The Doctor Who Experience is now open in its new home, next to the BBC Roath Lock drama studios in Cardiff Bay. Fittingly, three young fans – dressed as the Doctor, Amy Pond, and a blue Dalek – cut the red ribbon to welcome the first visitors into the new purpose-built venue. Monsters menaced the hundreds of people queuing throughout the afternoon to see the re-located show.
Essentially it’s a re-creation of the successful London exhibition, but with several important differences. Firstly, the venue is much bigger than the Olympia site. This has allowed the designers to rearrange the exhibits in a more sensible way. The larger sets – particularly the various TARDIS interiors – no longer feel crammed-in. And the height of the building has allowed for two floors, meaning visitors can look down on the TARDISes from the stairs.
The walk-through “Experience” is almost identical to the version I saw in May 2011, although the opening sequence has been updated and one of the “locations” was much creepier due to improved design (I won’t say which because, spoilers!). I went through twice today, once with the press pack and once with paying punters, and both times the audience reactions were hugely positive, especially from younger fans.
But I think the most important difference from the London show is, the Doctor Who Experience has come home.
Since 2005 Doctor Who has been made in Cardiff, and the city has been fused into the mythology of the show. So your “experience” begins from the moment you arrive in Cardiff Bay, walk over the Time Rift under the Oval Basin, past the Torchwood water tower and the “shrine” to Ianto Jones on the Mermaid Quay boardwalk. The Doctor once dined with a Slitheen here, and Amy and Rory live just a few minutes’ walk away. At least half a dozen Doctor Who or Torchwood episodes have filmed at locations a few metres away from the new Experience building.
It’s quite right that this new big blue box has materialised in Cardiff Bay.
Thanks to BBC Worldwide
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