When we found out we had won tickets to the Official Doctor Who celebration in London, we were over the moon. I was particularly excited to meet Matt Smith, and have our photo taken with him, so much so that I paid the £50 entrance fee to get in. We were told on the event website that if we turned up early on the day, we could pre-book our slot to meet him.
So imagine our disappointment when they suddenly changed that information to “sorry, we gave all the opportunities to the first raffle winners. We’ve sold out now. You won’t meet him or the other doctors. Oops.”
I was devastated. I sent angry emails to the BBC about how they don’t care about the fans, only the fans’ money (£50 entrance fee, £20 cast photographs, £13 TARDIS console photographs, £15 autographs, and not to mention everything else).
But nevertheless, we went. We had a good time, and some of the costumes people wore were great. The majority (including myself and a friend) dressed up as Matt Smith’s Doctor and the TARDIS. There were several David Tennant’s, some of them spot on, and a few Claras. We saw the occasional K-9 (there was an adorable little girl with a K-9 head, crawling along with her Dalek dad), and a few Davisons or McCoys. There was even a John Hurt cosplay, which I have to say was pretty awesome.
And on the way into the main building, people had written in the condensation things like, “Don’t blink!” and “Badwolf.” I love this fandom so much.
The official Doctor Who merchandise shop was a big let-down. They were selling rubbish toys, boring T-shirts or expensive photos. That was basically it. The retail area with the stalls from other shops were much more interesting. My boyfriend bought an RPG based on the Whoniverse, my friend bought a bust of Jabe from Series One, and I bought a hoodie and a beautiful painting of Matt Smith.
But the best part by far were the talks. It began with Nicholas Briggs (the man behind the Daleks) talking with Baker, Davison, Baker and McCoy. All of them were funny, but none as much as Tom Baker. He came on stage pretending his microphone wasn’t working, and then he banged his cane on the ground and said, “is that better?” just as a poor stage hand ran on with a microphone. Bless him.
Someone in the audience asked him what he remembered about Jon Pertwee, and his answer was, “absolutely nothing.” If there was ever any actor of the Doctor who embodied the character the most, it’s Tom Baker.
Straight after that talk, Jo Wiley interviewed Stephen Moffat, producer Marcus Wilson, Jenna Louise Coleman, and the man himself, Mr. Matt Smith. He looked so cute in his too-short skinny jeans and clearly visible stripy socks.
I was tempted to ask questions when the time came, but I was too cowardly. The majority of the questions were directed at Matt, and there was a particularly cute one where a little boy asked why Matt had wanted to be the Doctor. Matt replied, “Do you want to be the Doctor, buddy?” Naturally, the little boy nodded. Matt continued, “well then you’re the next Doctor!”
Some other details we discovered:
- The 11th Doctor is based around The Pink Panther and Some Mothers Do Ave Em’s Frank Spencer.
- Matt was sulky and grumpy because Stephen Moffat initially wouldn’t allow him to wear a bowtie with his costume.
- If Matt could say anything to his past self, he would tell himself to “keep going” but also to “moisturise more.”
- Matt’s ideal companion would “of course be Jenna Louise Coleman! …But if Jennifer Lawrence was up for it I wouldn’t say no. But definitely JLC, she’s the best.”
I wanted to see more of Matt, but we were only allowed an hour with him. The privileged people who had pre-bought the chance to see him went up the stairs. We longingly watched them as we went back to the main hall.
The next talk was from the special effects team. The blew up a Dalek, covered us in snow foam, blew an industrial sized fan at us, and let a little boy shoot a massive gun at a Cyberman. It was full of surprises, and more than once I jumped out of my seat.
The special effects leader told us Matt is a nightmare to work with; in A Christmas Carol, when the fire blasts out of the fireplace, it wasn’t apparently supposed to happen. Neither was Matt’s pain when his screwdriver explodes – he was told to hold closer to the bottom – so naturally he held it higher up and burnt his fingers.
All in all it was a good experience. It’s nice to mingle with people who are passionate about the same things you are, and to see the people important to the show in the flesh is amazing. The episode itself was good too. A bit confusing at times, but I liked John Hurt’s role, and Tennant and Smith jelled together beautifully. Now I just have to prepare for the heartbreaking end to number 11.