BBC launches first ever Doctor Who VR experience - and it's free

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by Mark Johnson

A brand new Doctor Who virtual reality experience has been launched which lets fans step inside a VR version of the TARDIS for the first time.

Doctor Who: The Runaway, is out for free in the UK today on the Oculus Store, Vive Port and on the BBC VR App, and can be viewed on a range of VR headsets, the BBC said.

Jodie Whittaker voices an animated version of the Thirteenth Doctor, who recruits the viewer as her unlikely assistant in a race against time to return a strange and potentially dangerous creature called Volta to his home planet. 

Virtual sonic screwdrivers

Armed with their own sonic screwdriver, it’s down to the viewer to help the Doctor as she faces the forces of evil in this immersive VR story.

“Fans will find themselves at the centre of this wonderfully animated story, helped by the natural charm and humour of Jodie Whittaker, in an adventure that really captures the magic of Doctor Who”, said Jo Pearce, creative director for the BBC's digital drama team. 

“Viewers truly are in for a treat - for those who ever dreamed of helping to pilot the TARDIS, this is your opportunity!”

VR Who?: Doctor Who gets the VR touch in the TARDIS

Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, said: “This is the most ambitious project yet from our team in the BBC VR Hub, and the result is a magical adventure that Doctor Who fans everywhere will simply love. 

“It also shows the enormous potential that virtual reality has for creating new kinds of experiences that appeal to mainstream audiences.”

Various versions

Doctor Who: The Runaway is available for UK audiences to download for free in two versions. The immersive interactive version is available from the Oculus Store and Vive Port for use on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive with a runtime of 13 minutes. 

The 360 degree video version is available to download from the BBC VR App for the Oculus Go and GearVR with a runtime of 11 minutes.

Featuring new original music from series composer Segun Akinola, Doctor Who: The Runaway has been written by Victoria Asare-Archer and directed by Mathias Chelebourg, whose previous VR includes Alice, the Virtual Reality Play and The Real Thing VR. 

It has been produced by the BBC’s digital drama team, BBC VR Hub and Passion Animation Studios.

Fans who don’t have headsets at home may be able to catch Doctor Who: The Runaway at their local library, as part of the BBC VR Hub’s tour. 

To find out if your local library is showing it check this online schedule, which is being updated each week with details of where the tour is heading next.

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