Monday, 26 March 2012

Doctor Who Convention 2012, Cardiff

 Hello everyone, hope you’ve had a lovely weekend, sorry I haven’t posted in a week, I’ve been so busy, can’t wait for all these assignments to be over and done with! I've got one week left of lectures for my second year though so I suppose that's exciting, but kind of daunting!
 So like over a thousand other people, I headed down to Cardiff this weekend to attend the first ever Doctor Who Convention. It was an amazing day with so much to do; there was never a dull moment. It was held at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, from 9-6pm on the 24th and 25th of March.  
 First stop of the day was the Creators and Directors panel with a writer of many episodes including ‘The Girl Who Waited’ Tom MacRae and producer Marcus Wilson. There was also a cameo from a Handbot ;)
 From here, we noticed it was incredibly busy getting into the special effects studio, so we opted for the props and costumes room instead, which I thought was awesome. The Weeping Angels were one of my favourites, along with the outfits of the doctors and his companions.
Donna Noble, River Song, Amy Pond and Rory Williams
Don't Blink.
9th, 10th and 11th Doctors Costumes
Once we had finished here, we wondered down to the main registration desk in order to meet some of the other actors from Doctor Who. Here we met Mark Sheppard who played Canton and Simon Fisher-Becker who played Dorium, both from Series 6. They were both happy to chat, pose for photos and sign things for us; they seemed like such lovely people, it was a joy to meet them. 
Mark Sheppard and myself
Simon Fisher-Becker and myself
Next, we had a little wonder but then decided on waiting for our photo opportunity with the main man himself, Matt Smith. I was shaking with nerves as I saw him walking towards the door and straight past us in the queue, waving and greeting his fans. He then took his spot and began having pictures with us lucky lot. He welcomed every person enthusiastically and he even noted the smartness of my boyfriends clothes (yes, the boyfriend wore a bowtie)!
 Next, it was my turn. He welcomed me with a huge smile, so I went in for the hand-shake. He said it was ‘lovely to meet me’ and we posed for the photo. He did his signature ‘peace-sign’ pose so I joined in, noticing how much my hand was shaking as I raised it up, and how I couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear as he put his arm round me and the camera flashed a few times. He then looked down at me as I said how lovely it was to have met him (at this point I didn’t want to let go of him haha) he thanked me for coming and rubbed my back (?!- I think he could tell I was so nervous and shaky!) I then whisked away to grab my bag! 
After phoning my mum and calming down, myself and the boyfriend headed back to the main registration desk to meet Raquel Cassidy. She played Cleaves in Series 6 ‘The Almost People’ and ‘The Rebel Flesh’. She was so lovely, and happily climbed onto the desk to have a photo with everyone! We chatted about Matt Smith, and some of her previous work. 
Next, it was the ‘Meet The Stars’ Panel, with Caroline Skinner, Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Here, we learnt a lot about the actors and their relationships, watched clips of them in action and heard them answer the audiences questions. My photos aren't great from this section, but I have uploaded a clip to YouTube clip here:- 
Straight from here, we were told to remain in our seats for a special treat during the ‘Doctor Who Uncut’ session. Here we learnt interesting facts about the behind-the-scenes making of the programme. Nearing the end of the discussion, Barnaby Edwards, the conductor of the session, announced how there were some special guests in the audience. And, sure enough, Matt, Karen and Arthur had secretly joined the tier above for what was to be an exclusive sneak preview of Series 7. It looks amazing, and even more amazing was that we got to watch it twice because Matt Smith wanted to see it again! And it also looks like the Daleks are making a grand return… It was posted on the official BBC website earlier today, so here it is, let me know what you think!
Our next venture was the autograph session with Karen Gillan. She greeted me cheerfully as I said how lovely it was to meet her and how much I was going to miss her when she leaves. She let me take a beautiful photo of her as well, I wish I looked like her! Matt Smith was sat next to her, it was amazing being in front of them both! See below for a pic of me getting Karen's autograph.
My final part to the day was the Tardis Tour. It was incredible, I felt like I was in another world. I didn’t think we would be able to stand on the platform let along touch anything, but the workers were happy enough for us to have a good play around with everything, and offered to take lots of photos. I’ve included some of mine below, along with a Youtube video from inside the Tardis, here:-
And to top of the day, we headed to the Blue Box CafĂ© at the base unit and the boyfriend bought me a customised Doctor Who muffin! 
I had a fantastic weekend, and I do hope the BBC plan other Doctor Who Conventions in the future, as I believe this one was a huge success, and rightly so. I’m currently feeling down that my Doctor Who day I have been looking forward to for months is over, but I know that I have the pictures and memories to keep forever. Here's a few items I picked up throughout the day:- 

Thanks for reading and I’ll blog to you all soon x

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Bad Wolf Bay, Neath Abbey, Barry Island and More!

So after enjoying our first night in the lodge after spending much of the previous evening in the hot tub, we decided to venture out for our next few locations on a sunny Saturday morning.

About 10minutes away from where we were staying was Craig-y-nos Castle hotel, which was used in David Tennant’s episode Tooth and Claw. This was where Queen Victoria and the Royal Party arrived at Torchwood House, and the Queen later founded the Torchwood Institute. It is a beautiful building surrounded by exquisite views, altogether a lovely visit. Parking is found alongside the front of the building or in the car park, straight through the front gates. Any pictures I have used are courtesy of the BBC.
Next, we hopped back into the car and travelled down to Neath. We had trouble finding the location as we could not find a suitable postcode for the site, so relied on road signs to guide us the way. As it turned out, the site was parallel to the main dual carriageway, and if we had peeled our eyes a bit better we would have noticed it straight off. 
The site is free to enter, and another beautiful location. Parking can be found right outside the ruins. We were lucky the weather was lovely and I was able to take pictures which really emphasised the sites beauty. The exterior of this location was used for Series 6 – The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People.
We also found the wooden door to the inside of the one remaining room of the Abbey, but unfortunately for us, it was locked. This room had been used numerous times in Series 5 - The Beast Below as the ‘Tower of London’ and Vincent and the Doctor, when Vincent battles the monster in the crypt. It was also used in Series 6 The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People as the chapel, where the gangers were created.

We headed back to the lodge from here to get an early night, ready for our big drive the next day.

When we woke up on the Sunday, we hopped in the car early and headed to our first location, Dunraven Bay, also known as Bad Wolf Bay. I have to admit, I was so happy to be here, I had been looking forward to this location the most, however, the tide was in when we arrived so we were unable to climb onto the beach. I had worn wellies for this part of the trip, but I must warn you, I found myself slipping over on the uneven, wet rock surface as I ventured across for a better view. For all those of you who are looking to go here, I would stick to the allocated path; it could be rather dangerous otherwise.

We parked at the top of the hill, which is miles cheaper than the car park next to the beach, you just have to endure the steep walk back up to the car after (I struggled)! To get here, I recommend you follow the signs to Southerndown Beach, as the signs then switch to Dunraven Bay.

The episodes which have been filmed here, to my own knowledge are: Series 2 – Army of Ghosts and Doomsday, where Rose says goodbye to the Doctor. Series 4 – Journeys End, where Rose leaves the Doctor with her family once again. Series 5 – Time of the Angels, where the TARDIS lands at the crash site and Matt Smith’s Doctor meets River again, Series 6 – The Almost People, where the Doctor takes ganger Jimmy to meet his son on the beach, and the cast of Series 7 have been spotted filming here late February, early March this year.
You can find more information on this location, from the Doctor Who Locations website, HERE 

Next, we drove off to Dyffryn Gardens, just down the road from Barry. This was the hardest location to find, as we took an early turning and the Sat Nav could not locate itself back onto the correct road, but we got there eventually! The building was closed for construction work, so we were unable to go through the gate but took photos from afar. The episodes filmed here were: Series 2 – Girl in the Fireplace, a few Torchwood episodes and Series 4 Forest of the Dead, as the hospital Donna is transported to from the library, and where River is saved by the Doctor. This building also featured in one of my new favourite programmes, Stella, with Ruth Jones
We then drove on to Barry, and Barry Island. It was free parking in Barry Island on a Sunday at this time of the year which was lucky for us. We had a quick walk around, saw the sites from Gavin and Stacey; the beach and arcade where Nessa worked, and the train station used in Doctor Who Series 1, The Doctor Dances and The Empty Child, with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and John Barrowman and Captain Jack.
 Then we went into Barry and found the houses used in Gavin and Stacey:
 So that was the end to our Doctor Who South Wales trip, we both had a lovely time and thought it was a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend together. I love going to look at locations like these; you get to learn a lot about the history of a lot of the sites, along with re-enacting shots from your favourite episodes. As well as this – there’s always some walking involved, so as a bonus, it keeps you fit and healthy!

I’d love to go back to these places, and if anyone has any recommendations of anywhere we missed, please let me know, I’d love to go back down there!

Oh, and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all those mothers out there, I personalised my mums card a bit, needless to say she loved it :)
I've got a busy week this week with assignments, university, work and then Cardiff on Friday for the Doctor Who Convention at the weekend... I can't wait, is anyone else going?
 Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend, blog to you all soon x

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

"Amys Choice" and Amelia Ponds House Filming Locations

 It’s late on a Wednesday night now, and after doing my weekly Zumba fitness class and tackling my next assignment question, I’m finally getting round to blogging!

 In February this year, for Valentine’s weekend, me and my partner booked a lodge in South Wales near the Brecon Beacons (beautiful place), and it was the best weekend I’ve had in years!

 We planned our route well ahead of ourselves, in order to see all the locations from Doctor Who we wanted in one journey. I stayed up for hours a few nights before, searching through the Doctor Who Locations. The site is absolutely brilliant for fans like me, who love going to all the locations!

 So first we headed to Skenfrith, which was slightly difficult to find, the sat-nav was having a fit so we decided to ignore it most of the journey and make our own way there. And finally, many winding roads later we eventually found the small village!
 Skenfrith was used as ‘Upper Leadworth’ in the episode from Series 5 – Amys Choice, featuring the dream lord. Although the Pond’s house is not on site, the rest of the village was used for the majority of the episode including the castle and the old people’s home.

Many of the following images are stills from Doctor Who, courtesy of the BBC ... contrasted with my own photos...

The village itself was a bit creepy to be honest, beautiful, but creepy. Arthur Darvill himself was quoted saying how deserted the place was, and the day we visited was no exception. We spotted two people the whole time we were there, and those were the builders doing construction work on the church around the corner! Also – as you can tell from the images, the small park based to the one side of the castle ruins in the episode were brought in by the Doctor Who Production Company. The weather was the same as it was in the episode – gloomy and damp, which added to the excitement of being in the location!

 Next, off we popped to our next stop in Rhymney, to find Amy Pond’s house (from series 5). This location was slightly easier to find, as the Sat-Nav took us right to the front gate. It is located in the middle of a busy town, and does have someone currently living in it (I don’t know why I expected otherwise!) We noticed there was a car parked next to the house and smoke from the chimney, so we decided, out of respect, not to cross the garden to the front of house but to just take a photo from the gate, and from the end of the garden, through the trees. 
 I loved being at this location, there was something magical about the Series 5 opener which attracted me straight away, and to be where Matt Smith started as he crash landed into Amy’s garden was brilliant! Although I did come to realise that the Doctor Who Production company did provide a lot of the props to the house, the garden looked nothing like it did in the series, there was no shed, no shrubbery, and the house didn’t even have a blue front door!
Here’s a cool video from Youtube I found of someone visiting the location of Amy's house - 
Here’s ‘The Eleventh Hour’ – Part 1 (Matt Smiths first episode as the Doctor) to refresh all our memories. This is where he first came crashing into my life: 
After all the excitement from the day, We then later arrived at our lodge, which was beautiful… and included a hot tub!! ... It also boasted a spare room, with bunk beds... 
"Bunk beds are cool, a bed, with a ladder"
So that was our journey to the lodge, I’ll be writing part 2 within the next few days from when we visited more locations such as Bad Wolf Bay, Dyffryn Gardens and Neath Abbey… Plus, sites from Torchwood and Gavin and Stacey!  

If you’re still reading this, thanks very much! I really appreciate everyone that takes time to look through my blog at my ramblings and who are interested in what I’ve got to say…!!

Could you recommend any Doctor Who locations?
Have you been to any of the sites?
Can’t wait to share the rest of my South Wales trip with you guys!

Thank you for reading, blog to you soon x

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Tardis Blue – Doctor Who inspired nails

Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend… mine consisted of assignment planning, a Harry Potter film-night with the family, running into town to grab Mother’s Day presents, watching the finale of Stella (which was a-mazing) and lots of Doctor Who viewing! Now to look forward to a loooong week of work and uni… or not!!

Now I’m a keen wearer of nail polish… and if I don’t have any nail polish on these days I feel like I’m missing a piece of clothing, my finger tips just feel so naked! (Sad, I know!) But I always notice Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) wearing the most eye-catching colours in episodes, so I thought I'd give these a try...
I tried two blues out: Cobalt Blue by Barry M, and a dark, rich blue by Ted Baker London Beauty. I always find that my small collection of Ted Baker polishes are the easiest to apply, as well as the quickest to dry, so I highly recommend them :-)
After waiting for the Barry M polish to dry, I realised it wasn’t the Tardis Blue I was looking for, it dries to a colour much lighter than the bottle, and the flash on the camera doesn't help … so I applied one nail on each hand with Ted Baker in dark blue to get the real Tardis effect.
I’ve seen the most amazing Doctor Who art nail designs, which one day I hope to have on my own nails, but for now I think I’ll just stick to plain old Tardis blue…

Don’t you think they’re the coolest?!

Update: 12/03 -I did have a quick go at the bowtie and braces design... I think its all right for my first try, especially since I don't yet own a nail art pen! This picture also shows the Cobalt Blue in a better light :)

So now I’m off to have my last cuppa before bed ready for a day of work tomorrow!

“Cheers!” (Yes, that is Matt Smith lurking behind me) haha!!
Have a lovely night and I shall blog to you soon x