The British television network ITV has announced that it’s partnering with the BBC and Aardman Animations to develop a massive theme park around their various properties, such as Thunderbirds, a scifi show from the 1960s featuring puppets, and also Doctor Who.
We’re in a new golden age of media theme parks, which until recently had a stale whiff of early 1990s Planet Hollywood about them. Between the end of the TV show and the upcoming movie, a touring Downton Abbey exhibit kept the fandom activated. The filming locations for Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland are being retooled into the 110,000 square foot Game of Thrones Studio Tour. Disney is busily integrating Star Wars and Marvel into its parks, and of course let’s not forget the likely inspiration for this trend: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Well, while we’re in this moment, I have some parks that I, personally, would like to propose.
Masterpiece Theatre Park
Attractions will feature a Masterpiece Mystery escape room, a giant room where you can test out corsets and costumes from various eras, and of course a North and South factory tour. It will be—unfairly!—much less crowded than everything to do with Downton Abbey, but everyone there will be a true die-hard obsessive. Family fun that radicalizes!
As much as possible—on the backs of tickets and the sides of collectable extra-large plastic cups, interspersed into giant screens showing clips from landmark shows—there will be advertisements for Viking River Cruises.
I have elected to exclude Poldark from the Masterpiece Theatre park and propose it for its own attraction, because there’s just so much promise in the Cornwall countryside. A field with technically regenerating wheat so you can practice your threshing! A ride through a tin mine!
Really this is less Disney, more like one of those zombie fun runs, except you are married to someone who looks like Vincent Price and you are trying to outrace his mother/sister/aspiring paramour through the overgrown grounds of a truly alarming haunted mansion.
Jane Austen’s Regency World
Basically, take everything you can already do in Bath, England, and dump it onto the grounds of a stately home purchased off a minor aristocrat who just desperately does not want to pay the heating bill anymore. Tea with an actor portraying the character of your choice! English country dance lessons! Is this essentially the plot of Austenland, the under-appreciated 2013 comedy starring Keri Russell? Yes. Is that a problem for me? Absolutely not.