Doctor Who Experience Closes in September, but Goes Out with a Bang

The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff. Image: BBC Worldwide
The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff. Image: BBC Worldwide

Filming location walking tours, starting 8th July, the addition of new props and other items are to be part of the final months for the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, before it finally closes its does on 9th September 2017.

The attraction’s closure after a successful, five-year tenure in the Welsh capital (a fan campaign started by Bex Ferriday to save it unsuccessful, although supported by over 12,000 people) will be marked with a whole summer jam-packed with tours, activities and a number of special events, including the return of the popular Filming Location Walking Tours, starting on 8th July. Taking 75 minutes, it’s a chance to find out more about some of the places where modern Who has been filmed so far, including sites from Series 10 as well as memorable locations from previous series.

The Experience team say further news of how Doctor Who filming locations will be used to continue the commercial presence of Doctor Who in Cardiff after the Experience closes will be communicated in due course.

Series 10 content will also be added into the Experience, with the finished exhibition being unveiled on the 8th July. This will include props, costumes and sets from Series 10, that will join the Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie costumes which are already part of the exhibition.

Returning to the Experience that day will be the Yeti from the Patrick Troughton story  The Web of Fear, restored byModel Unit expert, Mike Tucker – a monster voted by fans as the Doctor Who monster they’d most like to see restored as part of the ongoing Restoration Project.

On 22nd July, the Experience will host its final Monster Event, with the Cybermen at its theme – which should be no surprise, given the major role we know they’ll play in the closing episodes of the current season, before Peter Capaldi regenerates into a Zarbi. (Oh, all right, we made part of that last sentence up – sorry).

The day will include workshops and question and answer sessions with monster-makers, Millennium FX; a chance for fans to be converted into Cybermen; as well as live Mondasian Cybermen, first seen in the final William Hartnell story The Tenth Planet, roaming the Experience floor.

The day will be completed with a viewing of the final two-part episode, World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls, first screened on BBC One on 24th June and 1st July, screened in the Experience’s exhibition area.

On 5th August, fans can look forward to the biggest Doctor Who Experience Cosplay Celebration yet. Fans will be invited and encouraged to visit dressed as their favourite Doctor Who character or monster.

There’s still no word, as yet, on whether a replacement Doctor Who exhibition will surface, which campaigners had hoped for. The closure of the Experience was announced last year, the land it currently occupies owned by the Welsh Government and their development partner, Igloo Regeneration, who leased it to Cardiff City Council for five years to enable its relocation from Olympia to Cardiff on a temporary basis.

“It has always been the intention for the site to be developed as part of the ongoing Porth Teigr regeneration project, a spokesperson for Cardiff City Council told Wales Online at the time. “The agreement was always intended to be for five years only, reflecting the nature of the attraction.

“The decision to close the Experience at the end of the lease next summer has been mutually agreed by all parties involved, including the operators BBC Worldwide.”

We did our best, but in the end it just wasn’t enough,” campaigners against the closure noted on their Facebook page“I guess the best we can hope for now is someone standing next to Ianto’s Shrine in Cardiff Bay selling Doctor Who merchandise from the back of a van…”

While a new Experience-type exhibition might well surface in another city, fans clearly appreciated its current location close to where the shoe is filmed.

“I’m only an hour away but having the option of doing a studio tour or walking tour and visiting the Shrine and Roald Dahl Plas keeps me coming back every year,” commented fan Julie Skilton Cunliffe. “Cardiff is the perfect place for it… surely with all the run down industrial areas around, there must be somewhere else to put it.”

• For more information and news of additional events and features in the final weeks of the Doctor Who Experience visit doctorwhoexperience.com

• Doctor Who continues on BBC1 this Saturday 17th June at 6.45pm

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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