I am dedicating this blog to my friend Rainer Niermann (a huge Doctor Who fan) who was held back from attending this event due to very important meetings concerning his new film. I hope Rainer, that this vicarious experience will be at least almost as good as the actual experience itself.
Last Saturday afternoon, three girl friends and myself travelled to Olympia Two from all over London to experience Doctor Who. The Doctor Who Experience doesn’t officially begin until February 20th, but I was fortunate enough to procure some complimentary tickets to experience the test pilot.
Now, we had already lost our token Doctor Who fan boy/encyclopaedia to a meeting, so the four of us who entered the doors of Olympia Two that day, were more curious than excited. Oh don’t get me wrong; we weren’t completely ignorant where Doctor Who is concerned – I used to watch Doctor Who religiously with my nieces and nephew while I was studying in Leicester and I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I felt little motivation to make the time to watch it all by my lonesome. So there ended my relationship with Doctor Who. That is, until now.
The Doctor Who Experience is enjoyed in two parts. The first part is a more immersive, interactive experience, whereas the latter half is a Doctor Who exhibition. I frantically dug into my skip of a bag for my camera and there we were ready to experience the Whovian world.
“No, no cameras aloud in there I’m afraid,” chuckled one of the stewards, as he ushered us into the theatre, keeping his gaze fixed on my camera as I shoved it back into my bag. “You can take photographs afterwards.”
In we went, with the other visitors and after hoping for a minute that seats would aparate to accommodate our bottoms (they didn’t, if you were wondering), we resolved to stand facing the illuminated screen in the dark half-moon shaped room.
“There’s a crack in the screen!” says a large voice behind me.
“It’s the crack in the universe!” says a smaller voice.
And she’s right.
I could describe the entire experience here, but I would most certainly ruin any element of surprise and intrigue and you don’t want me to do that now, do you? Especially if you are a serious Doctor Who fan! (And of course I really don’t want to be reading hate mail due to my big mouth spilling spoilers all over my blog.)
I will tell you this though, if you are a die-hard Doctor Who fan, you will love this experience, if only for the chance to push the buttons, slap the joysticks and flip the switches in the Tardis. And you will probably quite happily pay the price of £15 – £20 for a ticket. If you aren’t a brethren of the Whovian world however, you may prefer to enjoy the experience from the comfort of your desk, a moth eaten chesterfield sofa in an artsy cafe or while sat upon the loo (I’ve recently become aware that this is common practice for many people) via the not so fantastic pictures I have taken (due to the bad lighting, of course).
With the immersive part of the experience over, we thought we’d check out the exhibition. Again, I apologise for the quality and lack of pictures, but I’m sure the exhibition carried almost every alien /otherworldly creature featured in Doctor Who episodes (well, the ones I’ve watched anyway). There were also photos and illustrations of every single Doctor Who as well as the most popular costumes.
I love clothes and history and am a little bit in love with costumes. So I went about photographing some of my favourites. I love that vintage style has remained constant throughout the series for Doctor Who’s costumes.
I Love both the 1970’s style coat, with the hood and red toggles and super sweet nightie, with a chinese collar and polka dots. Love it!
Do you have a favourite Doctor Who costume?
The experience hadn’t ended yet. The Doctor Who gift shop embraced us with its Whovian beings, some cuddly, some not and the usual memorabilia. And like similar experiences, visitors have the opportunity to have a special Doctor Who photograph taken. In ours, we were suspended in space as we walked out of the Tardis. Of course, at £12 a photograph, we had already decided we were not parting with our hard-earned/limited cash for a photo you could quite easily create in Photoshop.
All in all, and I say this as someone who is fairly ignorant when it comes to Doctor Who, I was a little bit disappointed with the experience, especially considering the price of tickets. But then again, if my nieces and nephew were to visit, it’s probably the first attraction I’d take them to (but only because they’re serious Whovians).
If you’d like to enjoy the Doctor Who Experience not so vicariously, you may do so by purchasing tickets online or at the Olympia Two. Previews are from 17 – 20th February and the experience continues until November 30th 2011.