Hello dear Internet 🙂
As promised, I am going to recap my adventures at the Doctor Who Festival last saturday. Yay!
Okay, first off, adventures is probably not the right word, the closest we came to an adventure was getting one of us (there were three of us in total) into the festival on friday’s ticket (she’d accidentally booked friday instead of Saturday). In the event it was really easy to get in, the lady called her boss and after like a minute we were all allowed in! I think it helped that there were three of us and she wasn’t alone.
We got to Gatwick airport at 10pm U.K. time, and by the time we got to my relatives we were staying with it was about 11.30pm. In the morning we left at about seven, to get to the ExCel centre in time for the door-opening.
Once we were in we went to a show about the prosthetic effects and how the monsters are designed with Mark Gatiss (he’s one of the writers and sometimes actors) and Kate Walshe who is one of the head prosthetics — artists? Anyway they spoke mainly about monsters and how they are made, which was very interesting. They also got two of the designers up and had them design a monster on the spot, a parasite that lives off the part of your brain you’re not actively using, so if that ever shows up in an episode, I will have been there when they invented it which is pretty cool :).
After that we went straight to another show about the physical special effects, which includes, as we were told, explosions, snow, explosions, rain and explosions, among other things. They showed us how they shot five arrows into the bulls eye one after another in “the robot of sherwood” by shooting two arrows into a cyberman cardboard cutout. At which point an actual cyberman came out and they got a small doctor with a sonic screwdriver up and made a spark go off on the cyberman when the little doctor pointed it at him.
Directly after that there was another talk thing in the same place titled “impossible worlds” which I initially thought would be about how they design the worlds in Doctor Who, but which was actually more about a book titled “impossible worlds” which two of the artists in the art department have brought out about the designs, which was also interesting, just not quite as interesting as I’d thought it would be :P.
In between shows there was a lot to look at: there was a TARDIS made out of lego bricks (an actual full scale TARDIS that is), there were Daleks you could take pictures with and there was a lot of merchandising going on everywhere. We got lunch and our pre-ordered festival t-shirts, which have a really cool design, then went on to the next fixed point, Drama School: Act Like A Monster.
There, the two guys who are the daleks, so the voice of the daleks and one guy who has been a dalek operator for a long time were there, and they got volunteers to do a scene with the daleks. Apparently being inside a dalek is really hard work, as you’re in a small space and have to move around this shell that weighs about 60 kg! They also have to remember lines, so they can flash their lights in time to the voice (which they aren’t doing themselves).
I have to add, that daleks are pretty intimidating when you’re standing right next to one, they’re about the same height as me (1.60m) and the first time I was up close to one it was kind of scary. Kind of :P.
The day was really full, we were trying to do as much as possible an so after the drama school we looked at some more shops and then went to the “meet the writers” show. It was really interesting and got me so hyped up for tonights episode, which I sadly won’t be able to watch until tomorrow or later this week as we don’t have a TV in our flat, but I’m sure it will be a great episode. It also might be Clara’s last episode, at least the trailer hinted that, and I’m sure that will get emotional, even though I wasn’t such a big fan of Clara to begin with. I think they really developed her character well and she and Peter Capaldi’s doctor definitely have better chemistry than Clara and Matt Smith’s doctor, so if she does leave this episode, I guess I will be sad to see her go. I really hope they write a good next companion; maybe a guy this time, that would be an interesting new dynamic. Okay, sorry kind of getting away from the point here, but it’s important stuff :P.
We stayed in the big hall after “Meet the Writers” because “Meet the Cast” followed on just half an hour later and there was no real point to go out only to come back in immediately. Of the cast Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver were there (the Doctor, Clara, Missy and Osgood) and it was really cool to see them, even if it was from a distance. I was really annoyed I missed the last episode before the festival, I was probably the only person there not to have seen it, and obviously they made references to it and how good it was, and wasn’t it an interesting decision to just have a ten minute monologue at the end of the episode? etc. When they weren’t talking about that episode though it was equally interesting and fun. They even had that night’s monster behind the sofa they were sitting on, so we got a sneak preview of the sandmen in “sleep no more”. I love the sandmen, they have such a cool design! At the end the audience were able to ask questions and some of them were really good (a small girl about 9, in front of us asked whether there would ever be a female doctor; I don’t think I could have thought that far when I was that age!) We were going to ask whether the sonic screwdriver would ever come back, but that girl’s brother asked whether Peter Capaldi preferred the screwdriver or sonic sunglasses, and we figured that was close enough to our question that we didn’t have to ask it. The answer, btw, was that he really likes the sunglasses, so I don’t see the screwdriver coming back anytime soon, which is kind of a shame, but the sunglasses are pretty cool. What was kind of weird was that those two children were sitting a few rows in front of us so when they asked the questions, we were on the big screen in the crowd behind them, which was kind of distracting! But also kind of cool 🙂
A super adorable moment was when a little girl asked a question (can’t remember what) and then added “I’ve got something for Jenna” and went up to the stage to give Jenna Coleman a present! It was so cute!
After that we had half an hour in which we looked at the prosthetics stand, where there were several monster heads, and people getting zygon… circles? applied to them (no idea what to call them, sorry). And also a guy who was sculpting the brain parasite from the first show in clay. Then we went to the “Production Village” where they told us all about what a day filming looks like and how many people are involved (a lot :P), but you could tell that everyone was getting tired (it was four o’clock by then) because the clapping was a lot less enthusiastic than in the morning! But we also got an answer to one of the most important questions concerning Doctor Who: Does the sonic screwdriver actually make the sound, or is that added in postproduction? And the answer is:
It’s a soundless prop!
That honestly kind of blew my mind, especially because all the toy sonic screwdrivers (no I don’t own one myself) make the sonic screwdriver sound, so you’d kind of expect the real thing to do it to, but apparently that’s all post production!
After the production village we looked in the shops again (I bought a small figure dalek :)) and looked at the props and costumes on display, and also walked through the set piece they had set up (Davros’ chamber in “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar”) which was pretty cool.
Then it was already 6pm and the end of that festival day had arrived. To be honest, I wouldn’t have had the energy to go on much longer, but it was a lot of fun, and I would definitely do it again, but I would also definitely book a later flight out the next morning: our flight left gatwick at 9 in the morning, meaning we had to get up just after five to get to the airport in time!
So yeah, to conclude that long recap of the festival, it was a really really fun day and so worth it, I feel like my geek-level has gone up a lot and I have fallen even more in love with Doctor Who than I was anyway :). I leave you with the doctor’s speech at the end of “Zygon Inversion” 🙂