Sunday 17 February 2013

#Whoniversary - 50 Years of Doctor Who

An event is such a little piece of time-and-space you can mail it through the slotted eye of a cat.
- Diane Ackerman


- Tom MacRae

So, we popped along to the Glasgow Film Theatre, which is basically Chapter for Glasgow3 – as I’ve mentioned before, oddly enough – where there was going to be a special showing of an unnanounced story picked, and written, by Tom MacRae.  Seeing as this event was being billed as ’50 Years of Doctor Who’ – this all seemed a bit random.  Bit still, it would be daft for myself and the Him not to make an effort to attend.  Just in case.
After literally seconds of research, I guessed that we probably wouldn’t be watching Mr MacRae’s Who début, The Rise of Steel1 for a couple of reasons.  That only left his second, far superior3 story, The Girl Who Waited.

After we’d trooped in and sat down, a lovely gentleman temporarily released from the Battle of the Booker Judging Panel - I missed his name but agreed with his thoughts about talent contests - confirmed the story and announced, officially, that there’d be a Q and A1 with the writer (Mr MacRae), the director (Nick Hurran) and the actor who played Milo in The Macra Terror 2: Gridlock1 (Travis Oliver).  I felt a bit sorry for Mr Oliver, who’d obviously been dragged along to distract tigers whilst the heavyweight hitters escaped.  This turned out to be unfair, as he was engaging, witty and probably just as baffled as we were as to why he was there.4  Maybe he’s the next Doctor?  That would have been sneaky.

So, we watched The Girl Who Waited and then we clapped.  Then we watched the Q and A (which had a surprising level of concentrated Classic Who Geekery – and at least one instance of age-dodging3) and its subsequent revelations.  You’ve no doubt heard the fantastic – and hugely well-guarded – information, that the Handbots were in fact based on the Vervoids, but did you know that Nick Hurran’s directing the Whoniversary Special1?  Or that it’s in 3D? 

Oh, you did?  We should’ve tweeted faster then. 

Damn.  Pipped again.

Anyway, here’s what happened next…

Me:  So, it looked different on the big screen.

Him:  Yeah, it did look good on the big screen.

Me:  You could see the grain of the TARDIS – the wood.  And the other thing that I thought was good was that the prosthetics on Amy’s face looked – they didn’t – they looked real.

Him:  What d’you mean?

Me:  Well, I found that when we watched it on the iPlayer, they looked really orange and that it all stood out and looked-

Him:  Like a teenager.

Me:  ‘Like a teenager’?

Him:  Like a teenage girl.  All orange.

Me:  Ha!  So, apart from the fact that I think this should be titled, “YET…”-

Him:  ‘Yet?’

Me:  YET…

Him:  I don’t get it.

Me:  Well, when Nick Hurran said the Ponds haven’t returned-

Him:  “YET…”

Me:  Yeah?

Him:  Yeah.  But I think that was more of a joke than anything else.

Me:  I dunno.  We were there for the announcement though.  We were there for something really… official.

Him:  Yeah, we’ve had other stuff like that in the past.

Me:  Umm…

Him:  That we’re not going to touch upon.

Me:  Well, yeah, yeah.  That.5  And the time that I guessed the title?

Him:  The Huge Mosquito’?  That’s very-

Me:  Ha!  ‘Doctor Who and the Huge Mosquito’, yeah.  I didn’t guess that.6

Him:  I know.

Me:  It was the Other that guessed that.

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  Well, that was pretty exciting.

Him:  Yeah, I suppose.

Me:  So, it was part of the Glasgow Film Festival, doing a special showing of-

Him:  I know what it was.

Me:  It was unannounced as to which episode it would be.  And no-one mentioned Macra.  But then, that’s because…

Him:  “There are no such thing as Macra.”

Me:  Exactly.


Me:  So we got some-

Him:  “Macra do not exist!”

Me:  We got some pretty good seats.

 Him:  Umm…

Me:  Well, right up until someone sat… on you.

Him:  In front of me.

Me:  Like a Yeti.

Him:  Ha!

Me:  You were Harold Pinter.  They were Yeti.  It was cushion at first sight.”

Him:  Ha!

Me:  So, we saw the episode on the big screen.  It was better with the sound on, wasn’t it?

Him:  Yeah.  Because at the start the sound wasn’t on.

Me:  It wasn’t on at all.

Him:  We had the Doctor and Rory talking about nothing.

Me:  I wondered if they were going to start it again.  Then we’d have to sit through all those warnings about not recording the thing you’ve got on four different formats of DVD at home.

Him:  What was that other one?  Oh yeah, ‘You may be watched with night-vision goggles throughout the show’.

Me:  I know!

Him:  Is that not a little bit creepy?

Me:  Did you see the guy squatting right at the front, wearing the night-vision goggles and holding a cattle-prod?

Him:  No?

Me:  There wasn’t one.  That’s why.

Him:  Awww.

Me:  I’ll cut that bit.

Him:  But how were they watching us with night-vision goggles on?  Were they hiding up in the roof?  Unscrewing the lightbulbs up the top and just looking through?

Me:  No, every single seat’s got a camera in it.


Him:  Really?  Underneath it?  Well, that wouldn’t be very interesting because if someone sat down on it-

Me:  No, not underneath it.  That’d be really questionable.  And I think it’s against the law.

Him:  Oh, that sounds like our train’s breathing.

Me:  We’re on a train.

Him:  Well, we’re not, but we were. At the time of recording this, we were on a train.  But we’re not now.  Probably.  Unless you’re reading this in the future and we are on a train, in which case we apologise.  Can you imagine if you’re just on your seat across from us, and we’re sitting here recording this?  On a train.  Just so we can type it up.  On a train.

Me:  Fair play, there are a lot of people staring at us.

Him:  Ha!

Me:  "Peachy keen."  So, shall we do the big news stuff?

Him:  Okay.

Me:  Afterwards, there was a Q and A-

Him:  Yeah, there was a Question and Answer

Me:  Tom MacRae seemed-

Him:  Or a ‘Q and A’ as all the hip and fashionable kids are calling it nowadays.

Me:  That's right, I do. 

Him:  You’re old, you’re not hip.

Me:  I’ve got a hip.  At the moment.  I’ve got two actually.  One for best.  I just favour the other one.  Anyway-

Him:  *yawn*

Me:  So during this Q and A  Do you want to say it?

Him:  Say what?

Me:  They talked about the episode initially, but you could sort of tell that everybody was trying to get onto talking about the Fiftieth.

Him:  Yeah.  “Could you… um...  read out the script for the Fiftieth?”

Me:  I know, and they wouldn’t read it out!  Shocking.  Probably because they haven’t had it.  I think-

Him:  And it’s kind of funny that the writer who had nothing to do with the Fiftieth knows all about it.  And the director doesn’t know anything about it.

Me:  It was an exclusive.  An announcement made by Nick Hurran-

Him:  Yeah, there was an annnouncement made about something…  Probably to do with the Fiftieth.

You’ll have to excuse the Him, gentle reader.  He’s messin’ with ya.

Me:  Nick Hurran said he’s directing it.  He confirmed he’s directing it.

Him:  Oh yeah, he confirmed he’s directing it.

Me:  And he also said that he’d pushed for the 3D because he’d liked Avatar.  But I wonder how true that was.

Him:  No, he didn’t say he’d pushed for the 3D. 

Me:  Well, no, Tom MacRae said he’d pushed for it.

Him:  Ha!  “Wasn’t it because of you pushing so hard that it became 3D?”
“Oh, it might have been.  Who knows?”

Me:  Ha!  “Something like that.  Who can tell?”  It was quite interesting and they all seemed very enthused about it.  I didn’t catch the name of the gentleman who was chairing it.

Him:  The guy at the front?

Me:  Yeah.  He’s on the Booker panel, he was saying, and I totally agreed with-

Just a quick interjection here, as I’ve said all this.  I just wanted to add that this was a moderator who’d done his research and certainly knew his onions.  Not to the degree of a Pixley or Hadoke perhaps, but I, for one, was impressed.

Him:  And today’s the seventeenth of February, 2013.

Me:  Yeah.  So that’s kind of our exclusive.3  As exclusive as it is, which it isn’t, because by now it’ll be all over everything.

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  There?
Me:  So, we went to the Glasgow Film Theatre to see it, and before that we saw the transmat balls left over from The Sontaran Experiment, so I’d probably better put a shot of those in.  About here?

Him:  No.  I don’t know.  A little bit ahead?

Me:  Alright, I’ll put one at the end.

Him:  No, not at the end.  Put them…

Me:  Do you know what?  The last time we were sat there – well, the last time you had lunch there on that spot – this is weird – we’d just watched – well.  We’d gone into town because I needed to buy some more pens, because I was doing a colour illustration.  We were doing our write-up of Daleks’ Invasion Earth – 2150 AD.  That’s mad.

Him:  Why?

Me:  That was last… Easter.

Him:  ‘Leaster’.

Me:  ‘Leaster’, yeah.  Leaster Eggs – like Yeti eggs.

Him:  Like a type of cheese.  It’s an Easter egg made of Red Leicester.  Which – in retrospect – would be disgusting.

Me:  Do you want me to put the ‘Doctor Coo’ illustration back in?

Him:  Not here.

Me:  ‘The second oldest question’.  Oh, and also – something that I thought was very interesting…  There were some things that were said that were a bit speculative but we probably should mention here.  Which were…

Him:  “We’re awesome.”

Me:  That’s…  Ha!  It sounds as though Nick Hurran’s having to research the history of Doctor Who.  From what he was saying.  He wouldn’t be drawn – even slightly – on older actors.  No-one got mentioned.  Tom MacRae was very, very positive about Russell T Davies and he made some really pertinent points.

Him:  ‘Platinum points’?

Me:  Pertinent points.

Him:  “Platinum points.  Like gold, but better.”  And they can actually be turned into gold points by zapping the right atoms at them, but that’s really pointless because-

Me:  It’s ‘pointless’, is it? 

Him:  Yeah, because platinum-

Me:  How can it be pointless?

Him:  Because platinum points are, you know, more valuable than gold points.  It’s always good to know.

Me:  Anyway, something that was also very interesting…  I don’t think the oldest question’s going to be answered.  I think they’re teasing at it, but it’s not going to be answered.  We’re not going to find out what the Doctor’s name is.

Him:  We’re never going to find out what the Doctor’s name is. Because that would just ruin the show.

Me:  Yeah – which is what Tom MacRae said too.

Him:  Because Sydney Newman – why would he have given a secret piece of paper…  “In fifty years time, if this show’s still goin’…”

Me:  Shall we put a link to The Pitch of Fear here?

Him:  The Pitch of Fear?

Me:  The last time Mark Gatiss did an origin of Doctor Who story.  Shall we put it here?8  This morning they were filming the Dalek Invasion of Earth section for An Adventure in Space and Time just outside the Houses of Parliament.  And of course, that was the story that got turned into Daleks’ Invasion Earth – 2150 AD.  Oh!  What about the Dalek?

1.  Yes, that’s what it’s called.2

2.  This joke lovingly lifted from Lawrence Miles’ About Time 3 annotations.

3.  Yes.  Yes it is.

4.  There aren’t any tigers native to Glasgow, you see.

5.  Not saying.  Nope.  “Spoilers…” (etc)

6.  Actually, when Neil Gaiman released the crossword clue for his upcoming story7, I correctly guessed it’d be The Last Cyberman.  In public.  Unfortunately, this was at about the same time that the script for it got left in a taxi, so my genius got lost in the subsequent drama.

7.  And while we’re talking about the second half of Series Seven, let’s not forget that it’s not had a new Moffat title as of yet.  This means it’s still Season Pond1 and not Season Clara, like what you’d think.  Yet…

8.  Seems not as they're all blocked.  I wonder why...

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