Season 8 of the beloved BBC-TV science fiction show “Doctor Who” has just premiered and that means they’re going to need to make a little space at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales. With a new season and a new Doctor, played this time out by Peter Capaldi (“Musketeers”) comes new wardrobe, props and other items of memorabilia that will need to be installed at the comprehensive museum when the season comes to a close. That’s okay; space is one thing they’ve got plenty of.
Cardiff has always been home to the time traveling Doctor Who, so to speak. The show is filmed at the BBC studios in Cardiff, and since the show started way back in 1963, the studios needed a pretty significant warehouse space to house decade’s worth of props and costuming. A few years back the warehouse was cherry-picked of hundreds of its most interesting items and these things now form the core of the huge, multi-floor display at the Doctor Who Experience.
A visit to the Doctor Who Experience begins with a short film; when it concludes the screen parts right down the middle to reveal that the Doctor’s workshop lies just beyond. Fans are ushered into the workshop with some urgency; inside gadgets and gizmos of all sorts are going off as the Doctor’s visage appears and disappears on monitors placed in odd places around the room, and a female cybernetic head (just the head!) gives a speech. The whole thing is a preparation for the big moment of entering the TARDIS, which comes next.
The TARDIS, which looks like a humble police call box on the outside, is actually Doctor Who’s time traveling device. The TARDIS that fans enter here is interactive so tour participants can spin wheels and pull levers as the floor rocks and the room “smokes” and Doctor Who warns that the contraption is about to have a hard landing, somewhere. As fans leave the TARDIS, oh no! The thing has landed amongst a bunch of human-hating Daleks and they’re out for blood! This is one of the most fun parts of the Doctor Who Exhibit as the Daleks talk threateningly as they roll towards the captive crowd, shooting laser blasts as they approach.
After surviving the Dalek attack, tour participants then have all the time they want to explore the exhibits. There they’ll find more Daleks, a bunch of different varieties that chronicle how the scary robots have developed over the years. All the other nemeses of Doctor Who are there also, from Scarecrow to Abzorbaloff to a Sontaran or two. Winder is there too and so are the heads of the Cybermen. Of course the good guys are out in force as well; each of the Doctors is represented with a display of their trademark garb. There’s a TARDIS to pose by, a Sarah Jane Smith exhibit, and displays that show how some of the props were made. There’s so much stuff here that if you are a super Doctor Who fan and go in thinking “I bet they don’t have this or they won't have that,” you’re likely to be wrong.
The Doctor Who Experience is located in the Cardiff Bay area of the city where there are countless other attractions and dozens of places to eat and drink, not to mention the beautiful bay itself. Cardiff Bay is just a very short ride from the city center by rail.
For more information on Cardiff, go here.
The info you’ll find at the Visit Wales website will help you plan your trip.