Passengers on Manchester’s Metrolink were joined by a special cuddly commuter this morning.
A life-size, scrub-wearing teddy bear took to the trams to mark the Science and Industry Museum’s summer transformation into a teddy hospital, inspired by its new world-premiere exhibition, Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You.
Mr Grumbles, as he’s known, is a well-loved character from hit BBC Children’s show, Operation Ouch!, which has now been brought to life as an exhibition experience for the first time. He pops up throughout the exhibition alongside the show’s presenters, Dr Chris, Dr Xand and Dr Ronx, to guide visitors as they take a deep dive through the digestive system.
This was Mr Grumbles’ first trip out to explore Manchester city centre. After planning his journey on the Transport for Greater Manchester website, the fluffy passenger pitched up at Exchange Square, where he posed for pictures and handed out special ‘poo hats’ from the exhibition, furthering its aim of breaking the taboo around poo by encouraging passers-by to wear them with pride as they carried on their journeys through the city.
The exhibition, which has already attracted more than 14,000 visitors since it opened on 21 July, provides a wonderfully weird, gloriously gross and epically entertaining journey through digestion. It embraces silliness in the name of science as it supports visitors to better understand their bodies. Highlight experiences include the once-in-a-lifetime experience of travelling like a poo and being flushed down a giant toilet, playing with a super-sized set of interactive teeth and taking part in the world’s only interactive “pooduction” line to discover how our bodies absorb nutrients and expel waste
As well as being a popular television character and exhibition guide, Mr Grumbles is an aspiring ears, nose and throat doctor! During his time at Exchange Square, he encouraged the people of Manchester to follow in his footsteps and transform into doctors for the day by bringing their fluffy friends to the special ‘medical departments’ set up in the Science and Industry Museum this summer. The departments of Heads, Hearts, Bones and Bottoms demonstrate how to keep whole bodies healthy with playful and engaging activities for all ages.
Steven Leech, curator of exhibitions at the Science and Industry Museum, said: “The exhibition and our programme of special summer events are smashing taboos and encouraging families to find the fun in the science inside us.
“We’re delighted to have partnered with the BBC and 141 productions to bring beloved on-screen characters and experiences from Operation Ouch! to life in a super-sized, super-fun exhibition! This additional partnership with TfGM meant we could bring the super-sized Mr Grumbles to the streets of Manchester, spreading the joy of this outrageous journey and its important message of embracing and understanding the weird and wonderful ways our bodies work.”
Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You has been developed by the Science and Industry Museum and produced in collaboration with the BBC and 141 Productions, part of All3Media’s Objective Media Group. It is supported by Principal Sponsor, Andrex.
Those planning a visit can access the Science and Industry Museum easily by public transport. The nearest tram stop is Deansgate-Castlefield and the free city centre bus, route 1, stops just outside. Tickets for the exhibition are available to book on the museum’s website (www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk) priced at £10 for adults, £9 children, senior and concessions, with children aged three and under going free. It will run at the Science and Industry Museum until June 2024, before embarking on a national and international tour.