Thursday, 22 August 2013

221b Baker Street (BBC) and London Day Trip

 As part of my Harry Potter Studio Tour/BBC Proms weekend, we spent the Sunday afternoon catching the tubes around London for some site-seeing. My partner had only been to the capital once before, and we didn't have the chance to fit everything in back then, so we took advantage of the afternoon and noted down everywhere we missed previously.

 My favourite part of the day was when we headed off to the fake 221b Baker Street, used as a location where the BBC series Sherlock is currently filmed, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Luke made it apparent to me during the day that I was carrying something rather appropriate, and if you are a fan of the Series One episode "The Blind Baker" you will know what I'm referring to in the picture below.
 Fake 221b Baker street can be found on North Gower Street, next to Speedys Cafe in central London. The cafe is also featured in the series but unfortunately it was closed the day we were there. If you're interested in visiting this location, especially with all the filming going on there at the moment, I'd recommend getting the train/tube to Euston Station. From here, head straight down Euston Street and then turn left on North Gower Street, where you will spot Speedys. Sherlock's door is to the left, as shown in the images below.
Image courtesy of BBC - A Study in Pink

 We also visited the outside of the Tower of London, which doubles as the headquarters of UNIT in Doctor Who and where Moriarty breaks into the Crown Jewels in BBC Sherlock. From here we spotted the recently constructed Shard building in the distance. The Shard is seen in the Doctor Who episode The Bells of Saint John, where The Doctor speeds up the side of the glass exterior on his motorcycle to save Clara. I won't go into anymore detail just incase anyone has not yet seen the episode. We also stopped at Trafalgar Square, following the route The Doctor and Clara take on his bike through the Admiralty Arch, and took photos infront of the fountains and Nelson's column. Trafalgar Square has been used for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode filming, so it will be interesting to see how it will be incorporated later on in the year. 

Other stops during the day included Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace. We were so lucky the weather was uncharacteristically beautiful and warm, as it made for a lovely day in the capital. 

 Hope you enjoyed my smaller post on my daytrip to London, I have just got back from a weekend (no camping) at V Festival in Staffordshire, it was a-mazing! My favourite acts included the likes of Calvin Harris, FIVE(!!!), Olly Murs, Rita Ora and The Script. I may do a little post about it in the near future so I can share some photos and top tips if you're planning on going to a festival. 

 I can't wait to write up my next planned post for you, featuring my day to Cardiff visiting the Tardis Set and Doctor Who Experience, I'll hopefully have it up and live in the next week or so!

 Hope you are all having a wonderful summer, I'm still on the lookout for the perfect job and I am toying with the idea of relocating elsewhere as there aren't as many opportunities in my tiny town. Other than that, it's my graduation in two weeks, can't wait :-) 

Thank you for reading, write to you again soon :-) 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Doctor Who Prom 2013

^ Photo Courtesy of the BF ^
 As part of the 50th Anniversary year celebration, Doctor Who returned to the BBC Proms with an amazing concert extravaganzer. Recorded over two identical shows, the final broadcast will be shown on Monday 26th August. Fortunately, I managed to get my hands on two returned tickets for Prom 3, held on the Sunday morning (14th July 2013) at the Royal Albert Hall in London. 

 Seeing as we were going to be heading down south this particular weekend, we thought it would make sense to organise the Harry Potter Studio Tour on the Saturday. *See post here*. We opted to stay in Milton Keynes for the night, which turned out to be about an hours train journey from London Euston Station, but it was easier on my partner who I made drive. We purchased our train tickets the night before, which was a good idea as we skipped the massive queues awaiting us the morning after, plus, because of our naivety towards the trainlines, we could ensure we purchased the correct tickets, at the cheapest price. With our student railcards in hand, we managed to buy a return to London Euston and an "All zones" travel card for a total of £13.20 each. Very impressed. Definitely worth chatting to the ticket advisor about the best option for your trip, don't always rely purely on the online information. 

 So we caught an early train to ensure we reached our destination with plenty of time to spare. The nearest underground station to the Albert Hall is South Kensington, but you should still allow a 10 minute walk, as it is still a fair way on foot. The crowds were huge and everyone was excited when we arrived, the atmosphere was amazing and we spotted a good few fezes! After walking all the way around the hall we managed to find our allocated theatre door.

 Walking into the Royal Albert Hall was surreal, I had watched dozens of productions on television based in the theatre, but I had never set foot into the building until now. After purchasing an extremely cool souvenir book (picture below) at a very reasonable price (£4.00), we located our seats, which were in the centre stalls and near the aisle, and waited for the show to start.  

 To the right is a photo of a very excited Kelly with the purchased souvenir programme and Proms ticket to hand, waiting for the show to start. It began at approximately 10.30am and ran for over two hours, with one 15 minute interval. For a proms ticket which cost a mere £12.00, that's not bad going!The programme is pretty hefty in size and includes a Q&A with the one and only Murray Gold, information on the Doctor Who series throughout its 50 year broadcast, a brief introduction and outline of some of the main cast and a running order for the day. The Doctor Who proms were performed by the London Philharmonic Choir and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and was conducted by Ben Foster. 

 I'm now going to include some photos from the morning. If you would like to avoid *spoilers* before the show is aired on the BBC later this month, please do not scroll any further! 

 All in all I thought the show was spectacular, the interaction between the monsters and the audience was brill and the special guests were a fantastic bonus! But the main and most important reason I kept phoning up the Albert Hall everyday for about a month on the hunt for return tickets is because of my passion for the music. And oh my, didn't it deliver! Murray Gold even popped up in the audience and took a bow on stage during the finale, what a genius! 

 Although I wasn't sobbing hard into my Tardis programme, I was very emotional listening to every track, feeling goosebumps up my arms with every note. I can't compare the two hours in that hall with anything I had ever experienced before, and I don't think I will ever experience anything like it again, but I felt like for a moment, all the fans in that room, young and old, shared a moment together, and it was special. 

 My favourite tracks were the infamous "I am the Doctor", the charming "Companions" and the breathtaking "Impossible Girl". But then they went and played "Vale Decem", to which my hard surface very nearly, for a moment, faltered... but I somehow managed to compose myself and carry on. Spectators at the Proms also had the added bonus of the world premiere "Song for Fifty", which was a very touching tribute to the long-running series.  

 Here's a very bad quality video I took whilst I was watching the show, featuring Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, enjoy:-  
 I am now extremely excited about seeing how the show is put together and broadcast on August 26th - which is bank holiday Monday everyone so mark it down in your calenders! *No channel or time slot has been announced yet as far as I know but I shall keep a lookout*. However, a release date for the Doctor Who Series 7 soundtrack has been announced. It will be hitting all good retailers on 9th September 2013 (the same day Iron Man 3 is due for UK DVD release - so that's going to be an expensive morning)! You can find more information on the soundtrack release and track listings HERE.

 Hope you enjoyed reading and the post wasn't too picture heavy. Next, I'm hoping to post about some of the London locations I visited whilst I was down south. Then, I will share my recent day in Cardiff with you all, where I visited the TARDIS set at the Roath Lock BBC studios. Ooooooooh!

 Thanks for reading

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Harry Potter Tour at Warner Bros Studios

 As a 22 year old, Harry Potter was a franchise I grew up alongside. I had never been a huge fan, but like others, I always made sure I went along to the cinema to check out the latest instalment onscreen, and in my earlier years I even managed to read the first four books, until the Lord of the Rings trilogy distracted my attention momentarily. 

 I decided to purchase two gift tickets to the Harry Potter Studio Tour down in Leavesden, Watford for my partners birthday, as he had always been a big fan and I thought he deserved something special after trawling around after me during my many Doctor Who related escapades. Gift Tickets can be bought on the WB site here:- alongside normal tickets. The advantage of purchasing gift tickets is that the recipient can decide on a date and time which is suitable, and can redeem the entry tickets themselves. Luckily, buying gift tickets meant that we could work our Harry Potter visit around the weekend of the Doctor Who Proms, so that we only had to travel down south once, saving a lot of money. We stayed in Milton Keynes, which is about a 50 minute drive away from Watford, but the Warner Bros Studios do offer a shuttle bus service from Watford Junction station, if you decide to opt for train travel. Again, this can be found on the website:-

Cupboard under the stairs
 You have the opportunity to book a time slot when you book your tour online, we chose 5.30pm because of our long drive, but they do recommend you plan for a stay of three and half hours at the maximum during busy periods. 

Selection of costumes in The Great Hall
So, the studios... 'what were they like?' I hear you scream. Well, as you will see from the photos, we had a brilliant time. I was very impressed and would definitely go again and recommend it to anyone, whether you're a big fan of the films or not. Even on one of the hottest days of the year the studios were air conditioned and cool to walk around, there was even an outside part where you could soak up the sun whilst grabbing a butterbeer!

 Now lets see some more photo's. I will warn you, there is a fair few, although I have tried to select the best, so if you don't want to be spoiled, don't scroll much further. 

^ Gryffindor Common Room ^
Luke enjoying a Butterbeer
^ The Weasley Household ^

^ Model of Hogwarts ^
 I definitely want to go again! The shop was amazing aswell, but unfortunately I couldn't find anything cheap and cheerful to buy, as its quite expensive! However, me and my partner just started posing with the different wands they have on display, which are available to buy, and come with their own wand box with a description of which character it belonged to. 

I hope you've all had a fantastic summer so far, I've got a few plans coming up which you will no doubt hear about, and I managed to get my hands on tickets for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary convention in London during November, plus a photo ticket with Matt Smith :-) Excited! I also need to blog about the Doctor Who Proms, which were brilliant! But first of all its off to Cardiff this weekend with the partner and two friends, can't wait :-D

Thank you for reading