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article imageDoctor Who’s TARDIS lands at London Heathrow Airport

By Mathew Wace Peck     Jul 17, 2013 in Travel
London - As of Tuesday, passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport are to be treated to a number of Doctor Who-themed experiences, following a deal with BBC Worldwide to help celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary.
Included in the experience will be TARDIS photobooths and augmented reality experiences from the drama series. The TARDIS – in the form of a 1960's blue police telephone box – is in fact the Doctor's space–time machine. And, according to Radio Times, a Cyberman took over the airport earlier today, in order to promote the deal.
Yesterday, travellers through Heathrow’s Terminal 5 found themselves being played music from Doctor Who during special performances by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Elsewhere at the airport, the well-known author Jenny Colgan – who recently published her first Doctor Who novel, Dark Horizons – was on hand to sign copies of her book.
It’s all part of the BBC’s efforts to celebrate internationally Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary. The iconic science-fiction TV series was first broadcast on Saturday, 23 November 1963, with William Hartnell being introduced as the Doctor in a story by Anthony Coburn entitled An Unearthly Child. Eleven actors have played the Doctor in the intervening years, including Matt Smith, the current TARDIS incumbent.
Susan Goldsmith, Heathrow Terminal 5’s Operations Director said in a statement issued by the airport’s media centre, “I am delighted that Heathrow has been chosen to host this much loved British iconic series. With visitors from over 180 destinations worldwide, as the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow offers a fantastic opportunity to bring the Doctor Who experience to an international audience this summer.”
And Steven Moffat, Doctor Who ’s current head writer and executive producer, is also delighted at “another extension to Heathrow's world-beating facilities – all of space and time in a stylish blue box, complete with phone. Heathrow with time travel – nobody need ever be late again.”
Smith announced in June that he will step down from the role in this year’s Christmas special, and the hunt for the Twelfth Doctor is currently ongoing. He or she is expected to be announced in the next few weeks, just prior to Smith’s filming of his last episode. If the actor playing the new Doctor is indeed a woman, as many have suggested, she will be the first female to officially play the Doctor. Sheridan Smith (Jonathan Creek), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch), Helen Mirren (The Audience), Miranda Hart (Call the Midwife), Vicky McClure (Line of Duty) and Zawe Ashton (Case Studies) have all been tipped as possible contenders.
Male actors whose names have been mentioned include Rory Kinnear (Count Arthur Strong), Eric Lampaert, Russell Tovey (Him and Her), Harry Lloyd, Ben Whishaw and Aneurin Barnard (The White Queen).
This isn’t the first time that Heathrow has linked up with Doctor Who. Back in 1982, when Peter Davison was playing the Doctor, the TARDIS was loaded on to Concorde at Heathrow Airport, in Time-Flight, the first time any drama had been allowed to film there. In another first, the 1967 Doctor Who story, The Faceless Ones – which starred Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor – was filmed at London’s Gatwick Airport.
Doctor Who returns to TV screens on Saturday, 23 November 2013 – exactly fifty years to the day that the first episode was broadcast in the UK. Smith and his immediate predecessor, David Tennant, will be joined by John Hurt, who is playing a hitherto unspecified incarnation of the Doctor.
More about Doctor Who, Heathrow, Matt smith, terminal 5, Steven moffat
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