Doctor Who Festival

Last weekend I went to the Doctor Who Festival in London.

Doctor Who Festival London 2015

This was the UK leg of the festival, this weekend the Good Ship Who goes ashore in Australia for more of the same (just with a few different people on board). 

This was the first time I'd done a fandom specific convention, as usually I go to the ones which are a massive sci-fi mash-up, but as Who is one of my first loves, I couldn't refuse. 

Doctor Who Festival UK

It took place in Excel, which is a bloody enormous venue and I didn't know if that meant it would be absolute chaos (*cough MCM comic con*) or nice, quiet and spacious. It was the latter. Well done BBC. Everything was spread out well over three floors; the main theatre, the festival hall and the photo studios. 

You buy your ticket in one of two groups; Cybermen or Daleks, this decided which order and timing you would do for the 3 panels of the day and photoshoot slots. I arrived at 9.30am when the festival was just opening, so there was a very fast moving queue to get into the events. This meant I had a good hour to kill before queuing for my first of two panels, so tea and gossip was had. 

First up, the writer's panel with Sarah Dollard, Peter Harness and Steven Moffat.

Doctor Who Festival UK

I really enjoyed this panel; Sarah was very open with the struggles she'd had with the episode she'd written due to air this weekend (which is based on Trap Streets; weirdly enough I'd had a story idea about the etymological version of these, Mountweazels, earlier in the year, DAMNIT!), Peter talked a lot about his Zygon stories and Steven answered a question from the audience about writer's block beautifully ('...don't give it a name, let's just call it what it is - fear. Your internal editor is drawing your attention to something, go back and find it!')

Doctor Who Festival UK
A script sample we were all given on entering the theatre

Next up, the cast panel. Hosted by Toby Hadoke (who does great commentaries on Who dvds) and featuring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez, Ingrid Oliver and Steven Moffat. 

Doctor Who Festival UK

This one was the money shot for me, such a panel of guests from this series! A lot of the questions were aimed at Jenna (last chance, I guess), Moffat bollocked people for pronouncing Peter's name wrong ('it's Cap-AL-di, not Cap-ARL-di! Say it with me ...' YAAAS! Being a Northerner has finally paid off, my pronunciation is correct!) and Michelle and Ingrid looked VERY overwhelmed when the lights came up for questions and they saw a FULL theatre. 

Doctor Who Festival UK

Doctor Who Festival UK

After these two panels, I did a little shopping in the festival main hall: 

Doctor Who Festival UK
Full-Size LEGO TARDIS. I had to go touch it!

There's wasn't a lot which caught my eye, if I'm honest (::bank account breathes a sigh of relief::). I've got enough Pop Vinyls and the mark-up on some of the products in the BBC shop was eyewatering. The Duvet set which I paid £26 for on Amazon was being sold for £36, which is absolute robbery! The tshirts were well priced (2 for £25) so my friend and I went twosies on a shirt each. 

(Festival organisers, take note: TWO tshirts for £25. Not ONE festival shirt for £25. That pricing was scandalous.) 

I wasn't particularly interested in FX Show, which had Mark Gatiss on the panel. This one really fell off a lot of people's radars as the Cybermen guests could have seen that first thing in the morning, but it made more sense to queue for your photo slots and there was such a huge gap between the morning panels and that panel for Dalek guests (3 hours) that most people seemed to clear off and go home. As it's a very well-contained event there's not enough to fill 3 hours; I managed to get one of my photo slots moved forward so that I could leave earlier and go for a late lunch at the o2. Sorry Gatiss. That was one of the few criticisms I have about the event; it could have done with one more panel to fill some more time. 

So, I was done by 3pm, which given I'd been out of my front door at 8am, was greatly appreciated! 

It was a lovely day, relaxed and calm. Great for adults and children alike, I feel like the panels were worth the cost of the ticket (£65) and the photo shoots were very reasonably priced (ranging from £10 to £30). The event wasn't crowded, or oversold, which makes a change for a convention in London; they can be like hell on earth when oversubscribed. This wasn't, it was like a reward for being a Whovian who has to tolerate such mad conventions at all other times of the year.

Doctor Who Festival UK
Just chillin at Clara's, yo.

I leave you with this photo. I couldn't quite believe I met Peter Capaldi. He was very lovely and happy to meet people over the days, everyone who met him has the same story - they get introduced to him, he smiles, looks you in the eyes and says polite things ('...hello Alex, lovely to see you, how are you?') whilst shaking your hand and asking if you're ready for the photo. I think I said 'good, thank you' and 'how are you?' and 'can we do an action pose please?' but honestly, I'd be amazed if I got all those words out. I was SO starstruck. This was worse than when I met Carrie Fisher. It was such a big deal for me and Peter made it even more special by being so lovely. It's very clear that he loves his job and we should all be so very pleased about that because we are spoiled having such a great actor in that role. I say it every week. Spoiled. 

Doctor Who Festival UK

Australia, enjoy your festival weekend, it's going to be amazing. Please say hi to my friend Rob Lloyd who will be doing The Science of Doctor Who and hosting the Gatiss panel. You can't miss him, he's the one that David Tennant looks like. Tell him Lexi says hi too. 

Rob Lloyd Doctor Who Festival

Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


Post a Comment