The Doctor Who Experience currently running at London’s Olympia is the third exhibition inspired by the show’s successful TV revival I’ve been to, having previously visited the 2005 Brighton exhibition and the Earl’s Court experience a few years back.
Of the three I’ve visited this is undoubtably the most ambitious – at the heart of the experience is an interactive ‘walk though’ sound and sight extravaganza in which visitors assist Matt Smith’s Doctor on a mission which concludes with a special 3D segment.
If that sounds vague, I can only promise that you’ll thank me after your trip for not spoiling your fun by being more specific!
What I can say is that the adventure takes you into the console room of the Tardis – a stunning reproduction of the TV set and console – and brings you eye to eyestalk with the Daleks.
You’ll want to be careful not to blink as your role as the Doctor’s companion also brings you perilously close to the Weeping Angels. Did I mention you need to be feeling brave to go along?
Speaking of being brave, there’s a lot of noise and some moments of darkness which may make the experience unsuitable for less hardy or younger galactic adventurers.
The 3D segment which forms the finale to the interactive part of the experience is exciting and fun but, and it’s a tiny but, the organisers could have followed the lead of the London Eye’s 4D experience which includes physical elements and added some wind to complete the experience.
Big sucking and blowing things need wind and plenty of it. Trust me, that’ll make sense afterwards!
After the running around is over you can catch your breath while enjoying a more traditional display of exhibits including costumes, props and short video features. Many of these – such as the ‘making the Ood’ models – have been displayed previously but the collection helps round off a nice day out.
The highlights of this second part of the experience is undoubtably the presence of both the David Tennant Tardis console room and the final console used in the classic TV series.
Also on display are the entire span of TV Dalek designs, Cyberman helmets including replicas of some of the earliest versions and costumes worn by all the TV Doctors. While some of these costumes include replica items, it’s nice to see all the actors who played the Doctor remembered in this way.
Parents beware – immediately after the 3D segment is a chance to spend £12 a time to have pictures taken against a green screen which can then be overlaid onto a Tardis or Pandorica background.
The David Tennant console is just round the corner from this souvenir opportunity and, on the day I went, no-one was stopping visitors from taking free pictures standing against this.
With the perils of the obligatory shop still ahead, you may want to keep hold of your wallet!
On the door adult tickets cost £20 and child tickets £15.50 though discounts are available for booking ahead online and for family groups. Between the interactive and exhibition segments you can expect to spend between an hour to an hour and half in the experience depending on your level of interest or familiarity with the exhibits.
The Doctor Who Experience is a potentially pricey but undeniably fun day out which fans of the show won’t want to miss.
Visit doctorwhoexperience.com for online booking, visitor information and accessibility details.
Disclosure: We visited the experience as non-paying guests of the organisers.