I have wanted to visit the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff for a long time. I am quite a fan. I can remember when I first moved to New Zealand in my first term at high school there in 1988, we were asked what our favourite TV program was. I replied Doctor Who. I think everyone must have thought I was a bit odd saying that as nobody else seemed to know or care about the show. Never mind. Not quite fitting in was my speciality.
I was delighted when the show was revived, apart from the fact that they scheduled it for when we were getting the kids ready for bed. We missed most of the first series, but were smart enough to record series 2, 3 and 4. Since series 5 with a combination of juggling bedtimes according to the ever-changing schedules and catch-up on iPlayer we have managed to keep up with it – apart from the occasional miss. We just realised today that Mr PC has never seen the Vampires in Venice episode or Let’s Kill Hitler.
This summer was our last chance to visit The Doctor Who Experience as it will close on 9 September. We booked the tickets and planned the day out. And we made it! That deserved the exclamation mark, as Master 9 has not been eating well for the last few days, and informed us this morning that he did not feel at all well. In the end we bundled him in the car for the two hour drive, having decided that if he felt worse on the way we would come home, but if he felt better we would continue. That was a good decision. He was bright as a button for the rest of the day.
We had a bit of a miracle with parking as well. There is a little pay and display car park right near the entrance to the site. When we arrived there were four spaces and we drove straight into one of them. By the time we had got out of the car and walked to the ticket machine there were no spaces left. And the ticket machine was broken, so we parked for free.
For the start of the experience, we were taken on an adventure in time and space, through some locations that are very familiar to anyone who has watched the show, especially anyone who has watched from the very first show back in 1963. That was a great introduction, then it was on to the museum part.
I loved looking at all the costumes and props. It is fascinating to see them up close in real life, and notice how they are different to how you expect. I thought the face of Boe would be bigger, Miss 14 thought he would be smaller. I absolutely loved that red velvet jacket that the twelfth doctor wears, and was a bit disappointed that he wore it in the episode that lasted (for him) four and a half billion years because I assumed that you might get a bit fed up of anything you had worn for four and a half billion years and never wear it again. In real life? Nah. Perhaps it needs Peter Capaldi wearing it to bring it alive. Clara’s clothes though, I love all of her wardrobe and would wear any of it any day (perhaps saving the Victorian outfit for special occasions).
Another thing that was great was seeing the different incarnations of the Tardis. I did enjoy taking a close look at the consoles and seeing how they changed, although I am not quite enough of a fan to match each console with its relevant doctor.
This is the one I love the best:
After we had filled a goodly while looking at sonic screwdrivers and Cybermen, Oods and Sontarans, Silence and Daleks we went through to the gift shop. Sadly this was where it really became obvious they are winding down. Do you know what I might have bought if they had had any? Replica sonic screwdrivers, notebooks which look like River Song’s diary, a necklace with a Tardis key on it (Tom Baker version, please), a tardis moneybox, in fact a tardis anything-box. They had t-shirts and posters but not a lot else. The shelves were quite bare, which is a little disappointing when there is so much merchandise out there. I have downloaded a knitting pattern for tardis socks so I will go and buy myself some blue wool and knit them instead.
Overall it was a great morning out. The location is super too. Cardiff seems to be a really nice city. It was probably good that we got to see it in the sunshine, but we have left with a really great impression, and we will have to go back and see more of the place some time soon!