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World premiere exhibition, Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You, opening at Science and Industry Museum this week

Stars of children's TV take the first look inside world premiere exhibition, Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You, opening at the Science and Industry Museum this week.

Three doctors stood in a giant mouth Science Museum Group © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

New images released today unveil the wonderfully weird, gloriously gross and epically entertaining journey inside a new world-first exhibition. 

Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You opens at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester on Friday (21 July). From incisors to intestines, the extraordinary images give a first look inside the outrageous adventure, which embraces silliness in the name of science as visitors are shrunk, swallowed, squeezed through and spat out a giant digestive system.

A giant mouth on display in bright red room Science Museum Group © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

This is the first time hit BBC Children's TV show, Operation Ouch!, has been brought to life as an exhibition. Stars of the show, Dr Chris, Dr Xand and Dr Ronx, became the first visitors to experience the voyage when they visited the museum this week.

Renowned for their ability to engage, educate and entertain young viewers by conducting outrageous experiments, the trio have provided unique inspiration for the exhibition. They fully immersed themselves in the lively, interactive and playful adventure, taking part in key highlight experiences, including: 

  • The Big Flush, a once-in-a-lifetime experience of travelling like a poo and being flushed down a giant toilet. Put on a ‘poo hat’ before passing through the pan!
  • Journeying through a super-sized set of interactive teeth. 
  • Taking part in the world’s only interactive 'pooduction' line—'make' a poo and discover how our bodies absorb nutrients and expel waste.
  • The doctors' elusive 'cupboard of everything' and interactive lab, brought to life from the screen for the first time.
  • Meeting Larry the Vomiting Robot, designed to help scientists understand how far sick splatters (and how norovirus particles are distributed), on display for the first time as part of an exhibition, along with fascinating objects from the Science Museum Group's collection.
  • New stories from young people living with a range of digestive conditions, along with the modern-day medicine helping to treat them.
  • A specially designed soundscape heightening the feeling of being immersed inside the human body. 
A bright yellow exhibition space at a museum Science Museum Group © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

The rib-tickling exhibition goes under the skin to explore the science inside our bodies. From tongue to bum, it investigates some of our funniest functions and uncovers the job of each digestive organ in helping to keep us healthy, breaking the taboo around poo by proving it's helpful to understand and discuss how our bodies work.

It includes plenty of opportunities for play but is underpinned throughout by solid science that aims to empower visitors to understand more about the inner workings of their own bodies and the role of science in supporting digestive health.

A mock up of a science lab inside a museum exhibition Science Museum Group © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

 Steven Leech, Curator of Exhibitions at the Science and Industry Museum, says:

'We're smashing taboos with this exhibition, proving that it's not only fun to talk about everything from burps to belly rumbles and projectile vomit to poo, it's essential in understanding and maintaining a healthy relationship with our bodies. 

'It's a truly spectacular show of super-sized science and one that we hope will leave people feeling entertained, empowered, and impressed with their grossness!'

Drs Chris and Xand say:

'This exhibition is our most epic experiment yet! Find out how your food gets mashed, pulped, squeezed and absorbed, and soak up the sights, sounds and even the smells of your incredible digestive system!

'Our bodies are amazing, and one of the first questions kids often ask is the biology of how we put food in and something else comes out! If we can understand that process, we've learned something that's fundamentally important to life. So, as well as being brilliantly entertaining and of course absolutely disgusting, this exhibition is full of really amazing and essential science.'

Dr Ronx says:

'Whoooo, poo is my absolute favourite subject, and to be honest the only way to teach you about the digestive system is to make you part of it! 

'Like everything with the human body, digestion can be tricky to understand or talk about. This exhibition breaks it all down into digestible chunks! From your mouth to your bum and everything in between, it activates all your senses and doesn't shy away from anything! It's an awesome journey that will leave you a mixture of epically entertained, grossed out and fully fascinated by poo!'

Director of BBC Children's & Education, Patricia Hidalgo, says:

'We know that there is nothing more engaging than a real-life experience. That's why we want to bring our BBC Children's much-loved TV brands into the real world, to deliver unforgettable experiences that educate and entertain young brilliant minds.'

The exhibition is supported by Principal Sponsor, Andrex. Matt Stone, UK and Ireland marketing director of parent company Kimberly-Clark, said:

'We're really proud to be sponsoring the Operation Ouch! exhibition. It's a fantastic, hands-on and fun way for families to really understand what's happening inside their bodies and what comes out. The more knowledge kids have and the more comfortable they are with the topic, the better the choices they can make when it comes to their health and hygiene.'

The exhibition has been developed by the Science and Industry Museum and produced in collaboration with BBC and 141 Productions, part of All3Media's Objective Media Group. 

It has inspired a summer-long programme of family fun. From 22 July – 3 September, visitors can discover more about our brilliant bodies by bringing a fluffy friend to the museum's Teddy Hospital. The new 'departments' of Heads, Hearts, Bones and Bottoms will be set up around the museum, demonstrating more ways to keep whole bodies healthy. The museum's expert Explainers will also premiere a new interactive science show packed full of fun facts and wow moments about how our bodies work.  

Tickets for Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You are available to book on www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/operation-ouch, 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.

A series of special 'Experitots' sessions, designed for children aged 0–4, will run in the exhibition, as will relaxed sessions adapted for visitors who prefer an adjusted environment, such as reduced capacity and sound levels. Tickets for both are also available.

The museum and BBC have also partnered to bring a retail range of interactive, informative and entertaining Operation Ouch!-themed toys, games, kits and experiments to help visitors continue to explore our brilliant bodies at home.

Exhibition credits

Exhibition and lighting design: Sarner International
Exhibition fitout: Factory Settings
Audio production: Coda to Coda
Graphic production: Omni Colour
Illustration production: Hamyard
Interactives: Ensee and Science Projects

The exhibition will open at an exciting time in the development of the Science and Industry Museum, as it continues to undergo a multi-million-pound regeneration project that will see brand new spaces opened and significant improvements made to some of its best-loved galleries. Although this means some areas will remain temporarily closed, there is still plenty to do, see and enjoy as visitors explore 250 years of innovations and ideas that change the world. 

-ENDS-  

For more information, please contact communications manager, Alex Urmston, on 07741 103 790/alex.urmston@scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk

Notes to editors

ABOUT THE SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY MUSEUM  

The Science and Industry Museum tells the story of where science met industry and the modern world began. Manchester was one of the first global industrial cities, and its epic rise, decline and resurrection has been echoed in countless other cities around the world.   

The museum's mission is to inspire all its visitors, including future scientists and inventors, with the story of how ideas can change the world, from the industrial revolution to today and beyond.   

The Science and Industry Museum site is on the site of the Liverpool Road Station terminus of the Liverpool Manchester Railway, the world's first purpose-built passenger railway. Among its internationally significant buildings are the world's first passenger railway station and the oldest existing railway goods warehouse. In total there are two Grade I listed buildings and four Grade II listed buildings on the site.  

The museum is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound regeneration project that will see brand new spaces opened and significant improvements made to some of its best-loved galleries.  

The Science and Industry Museum is part of the Science Museum Group, a family of museums which also includes the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon; and the Science and Media Museum in Bradford. The Science Museum Group is devoted to the history and contemporary practice of science, medicine, technology, industry and media. With five million visitors each year and an unrivalled collection, it is the most significant group of museums of science and innovation worldwide.

About the Andrex® Brand 

Andrex®, one of the UK's most recognisable and celebrated brands, launched in 1942. We have been the nation's favourite toilet tissue ever since. UK households use over 8 million miles worth of Andrex® every year. 

Andrex® created the UK moist toilet tissue category in 1992. 

The brand name of moist toilet tissue, Andrex® Washlets®, was created in 2012, and the brand has been number one in the category ever since. Three million households buy Andrex Washlets per year. For more information on Andrex visit Andrex.co.uk.