CARDIFF – If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you have already seen a lot of pictures and message from our latest adventure. We were invited to attend to the official Doctor Who Convention and this is going to be the report of that amazing week-end.
As you may know, I’m a storyteller; I’m used to write novels and the Comic Who scripts, so I’m not exactly a journalist and what I’m going to do with this article is to write a story, a story about two guys who falled into the Doctor Who universe and survived to tell what they saw.
I know, you may feel unconfortable with this kind of report, so you can go to the end of the post (right before the gallery) where you will find a lot of links to other reviews that may suit with your interests.
When the Convention was announced, back in November, I’ve asked for a press pass. Well, this is not exactly a website with Doctor Who related news, we only publish strips, but we wrote a review to the Doctor Who Experience last year and I was already planning to write one about the Convention, so why not to try. I’ve talked for a while with the great guys at BBC and finally I was put in contact with Emma (Senior press officer at BBC Worldwide), you will read her name several times in this post because she’s the woman who realized our dream and we absolutely love her. Anyway, she garanted us the press passes and so our adventure begun.
The whole thing was organized as a single day experience (well, two days if you want to attend to the TARDIS tour, but we’ll talk about this later) and you had so many things to do that you finally understand the real meaning of the “run-thing” like you’re the new Doctor’s companion. The “Panels” were the main attraction and you would enjoy the convention just attending to them, but there were a lot of side activities that made it absolutely perfect.
The convention was held at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff with the main auditorium used for the panel sessions and with the various rooms hosting the other activities like the Special Effect Studio and the Lost Episodes Talks. The side entrance hosted the Prosthetic Demonstration with the DW make-up artists showing us how to “create a Silurian”… uhm, Silurian, did I tell you that I was threathened by a Silurian at the entrance? I know that it was just an actor, but I found it pretty scaring!
There was also a sort of museum of prosthetics and outfits from the recent series of the Doctor (well, the Zygon wasn’t so recent but hey, we love old stuff!). I’m quite sure a lot of them came directly from the recently colosed Doctor Who Experience, but I was very happy to find them again and to take some pictures with the Weeping Angels.
The MissionLike every good role playing game, we had also a secondary mission. As you may know, we held a contest in these days and the main prize is a clay figurine of our tiny Smithy. Chiara Cavalli, the amazing artist who made it, just asked us if we could deliver a copy of the model to Matt Smith himself! I nearly fell off my chair when she asked this and I wasn’t sure how to do it, but she worth it so we decided to try and we brought the “package” with us at the Millenium Centre.
We purchased the photography opportunity with the stars, but I knew that it would be impossible for us in that occasion to give him anything, mainly because there wouldn’t be enough time, secondly because I think there would be a couple of snipers ready to shoot if we only would try to give him anything (I’m joking of course, there was a single sniper outside the window, a very kind person if you know him well).
The solution came when we went to take our press passes. There we met Emma, a very kind person who accepted to give to Matt the figurine in our place… and then we realized that we forgot Smithy in our hotel room so… RUN! Got a taxi (which in Cardiff are extremely cheap), reached the hotel, got the figurine and then back to the convention! Emma didn’t only delivered the “package”, she also sent us a picture of Matt with his new gadget; she told us that he loved it and he also showed it to his parents who were at the convention too. Epic win!
After one of the greatest queue I’ve ever experienced, we found ourselves sat down in the main auditorium (after all that run, a bit of relax). Three panel sessions were scheduled during all the day. Meet the Stars, Creators & Directors and Doctor Who Uncut. I will not spend a lot of words about the first panel, mainly because you can find the video of the whole session right after this chapter (and a LOT of pictures in the main gallery of this article), but it was very funny and I loved how Matt, Karen, Arthur and Steven interacted with each other and with the auditorium. Lot of questions asked by the public, but one in particular took a place in my heart. Some guy asked to Moffat: “Are you going to film any episode in UK locations?” The Moff-face was priceless!
Creators & Directors was very interesting, but I have mixed feelings about this panel. It began with a video with scenes from “The Girl Who Waited”, a wonderful but extremely sad episode from last season. The whole panel was dedicated to this single episode. It was very interesting to take a look to every step from the script writing to the phisical realization of the props.
The writer Tom MacRae explained us how the idea of the quarantine world came out and and the explanation of how they came out with the hand-bot and how they were made was great, but that’s all! An amazing “ALL” of course, but we sat down for a full hour listening them talking about a single episode. Why call the panel CreatorS & DirectorS when we only had a look to that single beautiful episode? I’m a writer, so I would have enjoyed a discussion between different writers or different directors! Anyway, this is just my opinion, and I have to admit that, concentrating to a single episode, they had the occasion to give an in depth view of the whole creation process.
The last panel was Doctor Who Uncut, but I really have to be honest, the only thing I can remember and I found interesting was the trailer to the new season. The following is a video we took during the first panel and it features the whole talk, have a look:
[vid site=”youtube” id=”S79LmrbVWbg” w=”853″ h=”480″]
The Press Conference
Having a Press Pass, we were able to access to a closed press conference with Matt, Karen, Arthur and Caroline Skinner (Executive Producer). It was a bit scaring because actually I felt out of place for all the time. Anyway we had a great occasion and we didn’t want to wast it.
We found ourselves in a small room with two rows of empty chairs (yep, we arrived quite early) behind the stage which was going to host Matt and company. Ok, I really didn’t expect the conference to be so “intimate” and the tought of being so close to the actors quite killed me; I wasn’t even sure to be able to ask a question. Other people (real journalists/blogger… not like me ç_ç) arrived and we felt a bit mor comfortable. Emma was there too and she gave us the picture of Matt with his Smithy figurine… a feeling of uncontrollable happiness was rising inside me so I was able to make some question and I also had the courage to ask Matt himself his toughts about our gift. You can find the text of the whole interview on the SFX website and you can watch an extract of the conference in the player below (it includes also Matt’s reactions about the Smithy figurine):
[vid site=”youtube” id=”TmOP51LtlMQ” w=”853″ h=”480″]
It doesn’t happen every day to see a Dalek running a marathon or to pay your respect to Ianto’s simulacrum! If you are a Whovian, Cardiff is a world of magic and the Convention was the perfect place to live that magic. Meeting the stars, taking picture with the props, walking inside the TARDIS (believe me, you really feel that it’s bigger on the inside) , walking around the console and playng with all that stuff you have only seen in your favourite episodes or simply being examinated by a Judoon. Everything was perfect, a true Whovian experience made more exciting by the Press pass we were gifted! Maybe all that magic in a single day (two days if you attended also to the TARDIS Tour) is too much. In the end we were exausthed, but it worth it! I’m looking forward to the next edition.