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Lights, camera, action! holidays MOVIE MAGIC SWEEPS BRITAIN.

Byline: PAUL COLE

Tourism chiefs are turning their attention to the movies and TV this year, recruiting everyone from James Bond to Dr Who. Travel Editor PAUL COLE reports from the British Travel Trade Fair at Birmingham's NEC.

THE name's Bond, James Bond. To celebrate the centenary of author Ian Fleming's birth, the Imperial War Museum London is producing the first major exhibition devoted to all things 007.

For Your Eyes Only will examine the fact and fiction behind the superspy who eliminated all manner of villains while on Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Featuring a wealth of material on display for the first time, the exhibition will look at both Fleming and Bond's careers, and reveal where they crossed paths.

The writer drew upon his own wartime exploits and work as a journalist to create the iconic secret agent, and the show asks just how many of Bond's adventures were imaginary, and how much real derring do.

Among the items on display will be the blood-spattered shirt worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, Rosa Klebb's deadly shoes as seen in From Russia With Love and Halle Berry's bikini from Die Another Day.

There'll be Fleming's annotated Bond manuscripts and the author's own Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver. Wonder how 007 got that Walther PPK...?

The show runs from April 17 to March 1 next year, and is expected to be hugely popular, so plan your visit early Elsewhere, telly's favourite Time Lord Doctor Who will be bending the laws of space and time - by being in several places at once.

The biggest-ever official Doctor Who exhibition opens at London's Earls Court on March 20, packed with props from the BBC TV series.

Organisers promise all manner of memorabilia spanning the Time Lord's career, from life-sized Ice Warriors and Sea Devils to Cybermen and Daleks.

As the new series of Dr Who, starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate, screens next month, new items will be added, keeping the show bang up to date.

"Nearly 250,000 people visited the 2007 exhibition in Manchester," says marketing boss Lynne Marie Cox. "And that was just one-third the size of this one!"

It runs until September 18 but that doesn't stop sister shows slipping through the dimensional rift in Cardiff, Blackpool and at Lands End.

Meanwhile, on the Wirral, The Art Of Doctor Who reveals how an episode is created from script to screen, and is starring at Spaceport in Wallasey's Seacombe Ferry Terminal.

This lesser-known attraction really is on a different planet and has been hosting a Sci-Fi At The Movies exhibition, which culminates in a big Star Wars bash.

Over Saturday April 19 and Sunday April 20, there'll be visits from life-sized Stormtroopers and Clone Wars soldiers, as well as stars from the movies including Peter Mayhew, better known as Chewbacca.

Other costumed characters lurking in the wings will include Halo's Master Chief, Spider-Man, Batman, the Mighty Power Rangers and RoboCop.

In Liverpool, the 2008 European capital of culture, all you need is love. Hot on the heels of the opening of the Beatles-themed Hard Day's Night Hotel, there's suddenly even more Fab Four for your money.

The award-winning Beatles Story exhibition on the city's Albert Dock is doubling in size after acquiring the basement of the hotel next door. It's enabled owners to open up a whole new exhibition space, to be launched at Easter with a remarkable collection of photos taken on the group's first US tour. In addition, a retro-themed Starbucks coffee bar - the only one of its kind in the global chain - will be decked out in 1960s photos and art to add to the atmosphere.

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, watch out for Jaws!

Hull's remarkable underwater attraction The Deep - the most successful of all the Millennium projects - is getting ready to scare you silly - with lots of teeth.

New for this year is the first shark movie to be made in 4D.

Great Whites, Whale Sharks and Giant Hammerheads are brought to life using a mixture of 3D film-making and live special effects. It's the closest you'll get to the famous predator without getting wet (or bitten!).

At The Deep you can walk the ocean floor in one of the world's deepest viewing tunnels, and climb back from the depths in a glass lift in the middle of the tank. More than 40 sharks and over 3,500 fish are on hand and there's a Twilight Zone that is home to a giant Pacific Octopus, Giant Japanese Spider Crabs and other strange creatures.

It's movies of the past that will be helping attract visitors to the East Midlands. Inspired by the success of Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The Other Boleyn Girl, the region is turning back the clock.

Special itineraries will guide tourists round locations also made famous in the steamy Tudors TV series, which depicted a young Henry VIII as a lusty lover.

Highlights include Burghley House, which was used for the filming of Cate Blanchett's first royal outing, 1998's award-winning movie Elizabeth.

There's Hodsock Priory, which Henry visited in 1541, and Newstead Abbey, which was given by the king to John Byron - father of the poet - in 1540.

Haddon Hall holds one of Henry's own tapestries, there's Bosworth Battlefield where the Tudors came to power, and the magnificent Elizabethan Doddington Hall.

In the Peak District, they're telling the tale of Bess of Hardwick, the bold, beautiful and brilliant celebrity who became an icon of the Elizabethan age.

At the age of 14 she was married to a 12 year-old boy - the first of her four marriages - but she became one of the richest women of the age, amassing a fortune of pounds 60,000 - worth millions in today's terms.

This year sees the 400th anniversary of her death, and there's a trail visiting Chatsworth (she designed the original house), Hardwick Hall, Bolsover Castle and Derby Cathedral, where she was buried.

Not to be outdone, the Welsh are getting excited about Keira Knightley's forthcoming movie version of Dylan Thomas epic The Edge Of Love.

They believe that the film will help establish West Wales as a hot destination, with the emphasis on Thomas's hometown of Laugharne.

Boutique hotel Hurst House on the Marsh, part-owned by TV star Neil Morrissey (another celebrity link) has undergone a pounds 5 million refit, and now offers a gym, spa and luxury suites.

Meanwhile, costumes from ITV period drama Persuasion are on display at the the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, the town she made her home in the early 1800s.

BAFTA Award-winning designer Andrea Galer has brought her collection to the centre, including the outfits worn by Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot.

There are the creations worn by Lady Russell and the Musgrove sisters, alongside clothes worn by the stars of the 2000 version of Mansfield Park.

In the Lake District, they're still trading on Renee Zellwegger's big screen portrayal of Beatrix Potter, adding to the crowd-pulling appeal of her Hill Top home.

The World of Beatrix Potter, a family fun attraction at Bowness-on-Windermere featuring Peter Rabbit and pals, was visited by the Hollywood star while she was researching her role.

Whatever your taste, there's something for you.

TRAVEL FILE

James Bond www.london.iwm.org.uk

0207 416 5320

Dr Who www.eco.co.uk

0207 385 1200

Star Wars www.spaceport.org.uk

0151 330 1333

The Beatles www.beatlesstory.com

0151 708 0039

Jaws www.thedeep.co.uk

01482 381000

Bess of Hardwick www.bessofhardwick.co.uk

01522 561671

Dylan Thomas www.hurst-house.co.uk

01994 427417

Jane Austen www.janeausten.co.uk

01225 443000

l Beatrix Potter www.hop-skip-jump.com

01539 488444

paulcole@mrn.co.uk

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STAR ATTRACTIONS: James Bond, Doctor Who, The Beatles and Jane Austen
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 16, 2008
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