Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC

Doctor Who goes Virtual Reality, for immersive adventure “The Runaway”

Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC
Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC

Doctor Who fans can now step inside a virtual reality version of the TARDIS in an immersive VR adventure called Doctor Who: The Runaway.

Running for around 12 minutes, the new original, interactive story from the BBC and Passion Animation Studios (who’ve also done work for Marvel and the band, Gorillaz) is set in the TARDIS will see Jodie Whittaker reprise her role as the Doctor in animated form

Available on selected VR headsets, viewers join the Thirteenth Doctor on board the TARDIS in an animated interactive story and get the chance to be the Doctor’s champion, at the centre of the action facing a deadly threat.

Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC
Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC

Step inside the TARDIS with the Doctor, to discover you’ve been in a collision. The Doctor introduces you to the person, or thing, you collided with: a strange and magnificent ball of living energy called Volta. Part surly teenager, part bomb, Volta is very unstable. In fact, he’s primed to explode. Big time. Unless he can be returned to his home planet, sharpish. The problem is, a squad of galactic busybodies has other plans for Volta. Bad ones…

Drawn into a frantic chase, you become the Doctor’s unlikely assistant as she races against time to get Volta home to his parents. Armed with a sonic screwdriver, it is down to you to help the Doctor as she faces the forces of evil, and teenage angst!

Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC
Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC
Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC
Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC
Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC
Doctor Who: The Runaway. Image: BBC

Doctor Who: The Runaway is written by Victoria Asare-Archer and was directed by Mathias Chelebourg, whose previous VR films include Alice, the Virtual Reality Play and The Real Thing VR. It features new original music from series composer Segun Akinola, and was produced by the BBC’s digital drama team, BBC VR Hub and Passion Animation Studios.

“Fans will experience the TARDIS like never before in this thrilling new interactive story,” says Jo Pearce, creative director for the BBC’s digital drama team.

“As ever, the Doctor is full of warmth, wit and charm – helped by a wonderful performance from Jodie – which puts fans at the heart of the story as they immerse themselves in this beautifully animated world.”

“Our team at the BBC VR Hub has been creating new experiences with the goal of helping to usher virtual reality into the mainstream,” added Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, “and Doctor Who is exactly the sort of series that can help more people to try this new technology.

“The show has been pushing boundaries for over 55 years, and VR enables Doctor Who to explore a whole new dimension of storytelling.”

The BBC included Doctor Who: The Runway alongside other VR productions such as Congo VR in over 40 libraries around the UK for people without headsets at home, a tour that ends this week.

Zillah Watson told The Guardian that for every VR project, the BBC is trying to get a broader audience interested in putting on a headset, perhaps for the first time.

You can find out more about Doctor Who: The Runaway and download the adventure for your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive head sets here on the BBC VR Hub

Don’t have an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive? You can watch a 360 version of this experience in a Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Go using the BBC VR app

• The libraries that will feature the BBC VR Tour tomorrow, Friday 17th May 2019, the last day of the tour, are Drumbrea, Giffnock, Leeds, Leith, Muirhouse, Oxgangs, Portobello, Wester Hailes, Barrhead Foundry, Dundee and Emersons Green

Doctor Who © 2019 BBC Studios

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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