Yesterday the BBC responded fully to Samatha’s blog complaint about her visit to the Dr Who Experience in April 2011.

Their email* (cc’d to Pesky People by the BBC and printed here with their full agreement) unreservedly takes on her complaints and they will address them fully including offering Samantha a return visit as their guest and a full refund for her and her party (of 7).

It is a fantastic result for Samantha and will not only benefit her but any disabled person visiting the attraction in future.

Pesky People has been really pleased to help, it is what we are here for. This really all started with a tweet from Samantha on Twitter.

Samantha says: “I’m delighted the BBC have taken my concerns so seriously and addressed them so comprehensively. I’m really pleased my experience with hopefully help other people have a great time at the Doctor Who Experience. Many thanks to Pesky People for the blog space and support, and thanks to everyone who shared the story.”

From: Philip Fleming, Head of Communications, Global Brands, BBC Worldwide
Date: 16 May 2011
To: Samantha
Alison Smith (Pesky People)

Subject: RE: Doctor Who Experience visit

Dear Samantha,

Thanks for contacting us and letting us know why you were so disappointed with your visit to the Doctor Who Experience recently. Without honest feedback and advice on what we are doing right (but more importantly about what we’re not doing right) we would be unable to improve the visitor experience to the attraction.

On behalf of BBC Worldwide may I just say how sorry we are that you encountered the problems you did on the day. The Venue Manager who provided you with the iPod Touch in error has apologised for any insensitivity caused and assures us, and you, that it was a misunderstanding and that absolutely no offence was intended by offering this to you or in asking for your driving licence as a form of identification.

However, having discussed the situation with our Head of Exhibitions and Events, it’s clear to us that the needs of visually impaired visitors at the Doctor Who Experience could be fundamentally improved upon.

Therefore, as a direct result of your complaint, we are taking the following steps:

  1. We will work with our booking agents to improve the level of support provided to people calling in relation to disabled access.
  2. We are organising additional staff training on site in order to better assist visitors who are visually impaired.
  3. Visually impaired visitors and their companions/carers will be invited to repeat the walk-through element of the Experience if they have been unable to enjoy the full effect of that part of the Experience.
  4. A visitor information guide in large print will be produced for the artefact section of the Experience which will include a copy of the accompanying text featured on all of the graphic panels from the exhibits.
  5. We will update the visitor information on our website to include more comprehensive information for different access requirements and to clarify any areas which may make the Experience less suitable for people with certain disabilities, such as the 3D film at the end of the walk-through element.
  6. We will investigate the possibility of providing an Audio Description tour of the Experience for visually impaired visitors.
  7. We have been in touch with Alison Smith at Pesky People regarding the Go Genie pilot programme and we are currently exploring how the Doctor Who Experience can participate in this programme.

We would like to implement as many of these changes as quickly as possible and our team are now working on doing just this – but do please appreciate that some may take slightly longer than others for logistical reasons. We will communicate all details of the changes to all box office, ticket agency and on-site staff as they happen.

Finally Samantha we think the true test of whether these changes will improve the Doctor Who Experience for visually impaired people would be a return visit and review by both you and your friends as our guests.

To date tens of thousands of people have stepped into the TARDIS and had a great day out. We’re hugely proud of the Experience and the majority of the customer feedback since we opened it in February has been overwhelmingly positive – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t always improve it.

We ran a series of pilot days ahead of opening the Experience, which involved a number of evaluations for customers with different disabilities and access challenges and we made some changes to better accommodate visitors with disabilities as a result. Clearly, we can do better. Your feedback on what we got wrong has already helped us make further improvements.

In any event, I’d like to offer you and your companions a full refund in recognition of the fact that your visit was not as enjoyable as we would have liked it to have been.

I will ensure you are kept fully aware of the adjustments as we make them and I look forward to welcoming you back in the very near future.

Kind regards,
Philip Fleming, Head of Communications, Global Brands, BBC Worldwide
Media Centre (2C6)
201 Wood Lane
London, W12 7TQ

* Personal details have been deleted from the above email. Text in bold has been added by Pesky People as part of the editing process