Over the last year our eldest has become a big fan of Doctor Who. So on their recent trip back to the UK I thought it would be fun to visit the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff. (The spiritual home of the Current, revived series)
She had no idea where we were taking her but as soon as she spotted the familiar shape of the Tardis in the distance she became very excited indeed.
Once inside she was thrilled to see actual Daleks and other props from the new adventures. As was our youngest even though she had no idea who Doctor Who was. The tour is every 30 minutes and as we walked through the entrance one tour was just beginning. We could have rushed to join them but decided to take our time so the girls could enjoy looking at the things on display around the reception and café area.
30 minutes soon passed and before you could shake a sonic screwdriver at a passing Zygon we were on our way inside. The experience itself is more than just a wander around some old props. As soon as the doors open you are greeted by a Gallifreyan guide and shown a film that gives a brief history of the Doctor (This is presented by Romana one of the Doctors companions and also a Time Lord)
At the end of the film the Doctor himself makes an appearance and asks for help averting some kind of crisis. From this point you are guided on an interactive journey through certain locations through the Doctors history. Including the Dalek asylum (with moving, talking Daleks) and a forest filled with Weeping Angels. Boog was convinced that there were fewer people came out of the forest than went in. A child’s imagination is a wondrous thing, or maybe she wasn’t imagining at all!?!?!?!
There’s even a chance to help pilot the Tardis which all the children on the tour (and most of the adults I would say) really enjoyed.
Throughout the journey the Doctor kept popping up on screens here and there to remind us of the urgency of things.
Once the experience was over we were then allowed to spend as long as wanted in the exhibition all. Here you can see props from adventures both new and old. Including a display of all the different types of Daleks and Cybermen.
There’s even an area where you can learn to walk like a Cyberman and Scarecrow. Something that both girls love doing. Boog later showed off the walking styles to my sisters when we travelled to Yorkshire the following week.
The only downside of the whole thing was the gift shop. We thought that it was very understocked to say that it’s the official shop. There wasn’t a very large selection of toys for the girls to choose from. But they still managed to find something they wanted.
Boog decided on a Mark IV Sonic Screwdriver (as used by the 8th Doctor) to go with her Mark VII (used by the 11th Doctor) and little Cheeky decided upon a small motorised Dalek. It’s so cute watching a 2-year-old walk around saying EXTERMINATE!
We also purchased a special childs gift pack when we got the tickets. This included a few goodies including a Doctor Who Experience t-shirt. Boog was very happy to get a goody bag.
All in all a good day was had for the entire family. And I must say, being a Doctor Who fan from when I was a child, it was a great, nostalgic experience for me as well. Were all Doctor Who fans in our family and it makes me proud that little Cheeky has joined in the fun as well.
Doctor Who Fun Facts
In the first episode of season 1 the Doctor (William Hartnell) meets up with his granddaughters teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. These 2 become (along with Susan, the granddaughter) the first companions and stay with the Doctor until the season 1 story The Chase. Jacqueline Hill who played Barbara would later play the main villain in the season 18 story Meglos. William Russell, who played Ian Chesterton, can be spotted playing the 8th Kryptonian elder during an early scene in Superman (1978)
When introduced, the Mark I Sonic Screwdriver was just that, a screwdriver. That used sonic technology.
The second adventure of the 1st Doctor saw the introduction of his greatest enemy. The legendary Daleks.
In season 3 there is an episode called Mission to the Unknown. This is the only episode ever made that doesn’t actually feature the Doctor or any of his companions. It did however serve to set up the story The Daleks Master Plan.
Season 4 saw the introduction of the 2nd Doctor played by Patrick Troughton. But that story is unfortunately lost due to the BBC’s junking policy, which saw many early episodes erased for ever.
This season also introduced the companion Jamie McCrimmon, who became the longest serving companion in the series history. Played by Frazer Hines who later became a long serving member of the Emmerdale cast.
Season 7 introduced Doctor Number 3 (Jon Pertwee) and was also the first to be filmed in colour.
The first adventure of this season introduced, not only the 3rd Doctor but also the Autons / Nestene Consiousness. They were also in the first story of the 8th season which also featured the introduction of the Master. The Autons next featured in the first adventure of the revived series featuring the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston).
Season 8 introduced the companion Jo Grant played by Katy Manning. She would later make an appearance in Girl Illustrated posing nude with a Dalek. She later stated that the spread, ‘went over like a cup of cold sick.’ When Jon Pertwee was told of this magazine appearance he simply said, ‘Typical Katy.’
To this day, Doctor number 4 (Tom Baker) is still the longest-serving Doctor.
I could go on but that’s enough for now.
Till next time…… (cue Tardis sound effect)