famous Time Lord, it must be said, was nowhere to be seen. Not in person anyway.

Okay, his image was visible on giant screens, but visitors to the exhibition were left to fend for themselves as one after another of the Doctor’s enemies materialised in front of their eyes.

WELCOME TO LIFE said the banner. But death was only just around the corner. SAVE OUR PLANET proclaimed another poster, although the Doctor’s intergalactic enemies were posing a greater travelling threat than volcanic ash or BA strikes.

As part of its tenth anniversary celebrations, Life has become a member of Who’s Who with a touring exhibition celebrating the famous TV Time Lord and his enemies.

As you embark on this expedition, the danger is such that the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, the Gallifreyan device detailed at the start of the display, is of little use against the perils of travelling through outer space in the Tardis.

The exhibition takes a look at the policeman’s uniform worn by his current assistant Amy Pond in her stripper incarnation to bring you back down to earth. How, you are not the first to wonder, does she manage to flee from aliens wearing such a short skirt? This is one of the mysteries of life, with a small “l”, that needs answering.

What this touring exhibition brings home is just how repulsive the Doctor’s many and varied adversaries are. The Smiler, whose beatific beam turns into a toothy threatening grimace.

The weeping angel with looks that can turn you to stone. And the busty vampires of Venice who have clearly strayed in from an old Hammer horror film.

A black cloth hides something mysterious.

“Exhibit on display after broadcast”, reads a tantalising notice. I resisted pulling back the sheet for fear of incurring the wrath of the Slitheen looking over my shoulder. And I certainly obeyed the sign telling me “mesh top do not stand on plinths”. Surrounded by such foul-looking monsters, you are apt to do exactly as you’re told for fear of reprisals.

Passing a cage of werewolves and the Face of Boe (skin stretched hideously like an old chamois leather), I was only too willing to obey the instruction Please Do Not Touch The Exhibits.

Who, in their right mind, would want to lay their hands on the Moxx of Balhoon, or Abzorrbaloff or Jagrafess come to that?

I was much more at ease with K9, the doctor’s sometime canine companion, and inspecting Kylie’s French maid costume from a Christmas special, than looking at a dissecting table and facing the Ood, a race clearly up to no go-Ood.

ROBOT Santas, Sontaran and Tritovore are all names that will mean something to Who fans, but seem like anagrams to anyone else. The spiderwoman – played by Sarah Parrish – is awesome in her scale and when she moves... well, those among you afflicted with arachnophobia would do well to run for cover.

I could, however, identify with the Scribbling Monster. We have a lot in common, I thought, as I committed my thoughts on the exhibition to my notebook.

It all ended nastily. The attendant asked: “Do you want to see the Daleks?”

My answer could be nothing other than “yes”. These metallic salt cellars – Dusty Bin’s sophisticated elder brother – are one of the earliest and certainly the most enduring of Doctor Who’s deadly enemies. No chance of a coalition when these metal monsters are around. They get the show they deserve. You enter a smoke-filled circular arena, momentarily dazzled by strobe lighting. Then it begins.

The famililar rasp on the Dalek voice announces that life forms have been detected.

“Seal all doors,” orders the leader, totally ignoring health and safety regulations.

“Escape is futile. You are the enemy of the Daleks. Daleks are supreme,” they scream. And quite frankly, they’re so scary and this bit of the exhibition so well staged, that I feared I wouldn’t make it back to the bar for a calming glass of red wine.

Their familiar cry of “EXTERMINATE” rings out. You find yourself surrounded by them as they cheerfully exterminate everyone standing there in open-mouthed amazement.

After that, I didn’t give the gruesome exhibit labelled “infected patient” a second look.

My only regret about the exhibition is that there isn’t a sofa to hide behind, something that became the norm in households when the Daleks first appeared on Doctor Who.

■ The Doctor Who exhibition at Life opens today. Opening times are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm, Sunday, 11am to 6pm. Admission to the exhibition is £9.95 (18 and over), children (17 and under) £6.95, children under four free, concessions £7.95, family ticket (two adults and two children, or one adult and three children) £27.80. Tickets online at or via the booking hotline 08444-815880. Further information at