© BBC Cymru Wales

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On display

Room 68: Money 

Object details

Length: 8.3 cm
Width: 15.5 cm
Depth: 14 mm
Museum number: 2009,4108.1

View object in the Collection online 

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Doctor Who Banknote

Cardiff, Wales, 2006

Prop banknote created for 2006 Christmas Special episode of BBC TV’s Doctor Who.

This prop banknote was created for use in the 2006 Christmas Doctor Who episode The Runaway Bride. A large number of banknotes were required for the scene in question so for practical and legal reasons the Doctor Who Art Department opted to design and make notes of their own. Strict Bank of England guidelines limit the production of fake banknotes for TV and film, so BBC Cymru had to create notes that looked authentic on screen but were obviously not genuine currency on closer inspection.

The note itself is in the style of a British ten pound note. It features the head of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor instead of Queen Elizabeth II, as well as quotations from the series, a TARDIS hologram and other Doctor Who references (the mention of satsumas on the note, for example, harks back to Tennant’s debut episode). Within the context of this particular episode, the Doctor is able to escape from danger by creating a disturbance on a London street. Using his sonic screwdriver at a cash machine, he causes a huge number of banknotes to erupt from the machine into the air. The ensuing chaos with members of the public trying to grab as much money as possible allows him to distract his enemies and run to help his new friend Donna.

This object illustrates the theme of greed in society: the Doctor uses humanity’s desire for money to his advantage, knowing that the passers-by will not be able to resist collecting the banknotes littering the street, allowing him to make good his escape. It also reveals the practicalities and challenges of representing money in TV and film from a production and design point of view. This can be a surprisingly problematic process that can yield inventive results like this banknote.

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