In April I received a phone call from BBC Worldwide asking if I’d be interested in rewriting some aspects of the Doctor Who Experience. Naturally, I was thrilled. I’d taken my niece and nephew there a couple of years before and we’d all loved it. And the chance to write for Peter Capaldi? Who wouldn’t say yes?
One thing we were all keen on, from the start, was that this should be even more of an adventure for the visitors. The BBC and the design company had a rough idea in mind (the TARDIS is attacked by a time virus) which I then fleshed out into a full-blooded story. Over the last couple of years, I’ve written a few short plays and I was keen to bring my experiences from the theatre into this. In fact, writing the script was much more like writing for theatre than for television. My first suggestion was that, instead of entering the Doctor Who Experience, you’re entering a real museum – all about Gallifrey. And it’s while you’re visiting the Museum that you, somehow, get caught up in the Doctor’s latest adventure. I want every visitor to feel how every companion feels on the day the Doctor comes crashing into their lives. I also suggested ways to change physical aspects such as the lighting and sound effects so that you really believe that you’re there. What was great about the job was that it really was a team effort – BBC Worldwide, the Doctor Who Experience guys, the design team – everyone worked together, making suggestions and bouncing ideas off of each other and my job was to bring it all together as one big exciting Doctor Who adventure.
Writing for the new Doctor was a challenge, as his episodes hadn’t aired at the time, but I was given a number of scripts and some clear guidance from the production team. Visitors should be warned – this is very much the Twelfth Doctor so don’t expect him to be all lovely and holding your hand. He’s not too happy that you’ve ended up in his TARDIS and, at times, you’re very much on your own!
Writing the new Doctor Who Experience has been a real joy and I just hope that the children (and the adults who’d rather be children, because let’s be honest, that’s when we had the best adventures) feel some of that buzz. I hope they live the adventure and really experience what it’s like to be in Doctor Who.
The revamped Doctor Who Experience opens today in Cardiff