Although ‘crazy fan projects’ can occur at any time during or after a show’s run, a significant date is often the best time to do something if you want to be attention seeking, as a pair of American Doctor Who viewers demonstrate with their planned project.
Florida-based fans Robert Doyle and his daughter Alex claim that they have raised enough money to launch a replica version of Doctor Who‘s time machine, the TARDIS, into space on the sci-fi drama‘s 50th anniversary date of 23 November 2013.
Having reached their initial goal of $33,000 (£21,000) through an ongoing funding campaign on Kickstarter (where donors are being offered rewards such as a ‘Keep Calm and Orbit On’ TARDIS t-shirt, and reserved data space on the TARDIS’ hard drive), the Doyles have revealed that they have the working mini-replica concept that would be launched into low orbit on the payload of a commercial rocket.
With any additional funding that the pair receive before the campaign ends (29 June), the replica will be upgraded with a number of additional features, such as a camera hanging outside the solar-powered TARDIS to take pictures that are sent back to viewers on Earth via antenna. It has also been announced that should they end up with over $382,000 (£244,000), a full-sized police box replica will be sent up.
Robert said of the project: “I was always a Doctor Who fan in school – I wore a Doctor Who scarf. Tom Baker was my favourite – he was always The Doctor to me. The bug caught on in an infectious way so we wanted to do something to celebrate the show we both enjoy so much. We mentioned putting a TARDIS into space and our first thought was that it was a ridiculous idea. But at the same time it was definitely appealing so we looked into it and saw we weren’t going to be burdened with the cost. Now we have exceeded our budget we can do things that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise – make a bigger TARDIS, put a camera on the outside for ‘selfies’ and so on.”
The campaign is also set to become the subject of a documentary, with the pair behind the idea due to make a more concrete schedule and set of idea once the Kickstarter expiry date passes and a ‘decided budget’ has been declared.
Robert added of the reception that his family’s plan has received: “The campaign finishes at the end of June and then we will have our budget in mind. There will be a list of all the messages posted on the website inside as right now there is only one-way communication from the TARDIS back down to Earth. I just can’t wait to see pictures of the TARDIS up in space it’s so exciting – people have been so generous and we’re really grateful we’ll all be able to enjoy this together.”
The tribute will certainly be a noticeable one in the coming months when it arrives, and given the show’s track record for ‘special effects’, it will be at least be much more of a ‘real’ experience than the show’s attempts at depicting space travel in the TARDIS…
And while it appears as though the Doctor Who fandom is not exactly well-liked by others, the ‘TARDIS in space’ stunt appears to be a fitting tribute that the hardcore fans of other time travel franchises should be inspired by and seek to follow. If our calculations are correct, that next tribute should probably come on 26 October 2015, and needs to at least include a DeLorean, a remote control, and some terrorists… and will probably be a repeat of something that has already been done: