Saturday 20 March 2010

Time Quest 2 - episode two

This entry is the fourth part of my write-up regarding the Time Quest 2 event held on the 12th to 14th March 2010.
The full story can be read across the following entries:

You can also read Bob Mitsch’s review of his trip:

Yesterday was great fun, and it was good to finally meet some online friends as well as the guests at the event.

This morning kicks off with two of the Doctors: Sylvester McCoy doing his stage talk; and Peter Davison doing his photocall.
Since the photocalls are relatively quick – plus having a Gold Ticket, it means I get to queue-jump in front of any Silver or Standard ticket holders, I opt for this first.

Peter is a charming guy, and very pleasant to meet (see right).

I then quickly nip into the stage talk, to discover a bit of a shock. It’s not quite the stage talk I was expecting. To my surprise Sylvester is in a mobility scooter as he has a hip injury (see left), and rather than being ON the stage he is driving his scooter up and down the aisles taking questions from the audience.

It soon developed in controlled chaos as Sylvester returned to the front down the side aisle, running over everyones toes as he went! He was a weapon!

Story-wise he was enormously entertaining, recalling Dimensions In Time as Don’t Mention In Time, as he hated it! Except for working with Louise Jameison – he couldn’t work out why, while putting on a lecherous expression . . .

He also remembered his time working on the Movie with Paul McGann, telling us that they are the same height, but they put Paul on a box to make his taller for the iconic photocall (see left).
He also told of how he liked the costume they gave him – without the question-mark pullover which he thought was ‘obvious’. Ironic really since he revealed the question-mark umbrella had been his idea!

The similarities between his current predicament and Davros were not missed on him either. He was a good sport!

Working Sylvester hard, he was then straight into the photocall (see right).

But I must say that Bob had enormous fun at the photocalls, and his picture with Sylvester is way better than mine! (see below).
By the way, Bob’s hat is sporting a screen-used red hanky . . .

Yet again, the photocall with The Doctor (Sylvester) clashed with another Doctor on stage, this time Colin Baker (see left). His style is much dryer than the rest, and although entertaining is more grounded and factual.

After a bit of a break it was time for Janet Fielding to take to the stage again, this time with Peter Davison as her foil.
I say it this way round, since she was such good value for money. She clearly knew her stuff and everything that happened during her time on the show, but she shows it little reverence or respect! And she shows Peter even less so!

A highlight of the talk was when an audience member brought up the subject of Matthew Waterhouse and his up-coming memoirs, which met with derision on stage. The pair of them had stories to tell of Matthew and his in-experience of acting, and how he gave acting lessons to Richard Todd (an actor of some 50-years at the time) during Kinda.

They also recalled how Matthew saw himself as the ‘senior’ member of the cast! The was a reason: since he had joined the show before any of his co-stars.

Janet was constantly ribbing Peter – mainly because he was a man! Her constant inferred insults by suggesting other guest stars were really great actors was not missed on Peter!

We then all queued up for the Colin Baker photocall. It was during this that the stand-out moment of the weekend occurred.
Bob was in full Six costume, and a couple of other cosplayers in Doctor costumes were closeby in the queue. A passing attendee spotted the perfect photo and asked for them to pose (see left). At that very moment Colin Baker passed by en route to the photocall, and spotted the camera and set-up. He cheesily beamed a wide smile and Bob grabbed him to be in the photo. What no-one noticed was that Sylvester, still in his mobility scooter, was in the background using the stair-lift and was peeking over the edge at them. He then raised his hat and beamed an equally comical smile!
I so want to see that picture!

So, Colin eventually reached the photoshoot room and the queue started moving. When my moment came to step next to Colin, he recognised my costume and made a nice comment about it.

The photocall continued with a chance for anyone who missed Janet Fielding the previous day.

During all this Michael Jayston had started his stage talk, which was more of a traditional format with an interviewer asking questions and leading the conversation.

Michael Jayston has had a long and distinguished career on tv, having done a lot of classical drama, as well as Doctor Who (playing the Valeyard in The Trial Of A Time Lord season).

He is also very well known for doing voice-over work for commercials, and the interviewer had a special request for him to say “Gold, from St. Ivel”, the tag-line to a long running campaign (see left).

Michael was very modest about his voice, but recognised that it had been an asset to him, recalling the long list of audio books he has recorded, including P. D. James and John le Carré.

There then followed a nice long lunch break before the days group photocall (see below).

All in all it has been a fantastic weekend: meeting new friends; putting faces to online friends; meeting so many Doctors; autographs; photocalls – and all in just a couple of days!

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Remembrance Of The Locations

This entry is the fourth part of my write-up regarding the Time Quest 2 event held on the 12th to 14th March 2010.
The full story can be read across the following entries:

You can also read Bob Mitsch’s review of his trip:

On the Thursday before Time Quest I took Bob Mitsch on a whistlestop tour of some choice locations around the easterly side of central London, followed by the westerly side the next day.

The first tour was aiming for Butler’s Wharf, the warehouses used in Resurrection Of The Daleks. The second tour was steered towards the Cole Hill School seen in Remembrance Of The Daleks – in reality now a community centre in Hammersmith.

We arranged to meet at Liverpool Street station, and was joined by Edward Miller, a McCoy fan who in the spirt of the tour was in near full costume. I say near full because he was missing the question-mark pullover – but not for long, as I had been asked to bring along his one from the recent Group Buying that Bob had been running.

Bob did show us all up by arriving in full Tom Baker costume, resplendent with scarf and jelly babies!

First stop on our tour took us past the GPO Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower) which is just off Tottenham Court Road. This was seen in The War Machines way back in 1966 (the year I was born - showing my age there!) We then took in Bedford Square, which is where The Doctor lands the TARDIS for that episode (see below).

From there we walked to Forbidden Planet, the largest sci-fi bookstore in London. I used to go to it when it was just a single store on Denmark Street, a short walk away, but now after a couple of changes of premises, they have settled on a large two-floor store on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Bob was like a child in a sweetshop: everything was new and exciting, and little of it available in the US (see right). He bemoaned the lack of such memorabilia in America, but as Ed and I reminded him, it is a British show after all!

After prising him away from the DVDs, books, comics, toys, models . . ..  .  we took a quick fly past Soho, where many of the fabric shops I get my materials from are located.

The other side of Soho brought us out at Piccadilly Circus, site of another original period Police Post. Here was also hooked up with a friend of Ed’s who joined us for the rest of the tour.
When I conducted this tour I thought there were only two surviving Police Posts in London.
I have since discovered that there are a lot more.

You can read about all of them under
Eleven TARDISES For Eleven Doctors
We then took a shortish walk down to Trafalgar Square to see where the Daleks had trundled around in Dalek Invasion Of Earth. We found the exact spots used, and after getting some minor abuse from a group of boiler-suited workmen (‘Look out: Daleks!’ isn’t massively original guys, though more appropriate than they thought!).

We had some fun taking pictures around the square (see right). I just love the way Bob plays tot he camera!

We then took a shortish walk down to Westminster Bridge and the Houses Of Parliament, where more Daleks took a sightseeing tour, not dissimilar from our own . ..

We then hopped on a bus to take us up Victoria Street and jumped out around Westminster Cathedral. Opposite this is a road called Palace Street, that leads to Buckingham Place. Bob was keen to see this, especially Number One Buckingham Place, which had been used in 1967 as the exterior of Number Six’s London house in The Prisoner (see right).

A walk to Victoria Station then took us by tube to Earl’s Court. Situated the Earl’s Court Road, just outside the station, is the only full-sized Police Box in London, though it is a rebuild, not a period one. Unveiled on 18th April 1996, it was supposed to be the first of a wave of new boxes across the capital, but the plan never got past this initial site.

We then took lunch – just as well as it had started to rain! By the time we finished the rain had eased and we were back on the tour, this time just a short tube ride from Earl’s Court station to Ravenscroft Park, just beyond Hammersmith. This is where the old school used in Remembrance Of The Daleks is located.

But before covering that, I will just show you some other locations from the same adventure we visited the previous day.
Despite being set around the Shorditch area of London (which is East, not far from the Liverpool Street area where we met up this morning) the locations used are actually all over the place!
The cemetery is in Willesden Green (North London); the Totters Lane junk yard is located in Kew (South West London); the Cole Hill School is near Hammersmith (West London); and the back streets where the Daleks have a battle involving the special-weapons Dalek is actually near Waterloo (on the South Bank of the Thames).
So, just after seeing the Globe Theatre, we had taken a dip into the streets used. It was odd to think the Daleks had been here . . .

Just around the corner is where The Doctor and Ace hide in a workman’s tent from a patrolling Dalek (see below).

Meanwhile, back in Hammersmith . . . .
We found the school easily, to find little had really changed on the outside, and the street opposite where the TARDIS landed also looked little different.

We were a little nervous about just walking into the centre, as we were not sure what sort of reception we might receive. However, a caretaker was walking his dog and he was perfectly happy for us to go around the back where the playground is located, site of the Dalek shuttlecraft landing.

The way the episode is cut together, you think the playground is through the entrance in the wall, but it is actually around the other side of the building.
The archway leads only to the doors where the soldiers build their sandbag gun position.

Lastly, we worked out which window The Doctor ab-sails down from to get to the Dalek shuttle.

We then headed back towards Liverpool Street Station to get to the Convention venue, but not before taking in one last location, one which Bob had been dying to see, though at first I did not think there would be time.

BBC Television Centre is located on Wood Lane in West London and had been where a number of the colour stories had been recorded. The building is synonymous with the BBC, and is regularly seen as the glamourous epicentre of tv production. The reality is that it is just a massively building, surrounded by tight security, so unless you have a pass or reason to go, there is little to see.

It ticked one last box for Bob, so he was over the moon!

Thursday 11 March 2010

Time Quest 2 - the prologue

This entry is the fourth part of my write-up regarding the Time Quest 2 event held on the 12th to 14th March 2010.
The full story can be read across the following entries:

You can also read Bob Mitsch’s review of his trip:

Well today marks the first day of what, for me, will be a 4-day Who event.

This weekend is Time Quest 2, an event organised by 10th Planet, and taking place in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

Well it wasn’t on my radar, but a good friend in the US, Bob Mitsch is coming over to attend. His motivation, since he has never been outside America (bar a trip to Mexico) is that all five surviving classic series Doctors are attending (though sadly not all on the same days).

He has always wanted to meet Tom Baker, as Bob is well know – no, renowned – for his season 12 Tom Baker outfit.
Being the consumate cosplay dresser, his plan is to have photo-calls with each actor while in an approriate costume.

This has proved to be a nightmare of logistics to plan and organise, since his luggage allowance for his trip is limited.
As a result, plans were changed; new plans arranged; some things ran right down to the wire; and some best laid plans went a little array.

The Five Coat (see left) I have been making was spruned into action on the back of a commission to make Bob some Five Trousers.
He asked if I would take on making the coat as he wanted it for Gallifrey One in Feb 2010.
With plenty of time to spare I set about cutting the patten while Bob researched the beige gaberdine needed to make it.
It all took a little longer than we both thought, as the pattern was a challenge and the gaberdine proved elusive.
Nonetheless we got there in the end and it was ready for Gallifrey One as planned, however, Bob worked out the cost of me shipping it to him and then him bringing it back to the UK for Time Quest was going to cost him a fortune, as well as excess baggage. So I held it here for him and will present it to him at the event, before taking it back and FedEx'ing it over to the US later.

Next to sort out was some items for Bob to get signed by The Doctors. Various posters and vintage copies of the Radio Times  (see right) started arriving at my door, since there was no point them doing the round trip either.

Up next were the McCoy pullovers (see left) which were part of a group run Bob had been organising for nearly two years.
Bob was despatate to have one to wear for the event, as well as, let’s face it, show off to Sylvester. The run was only part complete and officially could only ship to one address - in the US - and only when they were all done. But after a bit of pleading and pointing out the delays that had occurred, they agreed to ship a handful to me so I could pass them to Bob, plus a couple of people on the run who were also going to be there. They arrived with a few days to spare and have already recieved favouable comments from the pictures posted so far.

Finally Bob arranged to have his hats sent to me, by what he thought was a guarateed service. Sadly, as of today (two days before the event) they still have not arrived, caught apparently in customs for at least the past week.
Oh dear.

Poor Bob. The hats aren’t looking promising, but we’ll see.

As well as taking delivery of all these props and bits, I took pity on Bob and agreed to meet him off his flight at Heathrow.
As I mentioned before, he has never ventured out of North America, and obviously had no knowledge of what to expect when he got here. He had researched tickets on the net and knew of Oyster Cards and The Tube, but I could see he needed some help.

While here Bob also wanted to make as good use of his stay as possible, and wanted to take on some Who-related locations around London. All he needed was someone with some local knowledge, an interest in Doctor Who and might be free to plan a route and take him round......

I wonder who might be up for doing that?