The Doctor Who Experience has had a makeover. After its time in London it moved down to the show’s new home in Cardiff with the same interactive adventure for Matt Smith’s Doctor; now, to mark the arrival of Peter Capaldi, it’s been revamped. A lot.
The first thing you notice is that the people assisting you around are actually part of the story: you start in the Gallifrey Museum, where a very familiar voice (courtesy of Lalla Ward) explains that the last survivor of the planet is the Doctor – which is the cue for a shoot-through the Doctor’s timeline, with footage from the show’s entire 51 years (including Listen). But then you get in touch with the Doctor… and the adventure begins in earnest.
There’s no way I’m going to spoil that for you, but suffice it to say that Joseph Lidster has upped the game considerably. The guides interact with the Doctor, there are familiar locations from before which have had massive makeovers (and the return of the proper Daleks) – and younger children might want to make sure that their parents are okay by holding tight to them! The core machinery is pretty much as it was, but has been repurposed, and the 3D section is very effective.
Coming out of the adventure, we were greeted by the Teller being held by a couple of guards, next to a set of exhibits from An Adventure in Time and Space, including the recreated TARDIS console. Other consoles are available – the post-Five Doctors and the Eccleston/Tennant variant are there in all their glory – and there are multiple TARDISes in their different builds.
On the floor above is the rest of the exhibition, and there’s a lot to take in. All the Doctors’ outfits (plus some extras); a collection of Daleks, and Cybermen; familiar and less familiar enemies; and a collection of artefacts from the most recent season (if you go, look at Madam Vastra’s map of incidents that featured in Deep Breath). From there, the next stop is the shop with a number of exclusive items…
There’s plenty of room for more material to be added, and our only criticism compared with the London version was the lack of interactive items in the exhibition – there were places before where you could do your own Scarecrow or Cyberman walk and play with some of the sound effects. Hopefully these will be restored in the near future.
Congratulations to all involved with the remounting of this: it’s well worth the trip (and even worth the 10 minute trudge in the pouring rain from the nearest car park!)
Verdict: Doctor Who’s past, present and future are suitably celebrated. 9/10