Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Doctor Who Experience - Is It Any Good?

It's now late in the evening on Sunday March 6th, it's been a couple of days since I walked round 'The Doctor Who Experience' so now the initial 'WOW' factor has worn off it's time to have a look back over the experience as a whole and give my thoughts, and don't worry I won't spoil the interactive element if you haven't been yet. 

I've been to a three of the previous Doctor Who Exhibitions (Cardiff, London and Newcastle). My personal favourite was the one held at Earls Court, most likely because it was my first and it just seemed bigger than the others, as such I was intrigued to see how the new 'Experience' would differ from what had come before. 

So, to begin. Tickets..... There were three options. Standard, Silver and Gold. I'd gone for the Gold option (hey, why not!!). 

On arrival to 'The Experience' you get the lift up to the second floor, you can tell it's still fairly new as the staff seemed confused by what a gold ticket did, but I wasn't overly worried by this minor glitch....... 

The 'Experience' itself is split into two sections, the 'interactive adventure' and the exhibition. So not to spoil the adventure part for anyone who's not been I won't say too much about it. However what I will say is that it works, there is a good mix of action and fun as well as fear. If I was 12 again I'd be raving about it. 

The effects are really good and it's pitched well, the only downside with the adventure part was that it was all over a little too quickly, but that's not really a downside is it? 

Matt Smith and Tardis
Once the adventure ends it leads into the exhibition. The first item you encounter is the Pandorica from the end of season 5. It's really impressive up close! 

The exhibition then leads to a life-sized statue of the 11th Doctor standing in front of his Tardis, surrounding it are the costumes of the previous 10 Doctor's. It's a really awesome sight to see, almost 50 years and 11 versions of the same character in the same room. 

Following on from the costumes are the Screwdrivers and Tardis Keys as well as few props from the more recent series including the 'wing mirror, invisible monster seeing device thingy' from Vincent and The Doctor. 

Moving round there is then a Cyberman and Cybercontroller, a great place for a photo op! However, there is a far bigger distraction to draw the eye, the complete Tardis interior used by the 9th and 10th Doctors. 

The Tardis. My Tardis!
It's a really awe inspiring sight and you're able to get really close to the whole thing, it's almost like being on the actual Tardis and, for me, it's was quite an emotional experience. The only thing that took away from it for me was that 10's Regeneration sequence plays on a loop in the background. Personally I'd prefer it if there was a bit of a gap and the Doctors theme played as backing music instead (a suggestion I've made to the curator). 

After being dragged away from the Tardis interior we then got to see costumes from the Master, Timelords and all the recent companions, a real good selection of things to see! 

This then leads onto another Tardis set, this time from Peter Davison’s Era and next to that is the Tardis from Tom Bakers day. 

Following on from the costumes and Tardises, Tardi..... (Erm, what is the plural for Tardis??) come the monsters, more specifically, Daleks. Davros is first, accompanied by the Dalek version of 'Who do you think you are' starting with the 60's Dalek up to the modern day 'LGBT' Dalek. 

After the Daleks is then a selection of both classic and new series monsters. In addition to the monsters there are also a couple of interactive areas, one of which teaches you how to walk like a scarecrow from Human Nature/Family of Blood which was kinda cool. 

Designers Area
In the same area as the monsters is also a mock up of the design offices as well as the mock up sculpts of the Ood heads. 

The final part of the exhibition is the little shop (love a little shop!). The downside to this shop though it is a tad on the expensive side, £55 for a Who season on DVD is a bit much in my opinion......... there is a good selection of stuff though. 

As for the tickets that I mentioned at the beginning, if you haven't been yet I'd recommend just going for the standard pass, the gold does get you a programme (that separately is £10) and a limited edition print but I'm not convinced it's worth the extra. 

Overall, the new 'Doctor Who Experience' is well worth a visit. The exhibition part isn't as big as some of the previous ones but it is very well done and has some elements that should not be missed (Tardis interior!!!). 

The staff are really nice and enjoy being there and are more than happy to chat about the exhibit. While in the coffee shop we had the curator pull up a chair and ask us what we thought would make it better! 

One tip, avoid weekends or school holidays like the plague!! When I went there were only about 12 people in there so you could spend lots of time looking at everything and not feel crowded or rushed. 

I'll be going again for definite.