Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Regenerated Doctor Who Experience

Firstly, I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and celebrated the New Year in style. 

For this post, I am going to take you back in time to November, when I was due to visit the "regenerated" Doctor Who Experience and once again head over to the BBC Studios at Roath Lock to step onto the real TARDIS on the studio tour. This was all bought altogether as a joint ticket offer.

Unfortunately, our trip didn't go quite to plan. You see, I had been so busy with my new job at the time that I had not had a chance to check my emails in days. Sadly, when I finally got around to it, the Tardis Studio Tour part of the ticket had been cancelled and because I had not responded to the suppliers email quick enough, they assumed I still wanted to head to Cardiff for the Experience and didn't process my refund. I was absolutely devastated to say the least. I had been counting the days until I could step onto the real TARDIS once again. I was heartbroken, so much so that my stubbornness nearly saw me cancel the trip altogether and lose out on the money. 

However, Luke stepped in and put everything into perspective. There may be more chances in the future to step onto the TARDIS, plus the Doctor Who Experience had just reopened after refurbishment, so it was worth having a look! And if all else failed, I was off to one of my favourite places, Cardiff. 



☆  Experience  


Please note: there are little bits of detail on the experience to follow without giving too much away. If you would like to avoid any spoilers prior to your visit, please scroll down to Exhibition.

So we decided to drive the 3 hour journey down to Cardiff on our booked day. We arrived earlier than planned but the staff allowed us to queue alongside the group of an earlier timeslot. There were more props in the queuing area than during my previous visits. These included the Timelord costumes and props, as well as Clara's book "101 Places to See" from Series 7, next to The most important leaf in human history. 




Visitors are now given a crystal lanyard to wear around their necks for the exhibition part of the experience, which glows and vibrates during the different parts of the interactive walk-through.

Before heading in, we had a quick briefing from a member of the Experience team who was very enthusiastic; really getting us visitors excited for what was about to come. Once we wondered through the opened doors, we were greeted by a room full of scattered props from the show, and were told to have a nose around. We then watched a short film (which was excellent - but I shan't give anything away) and we were shown into the next room. This was probably my favourite room of the whole experience, it was magical, and the centre piece focused on a plot from Series 7.

We were then led into the TARDIS, which was my main disappointment of the experience...as it had not been revamped or regenerated since my previous visit. All that had changed was the scenario video that played during our time through the experience, which featured Capaldi instead of Smith. 

HOWEVER... do not let this change your decision to visit, I for one can say that walking into the TARDIS was wonderful during my previous visits, but with this being my third time, I was a little disappointed with the lack of regeneration in this particular scenario. Anyway, not to give much else away, we were also led through a storyline featuring the almighty Daleks (which was very similar to pre-refurb, but with a bit of an added paint-job) and then we were taken through the maze of weeping angels - again, similar to pre-refurb, but with a few extra props. To repeat - both of these parts of the scenario are brilliant for first-time visitors, so don't let me put you off! 

The final room was the 3D cinema screen, which had been updated to follow on from the main scenario that ran through the experience. 



   Exhibition

We were then led into the exhibition hall, where all the props and sets were located. This has been my favourite part of the whole Experience in previous visits, and once again, this part of my day did not disappoint. There had been SO much more added since my previous visits. A quick suggestion - if it is quiet, head straight up the stairs to your left and visit the props up above first, as there will be more time and room to take as many photos as you like before it gets overcrowded with visitors. 

Myself and Luke decided to make the most of this part of the experience, and spent over an hour in the exhibition, taking as many photos as we could to make our trip all the way down to Cardiff for the day worthwhile - and boy, did we! I apologise in advance if the next part of my blog is picture-heavy. I have tried to include props I have not had my photo taken with previously... 










 



Fist-pump with a Weeping Angel... it seemed like a good idea at the time...


Ok, now I'm not so sure...


















Worth a visit...?

Positives 
  • The Experience guide was brilliant and should be commended for a splendid job, he really got into character and made sure that everyone, whether young or old, were involved in the story-line.
  • It was more of an interactive experience - there was an opportunity to find crystals, even in the scariest of settings, and I thought it was a nice little added extra, especially for the kids. (And big kids alike)!
  • A fresh, new storyline with scenarios filmed by Peter Capaldi especially for the Doctor Who Experience visitors was fantastic, it really made everyone feel part of the story, and as if you could have really been running alongside The Doctor through time and space.
  • The Exhibition hall had lots of new props from Series 8 and plenty of room to take photos. The Experience team are always on hand to take any snapshots of you and your friends.

Negatives  
  • Although the storyline and some of the settings were fresh and new, as I previously stated, I couldn't help but be disappointed with some of the rooms inside. The TARDIS console room, for instance, needs to be updated from the Eleventh Doctors first TARDIS. I also believe that the Dalek scenario worked better pre-refurb.

However, do not let this put you off, especially if you have never been before! The Doctor Who Experience is one-of-a-kind, situated right next door to the BBC studios where they film Doctor Who and located on the picture-perfect Cardiff Bay. I get so many people back in the little land of Shropshire asking what its like and whether it is worth the trip down south, and the answer is a definite YES! You NEED to go there to experience it for yourself, because there is nothing else out there like it. And with tickets starting at as little as £14 for an adult, and £9.75 for a child, you have no excuse not to check it out for yourselves. 

You can buy your tickets here:- http://www.doctorwho.tv/events/doctor-who-experience/tickets/ It is recommended you book in advance for a discounted price, and to avoid disappointment on the day. Plus - make sure you keep an eye out for more studio tours in the future, with your chance to walk through those infamous doors - I know I will.

Check out my previous visits to the Doctor Who Experience:


I'm seriously considering a re-vamp of my blog over the coming months. If you have any ideas, please let me know, it would be lovely to hear them (as I'm not great at designing!)

I hope January is treating you well and you haven't given up on your resolutions just yet... I'd love to hear them! Mine is to blog more, and seeing as I have three more posts lined up for over the coming weeks, I'll have to get a move on. As always, let me know what you've been up to, and keep up to date via my twitter feed - @pluckykelly and my Plucky Kelly Facebook Page.

Blog to you soon

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Ghost-Busting "Hide" Locations at Margam Country Park

Hi All,


So here is the second part to my brief trip down to South Wales in October for my birthday. I'm afraid to say we weren't as successful on the final day of our stay, although we did get a pretty nice Toby Carvery out of the day... yum! 


We decided to venture to Margam Country Park, otherwise known as the primary location for the Series 7 Doctor Who episode, 'Hide', as Caliburn House and which has also featured in the series 4 two-parter 'The Sontaran Stratagem'/'The Poison Sky' as Rattigan Academy. It was about a 20 minutes drive from our lodge, and a ten minute drive from Neath. It was easy to find, as it is signposted straight off the M4. 

There is no charge for entry to the park and castle as it is free to roam around, but it will cost you around £4.50 to park your car. There are lots of ruins, a beautiful Orangery, fabulous gardens and greenery, a hauntingly gothic castle and a huge, splendid lake... no wonder the grounds were bustling with visitors! 

So, why did I decide on this location?.. Well, this was the first location that I saw photographs of Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman filming scenes together, it was also where their first official series photograph took place as Doctor and companion (see left). As soon as I saw photos of Jenna here I went out and purchased her dress from Urban Outfitters as I fell in love with it. And is exactly why I decided to wear it on this visit. I thought the episode Hide was eerily beautiful, and although it did scare me when it was broadcast (yes, I was 22 years old -wimp!), I thought the message behind it was clever and decent and was anchored by a brilliant cast, crew and writers.

Just to point out, that the main area which was used for a lot of the filming outside was unfortunately inaccessible as they were in the middle of building work, so I couldn't get as brilliant pictures as I wanted to, but I did try my best by poking my camera through the wire fence. 

Hide...

The following photos were taken at the side entrance to the castle, which acted as the entrance in this particular episode of Doctor Who. 



Below is the Orangery, which is huge and size and surrounded my magical gardens and a huge water fountain. It featured in the background of one shot in this episode of Doctor Who, and is located at the bottom of the stairs up to the main castle. 


The following photos were taken of the main area used for filming in this episode of Doctor Who, however the area was sealed off for building work, so we could go no further than the large tree which the TARDIS was parked under for photographs.




The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky...



A few snapshots from in and around Margam Country Park...



 The amazingly gothic interior of the castle... it was very eerie and scary. Reminded me of a vampire lair - loved it!

 

 I hope you enjoyed my two-parter posts detailing my recent trip down south... I have two more blog posts lined up and will hopefully get them out to you as soon as I can, and before the Christmas period. One of which will detail my recent Clara cosplay, of which includes the dress I am wearing on todays post. I hope your christmas shopping is going well, I have lots of Doctor Who related goodies on my list, what are you hoping santa brings you? 

Tomorrow I start my new job which I am very excited about. It sounds like a brilliant opportunity and I can't wait to get stuck in. I have a really good feeling about this one. Lets keep positive.

Blog to you all soon, take care