I attended a preview of The Doctor Who Experience today. Great fun. One of those “interactive” exhibition experiences that are par for the course these days; not nearly as bland as the Star Trek one in Hyde Park that I went to in 2003, but not quite as full on as Alien War in Piccadilly Circus that I went to in the mid-nineties. And it had one unique moment that very probably was far more to do with me watching the programme itself over the years than any state of the art special effects or immersive technology.
That’s not to say that the technology wasn’t impressive, because it was. But the unique moment was in my head.
It was right near the beginning of the show. The Doctor (Matt Smith in a specially recorded sequence) was on a screen in the room in which me and 19 (?) other participants were currently. The TARDIS landed (quite simply but cleverly done) and on screen the Doctor exhorted us to get on board. Up until this point I’d been enjoying the experience in a fairly detached and adult manner.
Then the TARDIS doors opened. This was the point at which something briefly awoke in my head. I was walking into the TARDIS. Part of me that had been sleeping for decades was jumping up and down with excitement in my medial temporal lobe. I was walking into the TARDIS. Something which as a child I had fantasised about until my cortex bled. I was walking into the TARDIS.
No sooner had this frisson of emotion had entered my head than it was gone, evaporating as soon as I’d stepped through the blue Police Box doors.
But for those brief few seconds the Experience had worked miracles.