Friday, 27 September 2013

Journey on the Official TARDIS Studio Tour

 TARDIS Studio Tour

In August this year, fans of the Doctor Who series were met with an exciting, once in a lifetime opportunity  - the chance to visit the ACTUAL TARDIS console room. It was part of the brand new summer 2013 programme run by the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay, which also incorporated the walking tour of Cardiff locations. Needless to say I quickly ordered myself and my partner a ticket each.
There were different options available to choose from, depending on which activities you wanted to do. We opted for the Studio Tour, followed by a visit to the Doctor Who Experience, costing us around £20 each. (I'd just returned a pair of heels for the same price, what a good swap eh?!) We had already previously been on the Cardiff Doctor Who bus tour, which is similar to the walking tour but with a few extra locations just outside the city centre. I highly recommend either, as I have been notified that they have both been updated since my visit in late 2011. *Post and more information HERE*

 We left home early, ready for the long drive down to Cardiff as the hotels were a bit too pricey to stay over at short notice. However, we managed to persuade two good friends to come along for the trip so we could split the petrol costs a bit more evenly, and as they were not Doctor Who fans, they decided to spend the day shopping in the city centre. We arrived in Cardiff with our tickets in hand, which helpfully included a small itinerary of the days activities. Our first stop was the Tardis Set tour at 1pm, which was due to last around 60 minutes, followed by the Doctor Who Experience at 2pm.

 Our meeting point for the Tardis set tour was the DW Experience foyer, where we were grouped together, handed our tour lanyards and led on the five minute walk across to the BBC Roath Lock studios.
 Security passes swiped, we entered through the "Jurassic Park" style gates around the back of the building, led down the narrow pathway and into the Doctor Who studio, which was the biggest of all the BBC Roath Lock studios (and obviously the best!). The exterior of the set is not the prettiest sight, but you know what they say... "its what's on the inside that counts". 

 The guides kept everyone entertained by playing the series 7 episode "Hide" on the television and asking Doctor Who based quiz questions whilst groups of four took it in turns to go up into the inside of the TARDIS.
 We opted to go last inside the set, and I'm glad we did, because it was well worth the wait. The male guide took photos of us outside the TARDIS doors, and then offered to take any we wanted once we had stepped inside. 

 I followed the guide in, and for a moment pretended I was Clara when she first walked in to the TARDIS in the 2012 Christmas special The Snowmen. (See video below)...

If you're a geek like me, it's hard to describe the feeling of walking into the TARDIS. It's happened before I know, back in early 2012 at the Doctor Who Convention - Post HERE.

 I suppose the word magical does spring to mind as a way to comprehend such a powerful feeling of excitement - but it's much more than that, because just for a moment, you are transported to that very spot you can only dream of. And, guess what....? I recorded it all on video. The cameras the wrong way around at first, but I soon turn it, so no need to rotate your computer screens! Oh, and that music was already playing in the background, it just so happened to fit in perfectly with the moment.
 So its time to share with you some of the photos I took. And as I am currently sat at my desk wrapped in a dressing gown I can't help but think 'girl, put some layers on!' when looking back at the photos of myself, but I can assure you that it was so very hot that weekend...! Also, only about half of the Tardis area was actually sectioned off for visitors like ourselves to walk around in, but we were well aware of this before we booked the tickets, so it made no difference to us. Plus, we were not allowed to touch the console due to it still being in use for filming. It was a 360 degree set,  so once you were in it felt as if you were in a big, round cocoon. We were able to walk up and down the stairs in order to take photos of underneath the console, and once we were finished taking all the pictures we desired, we were led out one of the lower exits, which would normally act as a Tardis corridor, leading off to all kinds of unthinkable rooms. I guess you'll never know where we ended up;-) Enjoy :-)...

Doctor Who Experience

 Once we had finished our set tour, we were led back to the Doctor Who Experience building where we queued up for the second part of the day. I had previously been to the DW Experience - Post HERE , and I thought it was just brilliant. I had been moaning at my partner for months  to go again, and this was just the opportunity I had to seize! I still had goosebumps right from the very beginning, even though I knew what was coming, and as we wondered through the maze and hurtled down corridors I couldn't help but think how fantastic the place was, and all this built right on the door step of the home to new-Who. I would definitely go for a third time, the place is completely worth the money in my opinion, with an adult paying £15.00 (plus transaction fee) at the most. You can view more about the Doctor Who Experience and ticket prices on their website:-

 When we reached the exhibition part of the experience, me and my partner headed straight upstairs to avoid the rush of people following behind us, in order to take as many photos as possible next to props we had not seen previously. A lot of props had been added, mostly from series 7, which I was very pleased about. However, Oswins red dress from Asylum of the Daleks was noticeably missing as it had "disappeared for repairs", which slightly disappointed me, due to its iconic importance within the seventh series. However, we took a lot more photos to make up for it. Yes, the following is very "pic-heavy"...


 This last photo is probably my favourite. This is because the day Matt Smith cast his hands in this cement for the Doctor Who Experience, was the day I met him outside the very same building on the 12th October 2012. You can read more on the blog post, HERE.

There's also the Doctor Who Experience shop, which is accessible even if you are not looking to go into the Experience itself, where you can buy all your Doctor Who goodies and memorabilia. Always packed full with a range of stock, its hard not to spend a fortune. When we visited, there happened to be a TARDIS onesie in stock - too bad I'm currently low on funds! Maybe one for the Christmas list...?! The staff are all lovely, friendly and  full of energy, and with good reason - they have one of the best jobs! Talking/living Doctor Who each and every day.

 So that's everything I packed into my Saturday back in August, but what an incredible day, if not a bit tiring. However, I do love a drive down to Cardiff, and I wouldn't do it as often if I didn't enjoy it, even if it does take just under three hours each way! I definitely hope they open this opportunity again at some point, its such a good day and experience for Doctor Who fans alike. Its a way of giving back to the fans who have supported the show over the last fifty years I suppose, and what a way to show the appreciation!

 Sorry this post took a while, I had a good few weeks where I was churning posts out here, there and everywhere, but since then I have just been really trying to find work. I've had interviews but been told that I either need that little bit more experience, or that I am over-qualified for the role. Just currently trying to find the balance, and in the meantime I'm about to take on some voluntary work to keep me busy. I also graduated with a 2.1 in Media and Communications - which was a very proud day for me, and to be honest really inspired me to get my backside into gear. Lets just see what the future holds, but for now I'm just trying to enjoy myself, because I know that when that dream job comes along, I'm going to have to work my butt off to achieve my dreams.

Thanks for reading, write to you again soon!