Fans of Doctor Who got bad news in September of last year when it was announced that the Doctor Who Experience was closing its doors. The interactive exhibit initially opened in 2011 in London before moving to Cardiff, Wales, where the majority of Doctor Who is filmed. Visitors could browse two floors of props, costumes, and memorabilia from throughout the history of the program, including Daleks and Cybermen, makeup and alien prosthetics, props from the show’s past and present, and sonic screwdrivers and costumes from ten of the (then) twelve Doctors. The exhibition also included an interactive experience featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, and later Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor, after he replaced Smith on the show.
In September of 2017, the Experience closed, citing the end of the exhibition’s lease in Cardiff Bay and the production’s ticket sales not covering a loan by the city to stage the exhibition. At the time, no plans were announced to revive or relocate the Experience. However, a proposal currently before the Cardiff Council could see the attraction return in a regenerated form across town.
Cardiff Castle, a historic site and the original center of Cardiff in medieval times, is being considered as a new location for the Experience, as part of an effort to finance restoration and preservation of Cardiff’s heritage sites. Additional plans including building a new city headquarters, which would allow the historic City Hall to be used for rental functions, and converting The Mansion House, the historic former home of Cardiff’s Lord Mayor, into a boutique hotel. The local government of Cardiff is looking to the private sector for assistance in the cost of restoring and maintaining historic sites around town, and the revenue from converting these public buildings into tourist attractions would be used towards that end.
The proposal will go before Cardiff council’s cabinet on November 15 for consideration. Until then, Doctor Who fans should cross their fingers for an updated Doctor Who Experience, featuring Cardiff Castle as a background and starring the recently debuted Thirteenth Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker!