An era in the world of Doctor Who is truly coming to an end.
I’m not talking about the departure of the show’s lead actor Peter Capaldi, or the series showrunner Steven Moffat, but the closure of the Doctor Who Experience exhibition, of which has resided by the BBC’s Roath Lock studios for the last five years.
As much a fan of the show as I am I had never quite got around to visiting the Experience until today (although I had visited a previous exhibition situated in the Red Dragon Centre by the Millennium Centre on several earlier occasions).
As my three children and I queued to get into the dome like centre (booking tickets is strongly advised) we all discussed what we may or may not see on display. A programme with a fifty year plus history, we have all formed our own opinions on what we love about Doctor Who and I hoped this exhibition would please all of us in some way.
The tour begins with an invite for visitors to visit the planet of the Time Lords, Galifrey’s Museum and take part in an interactive adventure with The Doctor (featuring Peter Capaldi via video).
A brief introduction to Galifrey is interrupted by the arrival of the Doctor’s TARDIS and a subsequent attack from tentacled aliens known as Crinis. Enlisting the help of a tour guide dressed as a Time Lord and exhibition visitors, The Doctor invites us to pilot the TARDIS through space to locate three crystals which will help reset balance in the universe.
The adventure, isbrief but fun with appearances from The Daleks and Weeping Angels before a 3D experience winds the story up to allow visitors to see many props and costumes from the shows fifty plus year history.
Replica TARDIS sets including one used in the 2013 drama An Adventure In Space and Time (which featured David Bradley as the first Doctor, William Hartnell) help represent the shows early history, as does the inclusion of the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee’s Edwardian roadster Bessie, Yeti, Sontaran’s and varying versions of Daleks, Cybermen and all The Doctor’s costumes from Tom Baker’s multi-coloured scarf to Peter Davison’s stick of celery.
There is much to appreciate for the new generation fans too. My daughter was particularly pleased to see the console room for “her Doctor” Christopher Eccleston and costumes worn by Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) and Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald), while my youngest son thrilled at seeing monsters from the most recent Doctor Who series including Ice Warriors and the Mondasian Cybermen.
My oldest son, although not a knocked out Whovian, still appreciated the technicalities of how costumes and gadgets were put together and soon got caught up in his father’s excitement of seeing monsters from my own childhood including the Giant Robot K1, Morbius, Zygon’s and Yeti.
The Doctor Who Experience will close its doors on September 9 before dematerialising for the very last time, if you love Doctor Who – don’t miss it!