While the US has it’s world famous Disneyland, a place several of your 4YE staff have been hanging around this year, myself included… there is news afoot that England is to get something just as large and pivotal.
The BBC has formed an alliance with London Resort Company Holdings and Paramount Pictures to bring to life a theme park showcasing the best of British culture. It is thought that iconic shows such as Doctor Who, Sherlock and Top Gear will have attractions. No doubt kids will definitely catered for with perhaps some In The Night Garden (which would be the equvilant of Disney’s It’s a Small Word Ride on a drive you insane scale of one to let me off this boat!) and Postman Pat . Personally, I hope to see The Wombles given a nod as well.
Along with the British themed rides, there may also be rides based on the Hollywood studio’s blockbuster franchises including Star Trek and Transformers. Paramount also holds the rights to Sponge Bob Square Pants, Tin Tin, and Kung Fu Panda which would all make fantastic themed rides for more European audiences. I wonder if they will also cash in on the mega popularity of their Marvel Cinematic Universe, seeing as Thor The Dark World was set in London for a lot of the earth-bound action. At this point in time, however, the BBC said it could not confirm which shows will be developed into rides as negotiations are at an early stage.
Director of live events at BBC Worldwide, Stephen Davies, said: “We’re always looking for opportunities to extend fans’ enjoyment of their favourite shows and the idea behind this resort is a really exciting way of celebrating the very special place the BBC has in British culture.”
The park has been planned for some time: in November, the BBC announced on its site the plans were on display and the parties involved have held public consultation meetings in the areas of Dartford and Gravesham.
The resort style park is going to be situated on the Swanscombe Peninsula, near Dartford England. That location places the park about 20 minutes from London and only 2 hours from Paris.
At this stage, the park is just over 5 years away with it currently schedule to open at Easter 2020, the developers said. It is being placed on a former cement works site. The company expects that in total the development will create up to a whopping 27,000 jobs.
The theme park is hoping to follow the same success as seen by Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tours, in which visitors can experience all the magic of the world of witchcraft and wizardry and go behind the scenes of the hugely popular film.
There is a Doctor Who experience in Cardiff in Wales where you can tour the Tardis set and have a regeneration experience as well as go on walking tours around the city to visit filming locations.
When discussing the new venture director of London Resort Company Holdings David Testa, said: “The BBC has played an instrumental role in shaping the British entertainment industry for nearly a century, creating some of the most iconic and cherished characters on TV and radio.
“It seems only right therefore that its programmes will be present at the new London Paramount Entertainment Resort, which will combine the glamour of Hollywood with the best of British culture.”
As well as the rides and themed attractions, the resort will have an indoor water park, cinemas, restaurants and hotels over a 400-acre site.