Doctor Who exhibitions are
nothing new. The first one was set up in 1973 at Longleat in Wiltshire,
and for most of the past 40 years there’s been a display somewhere of
props, sets and monsters from the show, delighting children and making
adults feel like kids again. All marvelous, of course, but here’s
something new: never before in Doctor Who‘s 50-year history has it been
possible for fans to visit not only a brilliant exhibition, but also to
step through the actual doors of the “real” TARDIS – as seen on TV!
BBC
Worldwide
have now revealed the masterplan they had in mind when the
Doctor Who Experience was set up in Cardiff Bay last year, next to the
BBC Roath Lock Studios where the show is filmed. From the big blue DWE
building, it’s just a leisurely 5 minute stroll to the security gate
that allows backstage access to the studio complex. Accompanied by a BBC
guide, tour groups will be able to pass through the gate and find
themselves in Studio 4, home of the TARDIS.
As always with
the TARDIS, there are monsters outside. Currently, the set is guarded by
a bronze Dalek and Weeping Angel. Incongruously, there’s a seating area
of comfy chairs borrowed from various BBC living room sets, where
visitors can wait their turn to enter the TARDIS. There’s also a TV
showing (what else?) Doctor Who. Guests enter the TARDIS in small
groups, not because the set is small (it’s huge!) but because keeping
the set uncrowded offers the best viewing and photo experience.
The moment when the BBC guide opens those blue doors has to be one of the biggest thrills a Who fan could ever have.

And
then you’re there: on the high platform next to the central console,
with the time rotor and domed ceiling high above you, and the floor way
below in shadow. As we know from TV, this is a 360-degree set – there’s
no “missing” wall where the camera peeks in. You’re completely in the
TARDIS. Lights flash, screens flicker their timey-wimey patterns. The
clever boys and girls of the BBC crew can even play the
dematerialisation sound effects over hidden speakers, as they did when
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited recently. Fantastic! 
Honestly,
I wasn’t sure about this new TARDIS when I saw it on TV. Too grey, I
thought, and that side console looks more Star Wars than Doctor Who
But, standing on the set, I love it. It’s kept many of the best elements
of the “coral” and “steampunk” TARDISes, and has loads of nods to the
“classic” era too. Most importantly, it’s the TARDIS. Like the Doctor is
the Doctor. And anyway, if you prefer one of the other sets, they’re
all next door in the Doctor Who Experience.


The
BBC’s current plan is to keep Roath Lock Studio 4 open to DWE visitors
through Aug 25. The studio tours will be available as another add-on to the
regular DWE package, like the recently-introduced walking tour of Doctor
Who
locations in Cardiff Bay. The Doctor Who Experience really is the
ultimate day out for fans in the show’s anniversary year. Come to
Cardiff Bay for your adventure in space and time!

BLOGTOR RATING 10/10

Thanks to BBC Worldwide

4 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely no way I can afford it. Hugely disappointed, obviously. But bravo to DWE for making this opportunity available to the fans. Let's hope it becomes a regular summer thing; maybe I could afford to go down The Bay next year.

  2. Seems fantastic, I'm going soon, can't wait. How many people are on the TARDIS at one time? Also, is it easy to get a photo of you on the TARDIS without people in the background?

    Thanks

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