Monday, 9 September 2013

A Dr Who Day

The 25th August this year was a rather special day, it started ordinarily enough with breakfast in Cardiff's Maldron Hotel. I then had a leisurely walk through the city centre to Cardiff Bay where I met up with those fine folk from the Staggering Stories Podcast. 

After a filling lunch we set off to the Dr Who Experience, the walk through part of this attraction has been updated since I visited it last year with the Doctor referencing the older "orange" control room in the pre recorded sequences. I'm intreged to see if they update it more radically once the 12th Doctor's era kicks off next year.

Next was the exhibition part of the attraction, which starts with the amazing recreation of the 1960s TARDIS set that was built for An Adventure in Space and Time, apparently this is only a temporary exhibit which would be such a shame as its brilliant to see it up close. Many other things have been added to the exhibition since my last visit including the Ice Warrior from Cold War and an extensive display from last years Christmas special The Snowmen. We seemed to separate and go off in different directions at this point as I recall us almost loosing Scott from Staggering Stories who was having even more of a squee fest than myself.

We soon reconvened near the entrance for the Dr Who filming locations walking tour, our guide faced a challenging time as there was three big events on in the bay that day and she somehow had to compete with the noise of it all. Thankfully the walking tour heads out into Cardiff itself where the noise levels were saner. Among the places we saw was a fascinating Victorian Street that has been in both Dr Who and Sherlock. Our guide also told us of the day she'd witness the Doctor Who crew filming at Eddies Diner which for effects reason nessesetated the erecting of a black tent but she managed to see River Song's diary through a gap in it at one point. The tour was quite extensive, the only disappointment for me was the ommision of the pond's house which to be fair is someone's actual home who probably wouldn't take kindly to daily tour groups invading their privacy. My other main memory of the tour was a young boy whose knowledge of the locations was almost as good and at times better than our guide, it turns out he'd been a cancer patient and had kept himself entertained with repeated watches of Dr Who boxed sets.

When the tour had finished we again reconvened at the entrance to the Dr Who Experience for what would prove for many of us to be the highlight of the day. Passes were issued for our visit to the actual TARDIS set. Roath Lock studios is a very long building, at one end of it you can see the Casualty/Holby city back lot of houses, useful so the effects people don't have to blow up or incinerate actual homes. Eventually we reached the far end of the building where we entered in small groups via a turnstile and stood at the end of an amazingly long corridor that so deserves to be in Dr Who itself. Once we entered curious eyes read signs on doors "Make Up" "Catering" "Canteen" were the few I noticed I gather others were much more observant than myself. We eventually reached an innocent looking door marked "Studio 4" on entering we could see the sizable wooden dome shape of the TARDIS set, also present was a Weeping Angel and a Dalek for photo opportunities. Our group was first to enter the set itself but not until a group photo was taken at the TARDIS doors. On entering the atmosphere changed markedly from one of squeeing excitement to reverential silence, even my own brief podcast recording was done at a whisper. Some have said we were on the set for 15 minutes, to me it felt closer to 5-10 mins, either way it was over all too soon and with a few brief moments for Dalek & Weeping Angel photos we were gone. We got to stand on the set before Peter Capaldi and were told they don't yet know if it will be opened next year. 

One last wallet denting trip to the shop and our Dr Who day was over, I've visited the experience before but it defiantly more fun with friends.

Nothing more to add so cheers for now