We walked in and was immediately greeted by a man who gave us a map and recommended we started from the 5th floor down then back up to the 6th at the end if we had time as it was a cinema area of old BFI films being shown. This was a great idea until we realised we were on the same sort of ‘self tour time’ as a family who let their badly disciplined children treat the whole museum as a play ground and clearly enjoyed a past time of screaming the place down. Never mind, apart from them the experience was really pretty cool!
The 5th floor consisted of the basic evolution of gaming and gaming consoles such as Pac-Man and Nintendo that provided you with actual games you could play that made you realised how shocking the graphics used to be. It also shows the animation and creation of beloved cartoons such as Tom and Jerry and Aardman’s Creature Comforts and the clever ways they managed to produce them. The only surviving set of Wallace and Gromit is also stationed at the museum as everything else unfortunately burnt down yet the attention to detail is very impressive and amusing. The set is the museum part in The Wrong Trousers where Wallace unknowingly goes to steal the diamond and they even included The Mona Lisa on the wall with Wallace’s face on it! 4th floor was basically all about the camera and lenses and how images can look different based on lighting and focus and mirrors etc. I really enjoyed the cubed mirror where you could stick your head in and see millions of reflections of different sides of your face- which could have a good or bad effect on your self esteem! haha. The next floor was my favourite as it consisted of all the TV bits and bobs. There was an advert section where they showed the very first advert which is for toothpaste by the way and a TV timeline saying the evolution of the BBC. In glass cases were the original Thunder Birds, Wallace and Gromit, Morph, Andy Pandy and a Dalek which was amazing to see up close especially the puppets. In the other room was the best part and contained information on the pre-production, production and post production (I think) of a TV programme. There was massive displays of old televisions and cameras that were used. Alongside built sets you could interact with such as pretending to be a camera man, reading the news in a news studio and playing with green screens. We probably spent most of our time in that room as it was incredibly interesting. I really wanted a go on the green screens so that I could read the weather in my best BBC accent but the kids kept hogging it annoyingly. To be honest, why were there so many children there? It’s not exactly a place for under 5’s. The next room was going to be a Photography display I think but it wasn’t finished yet as we realised by reading the ‘coming soon’ sign after we had already tried to pull down the door thinking it was just a bit stiff- Ooops! The ground floor had a really lovely retro looking cafe, cinema stand and a gift shop were I bought a clapper board as I had always wanted one so yeah.
Overall, it was a really really good day out and was interesting for everybody not just media, TV and film enthusiasts (Adam said he really enjoyed it). I’d absolutely recommend it as well as a Christmassy white hot chocolate from Costa to top the dreary wintery day off! Thank you for reading.