I Broke the Tardis – a Doctor Who Experience

I Broke the Tardis – a Doctor Who Experience

If you’ve ever wanted Doctor Who to seep into your every day life, Cardiff is the place to go. Probably because the show is filmed there, so it’s a huge part of the city’s culture. No where else in the UK did we find as many references and memorabilia for the show (just that one Tardis ice cream stand back in Aberdeen). In fact, one of the city’s major attractions is called The Doctor Who Experience, so guess what our next stop was?

The Doctor Who Experience has two parts. The first is a behind the scenes interactive adventure. Via a series of prerecorded scenes, the audience interacts with the Doctor while he attempts to save them from the usual stuff. We visited the experience shortly before it closed to update for the new doctor, so our ‘interaction’ was with the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). I’m glad we got in before the update, mostly because we had no idea what the new doctor was going to be like at the time.

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This adventure is basically a mini episode of the show, except that you encounter most of the enemies prevalent in the most recent season. Ours included Daleks, Cybermen and, of course, Weeping Angels. One of the poor girls in our group was terrified by having to walk past the weeping angels and came out the other end sobbing. My favorite part was when the Doctor asks the audience to drive the Tardis. No one filled our side of the area, so I got to press one of the buttons. Unfortunately, the Tardis didn’t seem to like what I pressed, and I broke everything. Luckily, the Doctor fixed it, but I haven’t let myself off the hook.

The upper floor is a gallery of the history of the show. Here you can browse some of the most popular props, including the wardrobes and sonic screwdrivers for all the doctors and several of his companions.

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In the case of the classic foes, there are side-by-side comparisons of their evolution, such as heads from previous Cybermen and a gallery of Daleks standing side by side. There’s also an area with the various Tardis props and you can visit several reconstructions of Tardis interiors.

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Basically, it’s a geek’s paradise and I took tons of pictures.

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But it only took about half the time we had left in Cardiff, so we rounded off our trip with a visit to the local museum. As far as museums go, Cardiff’s was pretty small, but it was probably the nicest of the small museums we visited in England. It has two main sections, one devoted to natural history and the other devoted to art. The natural history section focuses largely on Wales and even includes some dinosaur skeletons.

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The art section is largely devoted to sculpture and paintings. The biggest novelty for us was the fact that all the signs were written in both English and Welsh.

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Somewhat ironically, on our way out of Cardiff the next morning, we encountered a great to-do surrounding a red carpet and a Tardis. It turned out they were premiering the first episode of the new season. We didn’t get to see any of the actors, but it was cool to be surrounded by excited fans. We enjoyed our trip to Wales immensely but, when we got back, it was time to bid farewell to England and return to Canada.

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