Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Doctor Who Experience - July 2016

Alongside our amazing visit to the TARDIS set, we also enjoyed an afternoon at the Doctor Who Experience, a semi-permanent Doctor Who exhibition and museum which is sited pretty much next door to the BBC's Roath Lock Studios ...

The Experience is part-interactive and part-walk-around-museum, and it's built on previous exhibitions such that it is now very impressive, and very well done indeed! I remember the early days of Blackpool and Longleat where the best you got was a video of Tom Baker wishing you well! But these days it's all dry ice and 3D video as you are walked through and immersed in your very own adventure.

I won't say too much lest it spoil it for future visitors, but it's all about an invasion by something called the Crinis, and the 12th Doctor is there on the screen, talking to your guide, and helping you through the various challenges you face. Are there Daleks? Of course there are!  Are there Weeping Angels? You betcha! But you come through (mostly) unscathed and enter the main exhibition through a nice pair of junkyard doors with the name I M Foreman written on ...

An Ice Warrior in the entrance foyer
There is so much in the exhibition, that the best way to explain it is just to show all the pictures I took! There are Daleks and Cybermen, Sontarans and Zygons, Doctor and Companion costumes galore, and four (count them!) FOUR TARDIS control rooms: We have the one from the Mark Gatiss Docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time from 2013, which replicates the William Hartnell console (which was used up until 'The Two Doctors'); then there's the Davison model (used from 'The Five Doctors' until the end of the Classic series in 1989); and finally the Eccleston/Tennant 'coral' model. Opened since we visited (we missed it by a day!) is yet another console, this time a sort of reimagined Pertwee/T Baker model.

Overall everything is really nicely displayed, with one or two larger props present as well as the costumes. The Experience focuses on the current series, so there's lots of Clara's outfits, and items from many of the most recent episodes, like the Mire, Me's outfits, Costumes and props from the 'Under the Lake' and 'Sleep No More' episodes, plus the hooded creature (the Veil) and teleport booth from 'Heaven Sent' ... overall an excellent set of artefacts which covers probably as much of the series as it can.

The K1 Robot
It was very nice to see some earlier costumes there, which have been repaired, reconstructed and refurbished by Mike Tucker and his team at the The Model Unit ... especially the magnificent K1 Robot from 'Robot' and a Zygon from 'Terror of the Zygons' ... not to mention a Tetrap from 'Time and the Rani' and Omega from 'Arc of Infinity' ... There's not that much that exists from earlier adventures (there's a lovely Yeti from 'The Web of Fear') and what does exist tends to be in private hands ... indeed, several of the items on display are noted as coming from private collections, so it's to be applauded that those who own these pieces have allowed them to be displayed and appreciated by everyone!

On our visit to the Experience, we were in very good company. Frazer Hines, who played Jamie McCrimmon alongside the second Doctor, was with us, and also Paul McGann, the eighth Doctor, popped down to Cardiff to join us on our day out. So we battled the Crinis with them, and then wandered the Exhibition, cooing at all the marvellous items on display.  As I said to Paul and Frazer though, what was needed was more Jamie and more eighth Doctor items ... unfortunately there just aren't many of them around to display!

Paul McGann and Frazer Hines
Because we had these two gentlemen with us, the staff were very kind and allowed us to take some pics on the sets themselves - these are roped off to protect the fragile consoles and, indeed, Bessie the yellow roadster, and visitors are not permitted to get too close to them. We were very careful however, and under the watchful eyes of the Curator and staff the whole time ... otherwise who knows where Paul might have navigated the console to!  So if you go to the Experience yourself (and I heartily recommend you do!) then please don't try and pass the barriers yourself, lest you feel the long arm of the security staff on your collar!

We had a simply marvellous time, and even managed to buy some interesting things in the shop at the end (I love a little shop!).

So thanks to the Curator and staff at the Experience for a truly out of this world experience ... and to my fellow travellers: Sam Stone, Amy Windham, Howard Hayes, Ken Deep, James Naughton, Frazer Hines and Paul McGann ... And we hope readers head over to Cardiff to have your very own Doctor Who Experience!

And now ... the pictures ... And for reasons best known to itself, Blogger has put them all in reverse order! And they are all of course (c) me so no pinching!

A Lego Dalek!

A happy group of time travellers ... Don't touch that switch Frazer!
Paul and Frazer clown about in Bessie

Sam and Paul ... Travellers in Time!

But which box?

A Doctor will teleport in momentarily ...

The Doctor's Confession Dial

Something very strange about the face of this
new series Zygon.

A Doctor skull

The Veil ,,, coming for you

Eye-sand monster

The Dalek in which Clara was installed

Amy Pond's collection of dolls

This is my moment ...

Tellytubby Dalek


Superb recreation of an original Zygon


The Special Weapons Dalek


Original sixties Yeti, complete with ball

Original Ice Warrior

'The Two Doctors' style Sontaran

Davros as the Emperor Dalek


The Face of Boe

Just hanging around

Outfits for the Paternoster Gang

The Doctor's crib

I didn't remember this thing from the show but
apparently it was there!

Beautiful original console

Three TARDISes together ,,,

Five Doctors console

Coral console

A display of the Radiophonic Workshop's work on the show.

Three Daleks

A Menoptra from 'An Adventure in Space and Time'

'Five Doctors' console



Entering the exhibition

Don't Blink!

A Weeping Angel in the foyer

A Smiler booth in the Cafe area

Artwork in the cafe area

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