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Centre of the Who-niverse!

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CARDIFF became the Doctor Who capital of the universe this weekend as thousands of fans descended on the new Doctor Who Experience.

Up to 3,500 excited fans visited the centre for the first time, ensuring the BBC-run experience's opening weekend was a firm sell out.

And while adults and children alike explored the Tardis and ran screaming from monsters like Weeping Angels and Daleks, the gift shop was overrun with fans keen to take home a memento of their favourite Doctor.

Philip Murphy, managing director of live entertainment for BBC Worldwide, said t-shirts featuring doctors and monsters from the TV series through the ages had been flying off the shelves.

Action figures, mugs and DVDs also proved popular.

Sell-out crowds on Friday and Saturday and an expected 1,000 visitors on Sunday meant that by the end of the weekend up to 3,500 people had walked through the centre's doors.

And with adult tickets at £13 and a family ticket costing up to £46, the centre, on the shores of Cardiff Bay, has already brought in tens of thousands of pounds.

Mr Murphy said: "I am really pleased with the way the opening weekend has gone and we are looking forward to a lot more people coming over the coming weeks.

"We have already seen a lot of visitors from overseas, some of whom have come especially to see the Doctor Who Experience.

"There is also a broad age range among the people who come, from children who only know the Matt Smith doctor to those of a certain age who go back to the days of John Pertwee and Colin Baker.

"Some people from overseas know the modern Doctor Who and come here to research the history of it.

"We have had visitors from Canada, Australia, America, Poland, France, Germany and many other countries. Some of them were in Cardiff for the Doctor Who convention in March and have returned for this."

He added: "A lot of overseas visitors are in the UK for the Olympics and have made the trip to Cardiff to see the experience.

"People come for different reasons and are looking at different aspects of what is here. We try to satisfy everyone."

Dean Cooper, 45, made the trip from Nottingham. As he browsed in the shop, he said: "I go back as far as the time when John Pertwee played The Doctor. This is a very good show and well worth the money.

"I enjoyed the interactive part at the beginning and the kids seemed to like the 3D section. I would certainly come back to see it again."

David Simmons, who was visiting friends in Cardiff from his home in California, said: "The show is on in America but I can't say I watch it all that often.

"But after seeing this excellent show, I might well become a regular viewer.

"I suppose you could say it was out of this world."

WHAT THE FANS THOUGHT OF THE DOCTOR WHO EXPERIENCE ¦ Sebastian Bregazzi, eight, of Thornhill, Cardiff: "It was brilliant, exciting and very funny. I wasn't scared, but my mum was. She found the Weeping Angels scary, but they were great. I liked being in the Tardis when it began to shake." His mum Gaynor said: "His mouth was open in awe all the way through. He really enjoyed it." ¦ Marc-Anthony Gross, of Whitby, North Yorkshire: "I've been a Doctor Who fan for ages and can remember when John Pertwee played The Doctor. It was a fantastic experience which really has something for all age groups. Entering the Tardis for the first time was fantastic and took you into a different reality. I would visit again."

Martin Williams, 40, and his wife Jane, 49, of Caerphilly, took their nine-year-old son Josh to see the exhibition. Luke Hoogstadt, 15, of Penarth: "I have been watching Doctor Who since Christopher Eccleston played the part. Standing in the Tardis was great and the forest of angels was scary. At the beginning we noticed what we thought was a crack in the screen. It did turn out to be a crack and the screen opened and we entered a different world. That was really cool."

Martin said: "It was very good. There was Imogen Loakman, 16, from Dubai: "We get Doctor Who on television in Dubai although I watch the DVDs. I am visiting such a lot going on that it kept you alert and interested all the time. It's very good value for money and we all enjoyed it. We enjoyed having our photographs taken with the costumes." Josh said: "I liked the Weeping Angels and I wanted to go round again."

Wales and took this opportunity to come and see the experience. I'm glad I did. It was very realistic. The Weeping Angels are probably my favourite, although the 3D section was also very good. It really captures the atmosphere of the programme."

GRAPHIC: Young fans visiting the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay which opened this weekend

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  • APA 6th ed.: Collins, Peter (2012-07-23). Centre of the Who-niverse!. South Wales Echo p. 14.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Collins, Peter. "Centre of the Who-niverse!." South Wales Echo [add city] 2012-07-23, 14. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Collins, Peter. "Centre of the Who-niverse!." South Wales Echo, edition, sec., 2012-07-23
  • Turabian: Collins, Peter. "Centre of the Who-niverse!." South Wales Echo, 2012-07-23, section, 14 edition.
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