Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Doctor Who Festival 2015

Back in November, I was lucky enough to get my hands on tickets to the Doctor Who Festival at the London ExCel. The event spanned three days but we booked for the Saturday only, heading down for the night on the Friday evening.

Staying in a hotel just yards from the venue, it was only a short walk in the stormy conditions battling through the rain with a pretty dodgy umbrella on the Saturday Morning ready for the days festivities.

So we started the day with our first theatre session, which included a panel made up of Mark Gatiss and Kate Walshe. However this was cut short due to our photo sessions with Jenna and Peter Capaldi up next. We had definitely learnt from the previous Doctor Who convention two years previous and made sure we had plenty of time to find the photo rooms. So much so that we were in fact, first in line. Getting up to the photo rooms early was a great decision, as they happened to be located opposite the press rooms. Whilst we sat on the floor waiting for 11am to strike, Peter Capaldi, yes, The Doctor himself, came striding around the corner with his team. However, the press weren't quite ready for him, so he ended up waiting on the other side of the corridor to us. It was so crazy, The Doctor, stood opposite us and I was too nervous to go over! He had his big Doc Martens on, and he had obviously spotted myself and Luke admiring his presence as he smirked over at us, but the next thing we knew he was called in and out popped Jenna Coleman, who had a selfie with one of the festival signs and hurriedly headed around the corner before anyone could see her.







So we were let into the photo room, and waited for Jenna to make her appearance. It wasn't long before she entered the room and I felt Lukes heart flutter ten to the dozen beside me. He wanted me to go first, (probably so he could be in her presence for a while longer) so I walked up, asked her how she was, gave her a big hug, told her I'd miss her in Doctor Who, posed for a photo and thanked her before moving on to collect my photo... its amazing what you can cram into a couple of seconds! She seemed very rushed compared to the last time we met, but it was probably down to the HUGE queue that was forming behind us. You can read all about the first time I met Jenna at Collectormania 2013, here.




Next, we ran around to the photo room next door where Peter Capaldi was having his photo shoot with fans. This queue was a little longer so we had to wait a while on our feet whilst everyone had their time with the main man himself. There were SO many cosplayers in the room, most notably an exquisitely dressed Missy, who myself and Luke were very impressed by. Anyway, about 20 minutes later we were called over for our photo with Peter and the nerves finally kicked in as I locked eyes with The Doctor. He asked how we were, shook our hands, asked our names (of which he kept calling me "Kally" -  I need to learn how to pronounce properly, especially when I'm nervous, but even so, it sounded so great in his accent!) and asked whether we wanted a Doctor Who type "posed" photo or just a "normal" one, to which we agreed the latter and Peter quipped "Good, I love a normal one!" Really pleased with how the photo turned out, and really impressed with how humble Capaldi was. I didn't think anyone would be able to beat Matt Smith, but Peter is definitely level-pegging. This was undoubtedly the best moment of the day!


Following this, we headed into the main hall and decided to queue up for our pre-booked photo on an "iconic" piece of set from series 8. My guess when I purchased these tickets was that the photo would be in the most recent TARDIS console room. But no, instead we scampered into Clara's front room and took a seat on her sofa. This photo makes me laugh so much as it looks like we are proud owners of our new house, having our first photos in our front room. All that is missing is a glass of Prosecco and a packet of Rice Tea biscuits!


Next we spotted Davros' hospital room set piece from series 9, which myself and Luke both agreed would have been the better option for an on-set photo and definitely worth a fiver! We queued up for a while and were grouped with about 15 other people. Each group were briefed not to touch any of the set, health an safety etc and were directed down into Davros' lare for about five minutes each to take as many photos/videos as required. This was great, except there were really too many people allowed in at once. It was hard to get a shot without other visitors walking past the lens or accidentally photobombing a selfie.








Next we went for a wonder around the set pieces and props where I was hoaxed into a Mire's helmet. This was a heavy piece of machinery, luckily the stunt guy was on hand to help balance it on my head! Seriously though, I commend the stunt guys for walking around in these things day in day out on set, they weren't the most comfortable objects!





Following on from this we headed into the writers panel, with appearances from Head Writer Steven Moffat, Sarah Dollard (who's credits include S9 favourite 'Face the Raven') and Peter Harness (S8 'Kill The Moon and S9 'The Zygon Invasion'/'The Zygon Inversion'). This was a great talk, as we delved into the imaginations of three of the best writers on the show. I particularly liked hearing from Sarah following on from her success in her first ever Doctor Who episode 'Face The Raven', and how she came up with using the idea of a Trap Street.




The final panel of the day was Meet the Actors, with appearances from Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez, Ingrid Oliver and Steven Moffat. All five of these guys were absolutely great, but I was really surprised of how fantastic both Michelle and Ingrid were! I've gained so much respect for them after really bringing the final panel to life with their banter before heading home. Missy is without-a-doubt my personal stand-out character of the last series! It must be great to work alongside such brilliant, witty people.













So it was time to grab our bags from the cloakroom and head home but unfortunately my moisturiser had decided to explode in my suitcase, covering pretty much all my clothes it could get to... so there I was...on the floor next to the cloakroom unpacking and drying everything I could (tops, jeans, underwear, pj's sprawled out in front of me!) When I see the four actors who I had just been admiring on stage strolling towards me... yep - Peter, Jenna, Michelle and Ingrid. Nobody else had spotted them and I'm there clinging on to a pile of wet clothes as they stroll past... Ingrid gave me a little smirk but I was way too embarrassed to ask for a photo... I just wanted the ground to swallow me up - Typical! But I dare say what a way to end the day!


So if you are an avid reader of my blog (if there are actually any avid readers out there please make yourself know - it would make my day!!) then you may or may not have noticed I have been having a bit of a break from the blog and my social channels. This started off as an intentional move so that I could focus more on my career and social/personal life, but then my career really did start to take over and I am *still* finding it difficult to find a spare moment or two to write. Which is good, I guess. I do love my job and the harder I work, the more I am growing as a person and as a career-woman. I am noticing my confidence start to blossom and I am starting to enjoy life a bit more (even if I am a workaholic)! However, I do intend to devote as much time as I can spare to this blog in the coming months, but you will have to bear with me until I can get the balance right again. I still have a list of blog posts I am due to write, so I really need to get on top of these, even more so because there is no Doctor Who to keep me motivated this year!

So I need you lovely lot to keep me inspired and I will repay you with a whole load of blabbing and Doctor Who related posts!

Thanks for bearing with me :-)

 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Return to Skenfrith - Amy's Choice

The third and final part of our trip down to Cardiff saw us take a detour on the way home to one of my favourite previously visited Doctor Who spots, the little village of Skenfrith.

Skenfrith doubled as 'Upper Leadworth' in Series 5 Episode Amy's Choice. Both times I have visited this village the weather has almost mimicked that seen in the episode - murky, dull and grey. Plus, there really hasn't been anyone around - which always freaks me out slightly - cue scary old aged pensioners. But that isn't to say the place isn't special - in fact I would love to live in such a peaceful little village with its own history and its very own castle. It really is a beautiful place, even under the dullest of skies, a real gem to visit.

You can read my previous post here.

This visit saw me equipped with my trusty iPad with the episode downloaded and ready to try and take some more accurate shots of the place - prepared, eh?!

The central point the town is built around is the ruins of Skenfrith Castle, which is free of charge to wonder around and park next to as long as there are no events.

It's really worth having a good wonder around as the crew captured virtually the whole village on film, so every where you look you can picture a scene from the episode.




As you can see, there are only minor changes made to the village for the filming such as the white fence around the old peoples home, the park on the green area next to the castle and extra benches and plants dotted around. But you can definitely recognise every aspect of the village as what you see on screen.


Luckily no-one was creepily peering through the windows at myself and Luke! It would be good to know if the interior also doubled up as the old peoples home for the episode.



A lot of the village is used in the episode, so it is well worth going for a wonder around the area. You will recognise a lot of it as Upper Leadworth!



See more footage of the village in the video I captured here:-

Anyway, I hope you can gather a better picture from the village from these series of photos and film. Its so lovely to visit so I definitely recommend it even though it is slightly off the beaten track. Any questions about getting there let me know.

So this post has been a long time coming, and before I can even catch my breath its the Doctor Who Festival this weekend! Who's going?! I am heading there on the Saturday in the Cyberman stream. Let me know your plans. Right now I'm trying to figure out what to wear... I am very much looking forward to meeting Peter Capaldi for the first time and I managed to get my hands on Jenna Coleman photo opp tickets too so I shall be meeting her again which I am very excited about as it will be the last time to meet her as the Doctors companion. 

So what have I been up to...? Well I am still working in marketing which is pretty excellent, and I've just turned 25... which has made me feel super old. I mean, if I went for the X-factor I would be in the "overs" category... and that's kind of depressing. 

Its been lovely to write here again, blog to you again soon!