In anticipation of the Rise of the Twelfth, the Doctor Who Experience has announced a closure from 1st September for about six weeks until the beginning of the school holidays at the end of October. Which means there’s not much time to actually experience the Doctor Who Experience as it currently stands, before it’s updated to include the Twelfth Doctor and Series 8 items of display.
The Doctor Who Experience should be compulsory visiting for all Whovians. Though the show’s produced at Roath Lock Studios, the show’s cultural significance is stored at the Experience. The Celebration was just a weekend, whereas the Experience is always there. If you missed the Celebration, the Experience is the next best thing.
It’s really divided in two. After the Experience, there’s an exhibition, which holds its own surprises for you to discover (see if you can name each artefact’s story), but the actual Experience is the main part, and is the single place that combines physical space and artistic design to create a place which contains the single, umbrella answer to the question of why I’m a fan.
The reason I’ve always loved Doctor Who is because it’s entertainment. And entertainment is about taking you into new worlds and fantastic stories. Many episodes have done this. The episode that triggered the strongest reaction from me is The Day Of The Doctor, which many fans at the Celebration chose to experience on a big screen in 3D. That’s the most immersing version of an episode yet. And the Experience is like that, but better. This time, you’re in it. You experience the adventure. After a short video presentation, Series 5’s Time Fields become the cleverest use of a plot device yet: it brings you into the Doctor’s world, and you begin. Of course, what kind of a fan would I be if I revealed everything? Do you fly the TARDIS? Do you meet the Daleks? How exactly are you taken on an adventure with the Doctor without actually going anywhere? Let’s just say it’s a bit like virtual reality, especially the highlight of it all involving some tremendous visual effects. The whole thing is a magnificent tour-de-force of deception with a storyline that makes you wish the BBC had the budget to produce themselves. I went round again.
Doctor Who feels so accessible to me because of its format. By entering the TARDIS, you can be taken away to see the awesomeness of the Universe. When I watch the show, I forget I’m here and don’t know where I am (most of the time). The Doctor Who Experience did all of that, but even more realistically than ever before. For just once, I got to enter an episode and assist the Doctor.
And, of course, his next incarnation will soon be calling me. And I shall be there to answer his call.
On a Cartesian coordinate system, the Doctor Who Experience, during the entirety of my first time, is represented by 00000. The show’s format had transcended itself to become almost real for just that moment in time. The lines between reality and fiction became broken down, and the climax almost literally does send you into a parallel universe. It’s more real than the show will ever be, and it’s mandatory that you understand that by going there yourself. Because that story’s about to change. Soon, there’ll be something new to experience. And I’ll be there. But if you don’t see the first one, you’ll be missing the chance to be in an episode you might not even see again. And you wouldn’t want to create your own, personal missing episode, do you?
People say to me, “What’s your favourite episode?”. Well, actually they don’t. Never have. But if they did, I’d say this one. The one you’re reading about right now. But it’s very unique in that you can only see it in Cardiff.
Look, it’s a magical place far away where Doctor Who is real, okay! What else do I need to do to convince you? A place like that could potentially be the most wonderful in the world, and it certainly is for me. And if it’s going to be updated, I may as well go along. The Doctor’s like my elderly-est relative. Every now and again, it’s good to visit him and see how he’s doing. Does he still have the same body? And what kind of trouble has he got himself into now?
It comes as a rather round-about way of saying it, but just go to the Doctor Who Experience cause you won’t regret it. Ever.