Doctor Who has called the Welsh city Cardiff home since the show returned in 2005. And now more than 11,000 fans have signed a petition to ensure at least one publicly accessible aspect of the series sticks around past this summer.
The online rally was created by Doctor Who fan Bex Ferriday who fears BBC will shut down the Doctor Who Experience attraction soon when a five-year lease with Cardiff Bay expires. One of the biggest attractions fans of both Doctor Who and especially its Torchwood spin-off might recognize at Cardiff Bay is the Wales Millennium Centre, which has served as the backdrop of many scenes in the modern take on the franchise.
In her plea for signatures, Ferriday admits there are “many, many more important things out there,” but that the Doctor Who franchise has become a “global institution.”
“Cardiff’s Doctor Who Experience brings much in the way of tourism to an otherwise socio-economically deprived area, gives local people jobs, does much to improve the economy … let’s face it: In these dark post-Brexit days, we all need some escapism.”
Exactly what kind of financial impact the Doctor Who Experience makes in Cardiff is not clear, as no data is available.
However, even a petition might not be enough to save the attraction. A Cardiff council spokesman told Wales Online the land under the Doctor Who Experience is owned by the Welsh government, and that the relocation of the museum to Cardiff always was meant to be just temporary.
“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.”
Cardiff Bay has become a regular stop for Whovians looking to see not only where they’ve found some of their favorite characters in the past, but also because the studio where Doctor Who is filmed – Roath Lock – also is located there.
The redevelopment of Cardiff Bay, particularly Porth Teigr, has been an ongoing project by the Welsh government and the land development company Igloo for a number of years now. The goal, according to Igloo’s website, is to turn what was once one of the busiest ports in the world, into a mixed-use development of both business and homes.
Igloo has not shared what plans it has for Doctor Who Experience site.
Ferriday told the newspaper, however, that she still holds out hope.
“I think the deal has been done, but my message to people who have signed the petition is that we want to have something, a smaller version, somewhere in Cardiff.”
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