Friday 22 September 2017

10,000 sign petition to save Doctor Who Experience from closure

The Doctor Who Experience moved from London to Cardiff, South Wales, in July 2012, and always intended to be open for just five years
The Doctor Who Experience moved from London to Cardiff, South Wales, in July 2012, and always intended to be open for just five years

An interactive experience that allows Doctor Who fans to follow the Doctor on an adventure through time and space is set to close after nearly five years.

But 10,000 avid followers of the long-running BBC show have signed a petition calling for the popular attraction to be saved.

The Doctor Who Experience (DWE) moved from London to Cardiff, South Wales, in July 2012, and always intended to be open for just five years.

Now that its allotted time is nearly up, Bex Ferriday, 46, from Splott, in Cardiff, set up a petition on Change.org in a bid to keep the exhibition in the city that she says is the science fiction show's "spiritual home".

She said starting the campaign was partially motivated by her feelings over the Brexit vote and the election of President Donald Trump because she "felt like one of the few things that made me happy was going to be taken away".

"The DWE brings a lot of footfall to Cardiff, and with that comes income," she said.

"Making a conscious decision to stop that income from coming into Cardiff is, at best, counter-intuitive and, at worst, business suicide."

Ms Ferriday said her motivation was not just financial: " Then there's the fact that Cardiff has become the spiritual home of Doctor Who. It's filmed here. Fans of sister show Torchwood still maintain a shrine to Ianto Jones.

"And the messages I have had from disappointed fans around the world see Cardiff as a place of pilgrimage, with the DWE the Whovian equivalent of the Wailing Wall or Mecca.

"And while that may sound daft or over-dramatic, it just highlights how much Doctor Who means to us all."

As of Tuesday afternoon the petition had been signed more than 10,000 times.

A spokesman for the City of Cardiff Council said the land occupied by the DWE was owned by the Welsh Government and its development partner, Igloo Regeneration.

He said: "It was leased to the city council for five years to enable the relocation of the Doctor Who Experience from Olympia to Cardiff on a temporary basis.

"It has always been the intention for the site to be developed as part of the ongoing Porth Teigr regeneration project.

"The agreement was always intended to be for five years only, reflecting the nature of the attraction.

"The decision to close the Experience at the end of the lease next summer has been mutually agreed by all parties involved, including the operators BBC Worldwide. "

BBC Worldwide has not yet responded to a request for a comment.

Press Association

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