Our final year media production student Edward Buxton shares one of his most memorable moments from last year. He’s pictured with actor Samuel Anderson aka Danny Pink in BBC TV’s Doctor Who. No surprise then that Edward is a Whovian (er, to the uninitiated that is a fan of the science-fiction series) …
… On Monday 17th November 2014 I travelled down to London with my brother to a secret location to take part in the Series 8 DVD Launch hosted by Frank Skinner. The DVD launch was advertised via Doctor Who’s official Facebook page, which gave you the chance to enter a competition to win a pair of tickets to attend the DVD launch. I entered the competition not really thinking much more about it due to the fact that I don’t usually win competitions. However on Wednesday 5th November 2014, I checked the emails on my phone after a long day, discovering to my delight that I had won a pair of tickets to the Doctor Who Series 8 DVD Launch. But to my surprise, BBC Worldwide who sent the email asked me and anyone else who won tickets to keep the event’s location a secret.
But I kept the event a secret from everyone except my family. So for two weeks I waited, anticipating who from the show would be featured on the panel alongside the host Frank Skinner. I also wondered if any other fans would be dressing up/cosplaying as either The Doctor or Clara Oswald or perhaps any of the other characters from Doctor Who.
I also wondered if there might be a preview of the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas Special at the event but all would soon be revealed. Once we arrived at the secret location I noticed a small queue heading towards the entrance of the location, which I assumed would be the other competition winners. As we waited a few blacked out cars started to approach, revealing who would be on the Series 8 DVD Launch panel. The first to step out of a car was Samuel Anderson aka Danny Pink – Clara’s love interest during the eighth series. The second person to step out of a blacked out car was Head Writer & Executive Producer Steven Moffat along with Executive Producer Brian Minchin. Already some of the fans or rather Whovians (myself included) started to whoop and cheer with joy as each blacked out car arrived at the location.
Finally they called for us to enter the location a few people at a time, presenting our invitations that had been sent in a separate email the previous Friday (14th November 2014). As we began to slowly enter the building whilst having our photographs taken by a photographer for the event we stopped as S Club 7 were leaving the location – again this was another surprise which didn’t even have anything to do with the event! As it turns out S Club 7 had just had their Bring It All Back reunion tour press conference in the same cinema esque room that we would also be in for the Series 8 DVD Launch.
Once inside the location we were led into the cinema or rather the screening room where we were sat down to watch the premiere screening for the Doctor Who Series 8 DVD extra: Doctor Who: Earth Conquest: World Tour. The documentary saw The Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman & Steven Moffat as they travelled to eight different continents around the world for the Doctor Who Series 8 tour, promoting both the series and the first episode of the brand new series.
The documentary however had a key theme and that was one of the ever-beating hearts of the series: the fans. One fan, Alice X. Zhang had painted The Doctor & Clara standing back to back in front of the TARDIS console, adding that she purposely made the background of the portrait a deep fiery red to accommodate the fact that the TARDIS console and control room had taken on a new orangey/red look. She also had the chance to present two copies of the painting to both Peter Capaldi & Jenna Coleman during one of the premieres.
I found this to be extremely inspiring and I also learned a great deal about Whovians who live in different continents across the world and how this British television show which started out in 1963 really has become a worldwide phenomenon. So as the documentary finished we were given a 10-minute break and the panel began.
First to walk out and announce the panel was host Frank Skinner who then summed it up as ‘the dream panel’ (video link is available at the bottom of the page) and so to my surprise (the panel was kept a secret) Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat, Michelle Gomez and Samuel Anderson walked out one followed by the other to everyone’s delight.
Michelle Gomez was truly a special surprise as I’m not sure anyone was expecting her to be there, especially considering how Michelle had recently been revealed to be The Master in female form aka Missy or as she would say: “I’m Missy, short for Mistress. Well I couldn’t very well go on calling myself the Master now, could I?”
We learned something quite strange about Michelle’s approach to playing Missy and that was that she turned up on her first day of filming and just acted, the end result was what we saw on screen. Samuel Anderson also spoke about his time as a newly resurrected Cyberman and how filming on the hottest day of the year gave him more trouble then needed whilst acting in a cyber suit.
Whilst Peter and Jenna reflected on their first series spent together aboard the TARDIS. Jenna also nearly letting slip that she would be returning to the show for more then the 2014 Christmas special. We also watched a clip from the Series 8 finale as Danny said goodbye to Clara saving the earth from Missy’s cruel plan to upgrade the dead into Cybermen.
Finally as we were leaving the screening room we were handed a free copy of the Doctor Who Series 8 DVD Boxset, a whole week before the public release of the DVD. Leaving the location I also managed to get a photo with Samuel Anderson aka Danny Pink and also exchange looks with The Doctor himself.
To conclude, it was an extremely exciting day and probably one of the best and surprising moments of 2014 for me personally.