Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Days 82-83: Doctor Who in London

Yesterday I wrote about the shows I saw in London; today I'll talk about the Doctor Who events I attended (the convention on Friday, and the cinema screening in Leicester square.) This leaves the general sightseeing/appraisal of London (and the majority of my photos) for tomorrow. 

Firstly, I'm glad that I went down to London for the anniversary. Everyone in St. Andrews seemed to think travelling seven hours was a little ridiculous, but it was definitely worth it, especially with everything else I did in London. Going to the convention and watching the episode with hundreds of other fans in one of London's main cinemas definitely increased my excitement for the show.

The queue to get into the convention
Friday was convention day. While it ran all weekend, each day was basically a repeat of the others, so I only got a ticket for Friday. I bought my ticket months ago, back in Canada, and they sold out in a few hours, which is crazy considering there were thousands of people there just on Friday.

That was the only downside to the convention- the sheer number of people there. I arrived at about 9:15 with the doors due to open at 9:30, but with the huge queue I didn't actually get into the convention room until after 10. Once in, it was a big squeeze to get anywhere, especially by the shops (there was basically anything imaginable for sale... I just bought a tardis notebook. So original.)

Panel with the current cast/crew
There were three main panels throughout the day. The first was called 'Regenerations' and it featured three of the old doctors (Colin Baker, Peter Davidson, and Sylvester McCoy). The second was my favourite, since it involved the current actors (Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman) and head writer (Steven Moffat). Finally, the third featured the special effects director, who demonstrated a number of the explosions and stunts they did on the show.

Other than the panels, there were lots of things going on in the main hall. There were two main stages with smaller panels (I went to one run by Big Finish audio, which records doctor who audio dramas, and I got to go up on stage and read part of the script), a smaller special effects demo, and sessions with the choreographer who taught us how to walk like Doctor Who monsters.
Panel with Big Finish audio

The best part of the day was towards the end, when people started to clear out. Up till then I had been feeling a little bit distanced from the whole thing-- with thousands of people there, I never got near any of the actors, much less had time to talk to them. But as people started to leave, I got the chance to talk to a number of people with smaller roles or behind the scenes jobs.

David Tennant's suit, and the spacesuit from
'Silence in the Library'
A bunch of trailers were set up with hair/makeup and costumes, so I got to take a look at the actual costumes used in the show. The highlight was definitely getting to handle the jacket that Tennant wore in 'The End of Time' when the Master burned a hole in the front of his suit. I also really enjoyed talking to the hair stylist who was in charge of Tennant's hair, because he was actually a good friend of Tennant's, and he had lots of good stories.

Nicholas Pegg, myself, and Barnaby Edwards.
The best part was when I had quite a lengthy conversation with Nicholas Pegg and Barnaby Edwards, the two main actors who play the Daleks. They were both really friendly, so I and another couple people just stood in a circle with them and chatted about various things, not always doctor who. It was actually quite bizarre because it felt so normal, like they were just other doctor who fans, but then every once in awhile they would mention some part of an episode that they were in and it would suddenly strike me that I was actually talking to doctor who actors!

I left the convention at 7, after most people had already gone. The huge hype from the day left me really excited for the anniversary episode, which aired the next day (Saturday) and was simulcast in cinemas worldwide.

As I said before, I got to watch the episode in Leicester square, which is apparently where a lot of movie premiers happen. All I know is that the cinema had two showings of doctor who on that night, so the building was packed with people in long colourful scarves or tardis blue dresses. The audience was really excited, always ready to laugh or cheer. It was almost like watching it with friends.

Before the episode they aired a couple short clips. A character from the show (Strax the Sontaran) came out to instruct us on proper cinema etiquette (keep a low volume when consuming liquids and nutrition packs) and then Matt Smith and David Tennant came onscreen (huge cheers for Tennant) to talk about 3D and how that would make Smith's chin stick out of the screen.... Smith also had a long rant about how there were zygons in the theatre, but apparently our 3D glasses were equipped with Zygon detectors. It was all good fun, and made it worthwhile to watch the show in cinemas rather than just on TV.

As for the episode itself, I loved it. I won't go into any details (spoilers!) but it was exactly what I wanted from the special: funny, intense, full of inside jokes, moving forward yet looking back, cameos, and just generally a good plot. I had really high expectations for the episode, and it completely met them.

All in all, the Doctor Who aspect of my trip to London was definitely a success. After all, there's really nothing better than leaving the Doctor Who theatre and stepping out not into ordinary real life, but into London, with people everywhere and Christmas lights across every street, and Trafalgar Square right behind you...

Don't blink!

Jenna Coleman at the autograph booth.

Cyberman queuing 

The crowd waiting for the panel



The Great Intelligence

The Doctors' costumes

Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred, Donna's grandfather)

Winston Churchill. :)

Old TARDIS console


  1. this is amazing. i was there on fri and it was just like that. perfect for those that weren't able to make it

  2. I'm glad you had a great time! I'm dying to know how they deal with the regeneration controversy given the established rule of the limit of regeneration and Matt Smith being established as the 13th Doctor.