I first visited the Doctor Who experience when it was a temporary thing at Earl’s Court in London, back in 2011. As I was in Cardiff recently, it would have seemed wrong (as a huge Who fan) not to visit. I was also intrigued to see how the ‘interactive adventure’ part had changed (the 2011 version being based around Matt Smith’s Doctor, whereas Peter Capaldi now has the starring role).
Before I even set off, I noticed that someone had been quite clever with Google maps:
You can’t miss the big TARDIS-blue building at Cardiff Bay, but in case you have any problems, there are a couple of hints en route:
The first part of the Experience is the ‘Interactive Adventure’ (where you’re not allowed to take photos). I won’t go into too many details, as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for people who plan to visit, but there are a couple of points to comment on:
- The adventure starts at the Gallifrey Museum and my jaw dropped when I heard who the introductory narration had been recorded by. None other than Lalla Ward’s Romana (mk 2), companion to the fourth Doctor. Fans of the new series only will probably not have noticed that one.
- The adventure cunningly uses an attack on the TARDIS to keep resetting the console room, which not only gives the adventures the sight of Capaldi’s Doctor in ‘classic’ console rooms, but excuses the re-use of the especially constructed (first) version of Matt Smith’s console room
The adventure is a lot of fun – it’s obviously aimed primarily at children, but there’s enough to keep adults entertained too.
From the adventure, the exhibition part starts on the ground floor with a reconstruction of the Radiophonic Workshop studio (where the theme and other sound effects, such as the TARDIS de-materialisation sound) were created, as well as multiple versions of the exterior of the TARDIS and console rooms from different eras:
I did wish they’d worked out how to include the first Matt Smith console as well.
There was also the Third and Fourth Doctor’s beloved Bessie:
The rest of the exhibition continues upstairs and includes a selection of costumes and props from the classic and (more so) modern versions of the show, such as costumes for the 13 (so far) Doctors:
And other assorted aliens from the show:
All in all, this was a fantastic experience for anyone who is even halfway a fan of the show…