Sunday, 17 September 2017

C is for... Chase, Harrison

A plant-obsessed millionaire encountered by the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith. Chase lived on a huge estate with his own private army. When a senior member of the World Ecology Bureau who was in his pay informed him of the recent discovery of a seed pod in the Antarctic, Chase was determined to have it for his collection. He sent one of his biologists - Keeler - to the South Pole, accompanied by a mercenary named Scorby, to seize it by any means.
Back in the UK, the Doctor traced Chase after finding a plant painting in the boot of the car which had been sent to waylay him. The artist was able to tell him that it had been bought by Chase - and he hadn't yet paid for it. Chase was determined to propagate the alien seed, and was prepared to let it use Sarah as a host, after hearing how it had infected one of the scientists at the Antarctic. The Doctor had identified the pod as a Krynoid seed. These plant forms consumed flesh and blood, and destroyed all animal life on planets where they became established.
Chase composed music for his plants, and disposed of his enemies by feeding them to a compost machine which spread their remains throughout is gardens.
Keeler became host to the Krynoid, and Chase nurtured his transformation. As the creature grew, it could influence local plant-life, and Chase fell under its mental sway. He no longer saw himself as human, but at one with the plant world. He did everything in his power to protect the Krynoid. When he tried to kill the Doctor in the compost machine, he fell into it himself and was crushed to death - so ended up feeding his own garden.

Played by: Tony Beckley. Appearances: The Seeds of Doom (1976).

  • Beckley is probably best remembered for the role of Camp Freddie in The Italian Job (1969).
  • His career was just taking off in Hollywood (one of his last roles was in one of the Pink Panther movies) when he died in 1979, aged only 50.

C is for... Charlie

A pupil at Coal Hill Academy who hid a terrible secret. He was really the last survivor of an alien race - the Rhodians. He had been their prince. They were all wiped out by the Shadow Kin. Prior to this, the Rhodians had fought a war against the Quill, who they regarded as little more than terrorists. A captured Quill was genetically connected to a Rhodian, so that they could never harm them. This was achieved through the use of a parasite that was introduced to their brain. Charlie and his Quill were rescued from the destruction of Rhodia by the Doctor, and he placed them at Coal Hill. He knew that his many visits to the area had weakened Space and Time here, and the Earth needed protection from what might come through here. Miss Quill became one of the teachers, whilst Charlie became a pupil. They shared a home together.
Charlie was very naive, and had little knowledge about popular culture on the Earth. He was also gay - befriending a fellow student named Matteusz - whom he took to the school prom, and later slept with. Had he stayed at home, his parents would have arranged a marriage for him.

Charlie was the custodian of a device known as the Cabinet of Souls. This contained the spirits of all the dead Rhodians, with the possibility of bringing them all back. However, to do so would require an equal number of lives to be extinguished, and the Shadow Kin suspected that it could be used as a weapon against them. As such, they launched a number of attacks on Charlie and his friends through the space / time fissures at the school.
When the friends were put into detention by Miss Quill, Charlie revealed that he suffered from claustrophobia. An alien entity in a meteorite fragment caused them to be transported to a mysterious void. Handling the rock caused people to reveal the things they felt most guilty about - and for Charlie this was his desire for revenge against the Shadow Kin - even if using the Cabinet to do so would mean he lost the respect of Matteusz. The entity was a prisoner, and it wanted Charlie to take its place, as his was the greatest guilt out of all the group. He was saved by Miss Quill, who had now managed to remove the parasite from her brain.
When the Shadow Kin started to kill the relatives of his friends, Charlie was finally compelled to open the Cabinet, destroying them. As he had been infected by the Shadow Kin, he expected to die as well, but survived.

Played by: Greg Austin. Appearances: Class 1.1 to 1.8 (2016).

C is for... Chaplet, Dodo

Companion to the First Doctor. Dodo - full name Dorothea - was an orphan who lived with an aunt. She claimed that neither of them got on well. One day, whilst walking on Wimbledon Common, she witnessed a road accident and ran into a Police Call Box to summon help. This proved to be the TARDIS, which had just travelled from 16th Century Paris. Steven had stormed out, thinking the Doctor had sent Anne Chaplet to her death. On his return, he was surprised to hear Dodo's surname, and took it as a sign that Anne had lived. Dodo also claimed that she had a French grandfather. To the Doctor, Dodo reminded him somewhat of his granddaughter Susan.
Dodo had little respect for the rules around time travel, and left the ship before the Doctor could take readings when it landed in the biodome of the Ark, in the far distant future. She did not believe they had travelled in time, and thought they were in Whipsnade Zoo. She had also helped herself to an outfit from the ship's wardrobe - a medieval page costume. Dodo had a cold, and this proved deadly to the humans and Monoids who crewed the Ark, as they came from a time when they had no immunity to it. Dodo was horrified that the deaths were due to her. Later, she discovered that her cold had caused the Monoids to become dominant, enslaving the human Guardians.

When the TARDIS landed in the domain of the Toymaker, Dodo was shown the occasion of her mother's death - her lowest moment. When forced to play lethal games against the Toyroom characters, Dodo often sympathised with them - pointing out that they had been human once and were victims of the Toymaker. She could be impulsive - sitting on a booby-trapped chair which almost froze her to death, when she knew the chairs were deadly. She was also easily taken in by the tricks perpetrated by the schoolboy Cyril - almost forfeiting the final game.
The TARDIS next landed in Tombstone, Arizona, where Dodo revealed an interest in the Wild West, and that she had always wanted to meet Wyatt Earp. She and Steven donned stylised versions of the local fashions. The Doctor claimed that they were travelling entertainers - Dodo being Miss Dodo DuPont. She was able to play the piano in the local saloon as part of their charade. When Dodo was abducted by Doc Holliday she was able to stand up to him, even threatening to shoot him if he didn't take her back to Tombstone. This had just been a bluff, and she was relieved when he agreed to take her back. During the famous gunfight at the OK Corral, Dodo managed to get in the way and was used as a shield by Johnny Ringo, but was saved by Holliday.
On the alien planet where the Elders ruled, Dodo accompanied Steven on a look around the city, and decided to go off on her own - hating guided tours. She saw how the Elders were siphoning off the life-force of the primitive Savages, and warned the others. She was heartbroken at having to say goodbye to Steven when he agreed to stay on as the planet's new ruler.

The TARDIS next took Dodo and the Doctor back to her own time - the London of 1966. The Doctor pretended that she was his secretary when they visited Professor Brett at the top of the Post Office Tower. His new super-computer, WOTAN, was about to take over the human race, and wanted the Doctor to help it. Dodo was recruited to assist - being hypnotised over the telephone when she went to the Inferno night club with Brett's secretary Polly. Dodo's attempts to ensnare the Doctor failed, and he realised that she had been hypnotised. He broke the mental conditioning, and Sir Charles Summer agreed to send her to his home in the country to recuperate. Dodo decided to remain on Earth in her own time, and sent a message to the Doctor via Sir Charles, to be delivered by Polly. The Doctor was furious that she should want to leave without saying goodbye in person.

Played by: Jackie Lane. Appearances: The Massacre to The War Machines (1966).

  • Lane had earlier auditioned for the role of Susan back in 1963.
  • She retired from acting to become a theatrical agent, having Tom Baker and Janet Fielding on her books.
  • She's the only surviving companion actor of the classic series not to have done a Big Finish audio. 
  • Dodo's is without doubt the worst companion departure in the whole of the series - being dumped half way through her final story.

C is for... Chaplet, Anne

A servant girl from the household of the Abbot of Amboise, in Paris, 1572. She was a Huguenot, from the town of Vassy. A notorious massacre had taken place here some years ago, when the Catholic Guise killed many Protestants. Anne overheard the town being mentioned by the Abbot, and suspected that a similar atrocity was being planned for Paris. She ran away, and fell into the company of some young Huguenots whom Steven Taylor had befriended. She told them of what she had heard, and they tried to warn Admiral de Coligny, France's most influential Huguenot. She helped Steven get into the Abbot's household, where he was surprised to find that the elderly cleric looked just like the Doctor. She went on the run with him after he became hunted by both the Catholic forces and the Huguenots, who now suspected him due to his belief that the Abbot was the Doctor. Anne took Steven to the apothecary shop of Charles Preslin, where he was reunited with the Doctor. On learning the date, the Doctor sent her away, telling her to keep off the streets for a few days.
Later, in the TARDIS, Steven learned of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre, and believed that the Doctor had sent Anne to her doom. However, he soon met a girl whose name suggested that Anne might indeed have survived.

Played by: Annette Robertson. Appearances: The Massacre (1966).

  • There is a fan-theory that Steven might have slept with Anne, which would make him Dodo's ancestor. Had Anne given birth to a son, and remained unmarried, this would explain how the surname got passed down.

C is for... Chantho

Last surviving member of the Malmooth race - blue-skinned bipedal creatures with insectoid features. They had lived in vast cities - known as Conglomerations - carved out of the rock on the planet Malcassairo. She assisted Professor Yana in the human outpost which was set up on the planet at the end of the universe, around the year 100 Trillion. The Professor was trying to help these last survivors of the human race reach a place known as Utopia, where other survivors might be found.
Chantho's people had a ritualised way of speaking - she prefaced everything she said with "Chan-" and ended it with "-Tho". Presumably this is where she got her name from, or it may have been that other Malmooth topped and tailed their conversation with parts of their names. Martha at one point got her not to do this, but she found it rather embarrassing to do so.
The Professor had decided that he wasn't going to go with the humans when they left, and the fiercely loyal Chantho would have stayed with him. However, Yana turned out to be the Master, having used a Chameleon Arch to turn himself into a human in order to escape the Time War. Once he opened his fob watch and became the Master once again, he turned on Chantho, attacking her with a live power cable. As she died, she was able to shoot him - forcing him to regenerate.

Played by: Chipo Chung. Appearances: Utopia (2007).

  • Chung was able to return to the programme the following year, without any prosthetics, as the Fortune Teller in Turn Left
  • Ironically, she features in the TV series Into The Badlands as a character called The Master.

C is for... Chang Lee

A young man who was a member of a street gang, in San Francisco, 1999. He and some friends were ambushed in an alleyway by a rival gang. Chang Lee was saved by the sudden materialisation of the TARDIS. He witnessed the rival gang members shooting down the Doctor. He accompanied him to hospital where he took possession of his belongings, after claiming to be a friend of his. When the Master took over the body of the ambulance driver, Bruce, he sought out the boy. The Master was able to win him over, claiming that the Doctor was evil, and had stolen the body intended for him. Chang Lee then assisted the Master in tracking down the regenerated Doctor, who was being helped by Dr Grace Holloway.
In the TARDIS, Chang Lee started to doubt the story he had been told, and came over to the Doctor's side. The Master killed him, but the TARDIS was later able to bring him back to life. The Doctor advised him not to be anywhere near San Francisco the following New Year, and Chang Lee was allowed to keep the bag of gold dust which the Master had earlier given to him, so he could start a new life.

Played by: Yee Jee Tso. Appearances: Doctor Who (The TV Movie) 1996.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Story 181 - Gridlock

In which the Doctor decides to take Martha on a second trip. Once into the past, and now once into the future. He selects somewhere that he has been to recently - the city of New New York on the planet New Earth, some 30 years after his last visit. Martha is not impressed that he is taking her to a place where he took Rose. Nor is she impressed with the location of their landing - a rain-swept alleyway. She asks instead if they can go to see his home planet, but the Doctor shrugs this off. A number of wooden booths spring to life. They contain people selling Moods - drug patches which stimulate emotions. A young woman buys some "Forget", as she is sad that her family have gone away to the Motorway. The Doctor is puzzled as to why this should cause her such distress. Suddenly, a young man and woman appear and abduct Martha at gunpoint, dragging her away. They are apologetic, claiming they need a third passenger. The Doctor informs the people in the booths that they will close business immediately - or he will do it for them - before giving chase. He goes through a door and finds himself in the Motorway.

This is a vast tunnel, filled with identical van-like vehicles. The smog is overpowering, but the car nearest him opens and he is invited in. On board are Thomas Kincade Brannigan, a Cat Person, and his human wife, Valerie, along with their children. These kittens were born on the Motorway, and Brannigan explains that the traffic has been in a permanent jam for decades. Vehicles only manage a few feet per day if they are lucky. The Doctor tells them he needs to find the vehicle that Martha is on. Brannigan has friends on social media, and the Cassini sisters - really a married couple - identify the car she is travelling in. As it has three people on board, it is allowed to go down to the Fast Lane at the bottom of the tunnel. Brannigan and Valerie are frightened to follow even though the Doctor makes three, as they have heard disquieting rumours about this lane. Martha, meanwhile, has found herself captive of Milo and Cheen, a friendly young couple hoping to get work outside the city.
In the city itself, the Face of Boe knows that the Doctor has arrived. He is being looked after by Novice Hame, who had earlier tended him at the hospital of the Sisters of Plenitude. She sets out to find the Doctor.
He has decided to travel down to the lower traffic levels by dropping down through the intervening cars. He reaches the level above the Fast Lane.

Looking down into the dense smog, he sees that the base of the tunnel is infested by giant crab creatures, which he identifies as Macra. They thrive on the toxic gases. They also attack vehicles which use the Fast Lane. This is what is happening to Milo and Cheen's car. Novice Hame arrives in the car containing the Doctor and teleports him to the senate house in the city, where he is reunited with the Face of Boe. Hame explains that a new Mood patch was developed some years ago - called Bliss. It mutated into a virulent plague which wiped out the city. The Face of Boe was able to close off the Motorway - trapping everyone down there until the plague had abated. It is keeping the Motorway running, but is now dying. It uses the last of its energy to help the Doctor open up the tunnel, so that the cars can fly up into the now empty city - including the one with Martha on board. She goes to the senate house and meets the Doctor, Hame and the Face of Boe, whose tank has now shattered. Hame had once told the Doctor of a prophecy - that the Face would impart one final secret to a traveller without a home. The Face tells the Doctor: "You are not alone" before dying. The Doctor leaves Hame to help the Motorway people resettle the city, and takes Martha back to the TARDIS. He decides that she deserves to know the truth about what happened to his planet.

Gridlock was written by Russell T Davies, and was first broadcast on Saturday 14th April, 2007. It is the third and final part of a Year 5 Billion trilogy which began with The End of the World, and continued with New Earth, all featuring the Face of Boe. Davies was inspired by the traffic jams which typify a traditional British Bank Holiday. As a fan of the comic 2000 AD, he also wanted to show a cityscape similar to Mega-City One. The driver of the last car visited by the Doctor - a man in a business suit with bowler hat - is based on Max Normal from the same comic, and the computer interface who talks to the Motorway denizens - Sally Calypso - also derives from a 2000 AD character, in the Halo Jones strips.
Davies needed a monster to lurk in the bowels of the Motorway, and instead of coming up with a new one he found one ready made - the toxic-gas breathing Macra from the 1967 story The Macra Terror.

The main guest artist is Ardal O'Hanlon as Brannigan, best known as the dim-witted Father Dougal in Father Ted. There were no problems with covering his face in prostheses, as he has such a distinctive voice. He's now the head policeman on the most dangerous island in the Caribbean (having taken over as lead in Death in Paradise). Valerie is Jennifer Hennessy. Playing Milo and Cheen are Travis Oliver and Lenora Crichlow. He was a regular on Footballers' Wives (and has played a companion from the New Adventure novels for Big Finish recently), whilst she is best known as the ghost housemate Annie in Being Human.
Anna Hope returns as Novice Hame, and Struan Rodger once again voices the Face of Boe.

Story arc: Well, it is a sequel of sorts, so several links back to the two earlier stories mentioned above.
No mention of Harold Saxon per se, but the Face of Boe's last words will be prophetic for the concluding episodes of this season.
The Japanese couple have "Bad Wolf" written on a poster in their car - in Japanese.

Overall, I have always had a soft spot for this episode. Macra aside, the Doctor has a technical challenge to solve, rather than defeat a monster or villain. The plot is slight, but the characters are interesting, and the visuals are great. Often rather moving, it's hard to watch without getting a tear in the eye.
Things you might like to know:

  • Doctor Who has usually shied away from religion, but in this the Motorway inhabitants have their resolve boosted daily with a hymn. We see everyone singing along to The Old Rugged Cross, and the episode ends with Abide With Me. To think that this comes from the writer who included a "No Religion" ban on Platform One, set in the same time zone. Interesting that a particular religion has survived 5 Billion years - specifically Christianity. Were other faiths covered on days we didn't see? More likely, some religions have set up on planets of their own.
  • If you think New New York looks a bit like Coruscant from the Star Wars prequels then you'd be right to do so - the Mill took inspiration from these, as well as The Fifth Element.
  • The couple who get killed in the pre-credit sequence might also look familiar - being the pair from the famous painting American Gothic (Grant Wood, 1930). Fans of the Rocky Horror Picture Show will certainly recognise this.
  • The director is Charles Palmer, who is the son of actor Geoffrey Palmer, who everyone thinks is married to Judi Dench. Palmer pere was in The Silurians and The Mutants, and will be back at Christmas 2007 captaining the spaceship Titanic.
  • Davies liked action to move up and down - hence the number of lift shaft scenes in his stories, and this inspired the Doctor's descent through the various cars. One of the cars contains the programme's first naturists.
  • The Cassini sisters (Bridget Turner and Georgine Anderson) become the series' first gay married couple. Turner was married to Frank Cox - director of The Sensorites, and the second half of Edge of Destruction.
  • Talking of The Sensorites, the Doctor describes Gallifrey just as Susan did in that story.
  • The idea for the Mood patches came from one of the first new novel tie-ins for the 2005 series - Only Human, by Gareth Roberts.
  • This was the 727th episode of Doctor Who - thus overtaking the 726 episodes of Star Trek. The Trek count included all of the franchise - DS9, Voyager and Enterprise as well as the original 3 seasons and their animated cousin.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Inspirations - The Ark

Briefly called "The Space Ark", this story is the first to feature a woman's name in the writing credits. Such a pity that she never actually wrote any of it. The given authors are Paul Erickson and his then partner Lesley Scott. Scott may have thrown some ideas into the mix, but Erickson was sole writer.
The idea of a massive, generational spaceship was one of producer John Wiles' earliest notions for the programme. After he and Donald Tosh commissioned this story, they moved on. Wiles retains producer credit but the making of the episodes fell to his replacement. The new producer behind the scenes is Innes Lloyd - reluctantly, as he hates science fiction - and the new story editor is Gerry Davis, who still receives on screen credits to this day, thanks to a certain biomechanical race he co-creates in a few month's time.
The other day I watched a rerun of When Worlds Collide - the 1951 George Pal movie. In this, a rogue planet and a star are found to be hurtling towards the Earth. The planet will pass by, causing the sort of disturbances that would cause a Silurian to take to hibernation. A plan is hatched for a number of spaceships to carry a small number of people and animals to the new planet before the star strikes and destroys the Earth. In this instance, these space arks only have to travel a short distance to their new home. The Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolovsky had written in 1928 that the future of the human race depended on it upping sticks and going to a new home which had a longer shelf life. Stephen Hawking is saying the same thing today.
In The Ark, we also have the destruction of the Earth, but this time it is supposed to be the natural end of the planet, millions of years in the future. We all know that the sun will expand, but here it is claimed that the planet will fall into the sun. We only see it smoking.
A new home has been identified - Refusis II - and the whole population of Earth is going there. Most are miniaturised and in hibernation for the voyage, as it is supposed to take 700 years. Going along for the ride are the Monoids - mute monocular reptilian beings who sought refuge on Earth, and whose origins are obscure.

The TARDIS arrives on the Ark just as it is about to embark on its journey. The crew meet the human Guardians who will stay awake during the initial stage of the voyage, followed by their descendants. The ship lands in the area where plants and animals dwell - and Dodo, on her first trip - thinks that they are in Whipsnade Zoo. She has a cold, and this starts to affect the Guardians and the Monoids, as well as Steven. This far in the future - the 57th Segment of Time - the common cold no longer exists, and there is no immunity to it amongst the space travellers. We then have a couple of episodes in which the Doctor has to come up with a cure. This is reminiscent of the middle part of The Sensorites. The cure is found, and the Doctor and his companions leave as the Earth is destroyed and the Ark sets off for Refusis II.
Back when this story was broadcast, the programme did not have distinct story titles and episode counts. Viewers did not know how long an adventure was going to last. There had been a couple of two- and seven-parters, a lot of four- and six-parters, plus the massive 12 part Dalek epic. You only knew you had moved on to a new story when the TARDIS left and arrived somewhere else, and a different writer's credit appeared.
So it would have come as a surprise to those watching when, at the end of part two, the TARDIS materialises back in the same location.
It turns out that Dodo's cold has had consequences. This is the first time the programme has shown that the Doctor's travels can have an impact after he and his companions have moved on. Once the show starts to have sequels, this will happen more often, though the best example is a story which is a follow-up to an unscreened adventure - The Face of Evil.

700 years later, the Monoids have taken over, enslaving the Guardians. There are human collaborators, whilst the rest are safely locked up in the Security Kitchen. (Later, one of Salamander's enemies will be held in a makeshift Security Corridor). A kitchen seems a strange place to hold prisoners, what with all the cutting / chopping / skewering / burning implements they usually contain. Perhaps they don't use these any more, as new potatoes and chicken wings can be created by dropping a pill into a pot of water. The Monoids can now talk, by means of a device around their neck, and they have heat prod weapons which the humans helped them develop. Why they thought they needed weapons is anyone's guess.
Bizarrely, the humans have not altered their outfits in 7 centuries. I know things can come back into fashion, but this is ridiculous.
The reversal of roles seems to be payback for the first couple of episodes, though at no time do we see the Monoids enslaved in any way. Yes, they seem to be assigned some of the more menial tasks, but they are hardly slaves. The Commander certainly sees them as friends.
Some have tried to read a race message into the Human / Monoid situation. It is hardly apartheid or segregation. Rather, the Monoids are asylum seekers, welcomed to Earth as refugees.
The second half of the story is a more straightforward evil aliens runaround. Monoid One plans to kill the humans and take the new planet for the exclusive use of his own kind. The planet isn't uninhabited, however, and the invisible Refusians help the Doctor and the humans whilst the Monoids almost wipe each other out in an internecine struggle.
The Doctor and his companions depart for the second time, leaving the humans and the Monoids to co-exist on the planet, alongside the Refusians.

Up until 2005, this was clearly Doctor Who's depiction of the end of the world. Then Russell T Davies wrote The End of the World. This clearly looks entirely different. There is no mention of an Ark setting off for a new world, and the planet blows up as the sun is allowed to expand after being kept in check. The Ark must show an earlier evacuation of the planet, and fandom has looked to the events of The Mysterious Planet for the answer. In this, the planet is moved by the Time Lords, resulting in a fireball wiping out the surface. This might be what happens here - meaning that the High Council of Time Lords at least gave the population a bit of warning.
In The Ark, the Doctor states that it is millions of years in the future, rather than billions. The internal dating - those Segments of Time - doesn't help us. The Commander seems to think just about everything the Doctor has seen fits into the first segment. The Daleks are mentioned - but we don't know which Dalek adventure he is referring to.
The Guardians are a wet lot, and you can't help but think of Douglas Adams and the Golgafrincham B Ark, full of all the people the planet wanted rid of.
To end with, a quick word about the new companion. Dodo is supposed to come from the north of England, and was scripted as such. The powers that be objected and insisted that she speak with more of an RP accent. As such, Jackie Lane's accent wanders a bit, and at times she does sound a lot more Northern, though its hard to tell as she does a lot of "'oldin' the dose" cold acting.
Next time - fun and games for Steven and Dodo, but the Doctor isn't feeling himself.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Well that was an Experience...

So the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff has now officially closed its doors. I read today that they ended with a marriage proposal taking place. None of that sort of thing yesterday when I went.
For a weekday afternoon, after the kids have gone back to school - and their parents are back at work - it was extremely busy. This is no doubt due to the fact of the closure. There were people from the US and from around Europe, judging from the accents I overheard, as well as people like me who just wanted to catch it before it went.
I went to Cardiff on a day trip, by coach - so that meant about 7 hours total travel time, with 7 hours in the city. Arriving late morning, I had time to spend an hour or so in the Welsh National Museum - which has often doubled as Britain's National Museum in London, in both Doctor Who and the Sarah Jane Adventures. It also featured as the 3W establishment in Series 8's finale. From the outside, it looked like they were filming a new Doctor Who story - but it was just a gimmick to lure people into a dinosaur exhibit.

The weather along the M4 had been atrocious, but Cardiff remained warm and sunny all day. I therefore decided to walk down to the Bay, rather than get the water taxi, which you can pick up in the park next to Cardiff Castle. On my walk, I saw a number of people coming in the opposite direction, and the plastic bags full of merchandise showed that they were mostly coming from the DWE.
I arrived in good time for the 2.30 - 3pm admission slot, so made use of the Experience's cafe for the last time. They had moved a lot of the costumes and props from the foyer which I had seen the last time I was there. Remaining was the facsimile of Matt Smith, and a number of cast hand prints, as well as the big red Lego Dalek.

As mentioned, the place was busy, and mostly adults. In the area where you wait to go in to the "adventure" part of the Experience were a number of props and costumes relating to the Time Lords, as the theme of the adventure is the Gallifreyan Museum. There was the 1983 version of Omega, some Time Lord robes and collars, Timothy Dalton's Rassilon outfit, and that worn by the TV Movie Master. There was also a Key to Time. I shan't go into detail about the actual adventure section. Hopefully a new Experience will open in another location one day. Suffice to say it involves Daleks, Weeping Angels, piloting the TARDIS and Time Squids, with specially shot footage of Peter Capaldi in various TARDIS console rooms showing as you move from section to section. Despite the fact that it was closing, there was still a camera / video ban in force, though this is as much about safety and the need to move folks through before the next lot are allowed in.
Once through, I entered the main exhibition space, where you can snap away to your heart's content.

The downstairs section hasn't changed much, being dominated by a number of TARDIS console room sets - the one created for An Adventure in Space and Time, the one which premiered in The Five Doctors, and the Eccleston / Tennant one. Bessie was till there, along with a variety of Police Boxes, and K9. Also here is the green screen area where you can get a picture taken, superimposing you on a TARDIS set, with 3D specs or screwdriver accessories. By the AAISAT TARDIS were a number of props from this drama - including a Menoptra and a Dalek, plus the first Doctor Who annual cover mock-up. As this area had not altered since my last visit, I headed upstairs to where the main costume collection is housed.

On my first visit, I mentioned how sparse this area was, and hoped that more older costumes could be brought in. Well, someone must have been listening. The collection has obviously grown with each new series, and many of these costumes are still present - grouped together on stands. As I had already captured these on previous visits, I only took a few new snaps - the Skovox Blitzer, the Mummy, the Sandman, Scarecrow, Ood, Abzorbaloff, Peg Dolls, the Teller, and so forth.

Images of these have featured in posts of my previous visits. What I really wanted to see were items from the most recent series, and the creatures from the classic era of the programme. Regarding the latter, I was pleased to see that there were a large number of new exhibits. Recently added have been the Morbius Monster, and a Mandrel - which I had read about. I was pleased to see a number of other costumes present from the 1980's. On one stand stood a 1983 Sea Devil, next to a Tractator, a Cheetah Person, a Vervoid head, and a prone 1983 Silurian. The Sea Devil mask was badly worn, and the poor Silurian had to be displayed lying down as it was in a dreadful state of repair.

This stand was located in a corner where a number of other classic monsters were arranged. There was the Web of Fear Yeti, an Ice Warrior, Linx the Sontaran, the K1 Robot, a Zygon and the Melkur, and next to them were the Mandrel and Morbius, along with a Tetrap.

The Cybermen have a stand to themselves. All are from 2006 onward, save for a lone Earthshock model. Two Davros's flank a video of Mike Tucker talking through the refurbishment of the Morbius and Mandrel costumes - the Terry Molloy version and the white-domed Emperor version. The Dalek casings are lined up to form a corridor to take you through to the final section where the new series additions are housed - first passing a third Davros, in his infirmary set.
The highlights of the new costumes are the Mondas Cybermen, plus some hospital patients, and the Ice Empress. There are a couple of Monks as well, in a cage. The rest are costumes worn by the Doctor, Bill and Missy in a number of stories, plus a range of spacesuits from Oxygen and Empress of Mars. There are two Emojibots - one standing, and a damaged version. Bizarrely, the wooden lady from Knock, Knock was stuck in a dim corner, though you could get your picture taken with your face through a hole, making you look like you were part of a wooden wall. One of the Movellan costumes was also on display.

I should add that there was yet another TARDIS console room on view - this time on the upper floor. This was the 1970's one which ran from The Invisible Enemy through to Enlightenment.

The exit was, as always, through the gift shop. As the DWE was closing down, this was quite sparsely stocked, but still doing good business. The three Daleks that were in the foyer last time had been moved to the shop.

And that was it. I sincerely hope that a new venue can be found for the Doctor Who Experience. Even if they skip the adventure section, some sort of exhibition should be housed somewhere. Back in March I went to the O2 to see the Star Wars Identities exhibition. This has also closed now, but it is moving up to Edinburgh. Perhaps some sort of travelling exhibition might be an idea - though a lot of the older costumes would not be able to make the trip by the looks of them.
A few more images to end on... I neglected to tag previous DWE visits, to make them easier to locate on the blog, so I am going to rectify this later.