I Am An Addict To Doctor Who: Time Fracture And Dreading Withdrawal

I visited the immersive Doctor Who: Time Fracture experience for the press days during lockdown as the show was struggling to stage its delayed opening. But then I returned again, and again, as a paying punter. Although not paying as much as I should. There are a few very minor spoilers below, but nothing I think should spoil anyone's experience of the show. Which has only a few weeks left, so you know, at this stage there is not much left to spoil.

I Am An Addict To Doctor Who: Time Fracture And Dreading Withdrawal
Inside Time Fracture – photo by Rich Johnston

The show, taking place near Bond Street station, is meant to be a UNIT Davies Street location, which is the focus of a time fracture that has been getting more and more unstable. Attendees have been sent by the Doctor to enter the time fracture and try and put things right. The fracture enables all manner of Doctor Who canon to criss-cross, and pile up on each other. It is also part of the Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious cross-media storyline, with high Gallifreyan politics, and Brian The Ood. But none of that is necessary to enjoy and fully participate in the show.

I Am An Addict To Doctor Who: Time Fracture And Dreading Withdrawal
Inside Time Fracture – photo by Rich Johnston

The first time I used my younger daughter as an excuse. We went to the court of Elizabeth, and she was delighted that I was forced to dance for the court and engage in a Suitor Dating Game for Queen Elizabeth's hand in marriage (the Doctor had run off on her), before being whisked off to the hovel of Leonardo Da Vinci, it was all a bit confusing, but we muddled through, watching stuff happen around us with Gallifreyan agents, Ood assassins, Cybermen suddenly appearing and arriving on Gallifrey – where I met the new incarnation of Romana, tasked with trying to bring sense to Gallifrey, and suddenly I was five again.

I Am An Addict To Doctor Who: Time Fracture And Dreading Withdrawal
Inside Time Fracture – photo by Rich Johnston

I wanted to go back, to see what other paths I could take and maybe clear up some of that confusion. So I went again. This time I went to the Black Archive, before being taken on a run around with an architect, dealing with a pig alien trader, travelling back to the court of Elizabeth avoiding the talent contest, and then William Shakespeare, where we pretended to be bailiffs, taking a quill for bartering and opening up the tomb of the Cybermen that we had previously seen. This time I switched sides of Gallifrey and fought against Romana.

I Am An Addict To Doctor Who: Time Fracture And Dreading Withdrawal
Inside Time Fracture – photo by Rich Johnston

I went a third time, this time not telling anyone. I was going to volunteer early on this time, and I was given a note to pass to someone trapped in the past – and I knew who that would be. That took me to be in Shakespeare's office when the bailiffs came calling, work with Brian The Odd assassin, meet Davros and acquire a Time Lord gun to kill a Gallifreyan agent.

I Am An Addict To Doctor Who: Time Fracture And Dreading Withdrawal
Inside Time Fracture – photo by Rich Johnston

But I still haven't engaged with that agent enough, so I am going back again this week. This will be my fourth time and I doubt it will be enough. I keep going back, time after time, living the Time Lord life, crossing my own timestream, trying to find different routes through what is an insane interactive experience. The performers are on point throughout the show, have superb improvising skills within their characters, and genuinely seem committed to every single person having a fully immersive experience.

I Am An Addict To Doctor Who: Time Fracture And Dreading Withdrawal
Inside Time Fracture – photo by Rich Johnston

But it appears that the show will be coming to an end. There will be a number of factors; COVID-19 shutdown happened just as the show was kicking off and, more than any usual theatrical experience will have been hit by this, given the close proximity of audience members and actors. The ticket price is high, especially if like me, you don't feel you get a totally fulfilling experience the first time and feel the need to go back for more. But I have taken advantage of some serious deals on Central Tickets so I pay less than a central London cinema ticket, for a far more engaging two hours than any film could offer me. But even outside of those very specific time offers, tickets have been generally discounted from around £60 to just £20,  But I guess they can't survive on those discount rates, my addiction to Doctor Who: Time Fracture may have been the very thing that doomed it.

I Am An Addict To Doctor Who: Time Fracture And Dreading Withdrawal
Inside Time Fracture – photo by Rich Johnston

Doctor Who: Time Fracture sees you travel through time, trying to stop the very thing that causes the event that lets you travel through time. It is a glorious paradox. Maybe my returning to Doctor Who Time Fracture – maybe others also doing what I have done, at cheap rates – may have been what has brought it to a close.

Inside Time Fractue - photo by Rich Johnston
Inside Time Fracture – photo by Rich Johnston

I am going again next week for the fourth time. I can't help myself. I want to try and get involved with the Gallifreyan Time Lord's story. Maybe try and get to Skaro, which I have just heard about. And see what the Sisters Of Karn were on about when I rushed past them. I am Bad Wolf, I created myself…

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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