Saturday, 24th March
8.30 am Wake up to a bunch of texts from Jess in various stages of OH MY GOD BREAKFAST TIME and OH GOD WE’RE OUTSIDE and OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD excitement
11.30 am - 2 pm Work work work, interspersed with texts from Jess from the panels. She’s dying of excitement, and so am I, because TOMORROW THAT WILL BE ME
2.15 pm TRAIN TIME! I read Catching Fire and try to inconspicuously listen in on everyone’s conversations until I have located the other Whovians in my carriage.
4.45 pm - Arrive in Cardiff. THE HOMELAND! Meet Carmel and her friends, drive back to her flat. It’s two buildings away from the one Captain Jack stands on in Torchwood, which makes me rather happy.
6 pm - Head to Cardiff Bay for the tumblr meet-up. Meet Jess and squeal and hug and sort of scream HI HI HI HI HI into her shoulder. Almost say “OH my god, you’re tiny,” but decide against it. Also meet Rebecca, who has very awesomely arranged the meet-up. She is AMAZINGLY cosplaying Amy Pond, and I spend the next half hour trying to decide whether or not the Scottish accent is an added touch.
(It’s actually her actual accent. Oops.)
6.30 pm - Once all the tumblr Whovians have congregated, we take a couple of group photos, and head off to the Ianto shrine at the tourist entrance to the Torchwood Hub. I leave a packet of coffee, because I’m just that cool.
7 pm - Dinner time! We go to Eddie’s Diner (where they filmed The Impossible Astronaut.) Turns out they don’t actually have space for a part of about 25, so we get take-away burgers and fries and coke floats. While we wait, Jess and I spot a free booth (not the booth, sadly) and grab a photo. Yay!
7.30 pm - We sit on the steps looking out over Cardiff Bay, eating and talking and singing and dancing and generally having an awesome time. At some point, a bunch of what looks like ninjas turn up and begin doing Something Mysterious on the square in front of us. After a while, they form a strange, solemn circle and the person in the middle (the leader?) goes around handing out something, speaking to each ninja in a quiet tone. We think he’s speaking in a made-up and/or alien language, but we can’t be sure. We decide they’re either Death Eaters, or the Cult of Saxon.
Turns out it’s a piece of Participation Art for Irish Language Moth.
(We think this is probably a cover-up, they were definitely trying to bring back Voldemort/The Master/Both.)
8 pm - Carmel and her non-Whovian friends have disappeared off to do some interview thing for her assigmment (I don’t understand what she’s on about, either), and when the majority of the meet-up decides to head into town, Maddie and I are left all on our lonesomes. We head back to the Torchwood Lift (fine…the water tower in the Roald Dahl Plass) and sit there and talk and share excitement for tomorrow until Carmel comes back.
9.30 pm - After Maddie’s been picked up, Carmel and her non-Whovian friends and I wander around Cardiff for a bit, and I try to explain certain strange in-jokes and Internet Things, with varying degrees of success.
10.30 pm - Get back to Carmel’s flat and drink hot chocolate and then go to bed. Set the alarm and double-triple-quadruple-check that we’ve accounted for the clocks going forwards.
Sunday 25th March, aka CON DAY
7 am - The alarm goes off, ten minutes after I last woke up out of excitement. I tiptoe around Carmel’s room and get dressed in my half-arsed attempt at Amy-in-Utah cosplay; red plaid shirt, skinny blue jeans, brown trainers. I go into the kitchen, planning to sit and eat some cereal and calm myself down a little, but there is someone sleeping on the sofa oh no. So I just grab two joghurts and a bottle of water, and sneak out of the flat about half an hour early.
7.30 am - Arrive at the Millenium Centre, and see that I could be FIRST IN THE OOD LINE. Decide no, I promised to organise the tumblr meet-up, and park myself by the Torchwood Lift after popping into Sainsbury’s for a massive bottle of Coke and a bag of oranges.
8 - 8.15 am - People arrive in drips and drabs, and the queue starts filling up… We wait a little longer for any stragglers, though, because to be fair the agree time was 8.15.
8.20 am - Losing all patience, Team Ood get into the queue.
8.30 - 9 am - An Ood! A Silurian! Goodie bags with free DVDs! This is all ridiculously exciting.
9 am - We get let inside by some lovely people in yellow t-shirts, and are promptly directed towards our first panel. Coming from my previous experience of the general shenanigans that was LFCC, I gasp at and am in love with this well-organised efficiency.
9.30 - 10.30 am - It’s the Creators and Directors panel! With Tom McCrae who wrote The Girl Who Waited! And producer Mark Wilson! And script exec Nick Hurran! And Millenium FX all-around genius Neil Gorton!
AND A HANDBOT!
Some choice highlights, that I can remember:
- Early versions of TGWW were set in a prison, but that was too close to the setting of The God Complex. The second idea was to set it in a hospital, which was again too close to The Curse of the Black Spot, and eventually the hospice setting of Appalapucia was decided on.
- Tom McCrae once went up to Matt’s body double, and thought it was Matt.
- Nick Hurran hated having to leave the carpet of the Millenium Centre corridors, which were used for the Two-Streams Facility, brown. So sometimes Tom McCrae texts him BROWN CARPET! just to be annoying.
- Tom convinced Karen and Arthur to recreate a scene from TGWW in the Millenium Centre on Saturday…with Tom as Old Amy.
- "That’s what every teenage gay Doctor Who fan fears the most… A sexually confident middle-aged woman." - Tom McCrae, everyone.
10.30 am - We plan to go to Danny Hargreave’s Special Effects Studio, but the queue for it is RIDICULOUS - seems all the Oods had the same clever idea of going straight from Creaters & Directors to this. So we go find the cast members signing area instead.
Ian McNeice is LOVELY, and poses for a photo with all of us doing the peace sign.
Barnaby Edwards is LOVELY too, very chatty and nice, and signs with EXTERMINATE, which I thought was a nice touch.
I don’t get to spend long talking to Tom McCrae, but it was cool to say hello! Rachel films him talking about strong women on TV for her dissertation, which is pretty cool.
Raquel Cassidy is AMAZING, genuinely excited to be there, and spends a really long time talking to everyone, Because I stumbled a bit when she asked me my name, she addresses the autohraph “To Errr Laura,” and signs off with “Raquel Cassidy (aka Cleaves x2!!). Awww.
Mark Sheppard is a bit brusque, but to be fair he’s probably the most popular of the people signing things, and has a lot to get through.
11.30 am - Time to meet Nicholas Briggs, voice of the Daleks! He happily barks into his ring modulator for every camera pointed at him. I won’t reveal wht he said for me just yet, but suffice to say that it will make a certain group of (ahem) Tumblr Gods very very happy, and it made him look at me oddly and say “You’re weird.” Oh, Nicholas. You have NO IDEA.
11.45 am - The others hurry off to get their photos with Matt, Karen and Arthur. Lucky buggers. Mariona and I decide to be REALLY REALLY KEEN, and head to the very very early queue for the Meet the Stars panel after grabbing some sandwiches. We’re about eighth or ninth in the queue, which gives us VERY HIGH HOPES for being in the front row….
12.30 pm - The others come back reeling and shaking and laughing and crying after the photos, and because apparently everyone else is doing it too, we let them into the queue with us.
WE SEE MATT SMITH UP ON THE SECOND FLOOR BY THE HUGE GLASS WINDOW. Much frantic whispering and pointing and filming occurs, and a lot of screaming happens when he turns around to wave at us. We get a big double-thumbs-up, and I try not to fall over with adoration.
Matt proceeds to leave the second floor room, walk down a corridor (from which we get another wave) , and disappear into the VIP bar place on the first floor. Again wihh a massive glass window. I know it’s a little bit sad, but I literally cannot focus on anything else while he is in view. SO AMAZINGLY ADORABLE I CAN’ T EVEN. I honestly think I’m about to faint when he turns on the spot for some reason, and ends up doing a ridiculously flailing twirl, arms going everywhere. Drunk giraffe, indeed. I now have a new-found respect for everyone who got through the photo-shoot without falling over.
1.10 pm - We’re let into the Meet the Stars panel, and Mariona and I have a brief moment of outrage when we see that the front row is completely filled up by people holding places in the queue for about ten people each. To be fair, we did also let six people join us, and the second row is REALLY NOT BAD AT ALL.
1.35 pm - THEY’RE HERE! Steven and Caro appear, Caro in an adorable knitted TARDIS hat, and then…
ARTHUR LEAPS ONTO THE STAGE LIKE AN ELEGANT SWAN BALLET DANCER.
KAREN LEAPS ONTO THE STAGE LIKE A PRAYING MANTIS, AND EVERYTHING GOES FINE UNTIL SHE TRIES TO LAND, AND PROMPTLY ALMOST FALLS OVER.
MATT LEAPS ONTO THE STAGE LIKE A FLYING GIRAFFE, COMPLETELY OVER-SHOOTS THE SOFA, AND HAS A MOMENT OF EXTREME FLAILING BEFORE FINDING HIS WAY TO THE SOFA AGAIN.
1.35 - 2.30 pm - Oh god the whole thing was just amazing I can’t even.
Okay. Some highlights.
- Matt does 50 kick-ups for Sports Relief,and I find a new-found attraction to football, and the players (okay, one specific player) thereof.
Steven: “Now, Doctor Who fans. This. Is afootball.”
- Steven talks about Amy, Rory, and the Doctor; “They’ve all been in love with each other.” Aaaaaand there goes my shipper heart.
- "They’ve all died at least once. Rory in most episodes….and you ain’t seen nothing yet." Aaaaaand there goes my heart, just in general, because OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD RORY.
- Doctor Who Confidential is given a massive round of applause, and Steven and Caro promise a lot of new behind-the-scenes content for the Doctor Who website. And then Matt announces that he, Karen, and Arthur, are filming a goodbye song for Amy and Rory! AN OFFICIAL KAREN AND THE BABES SONG!The Ballad of Amy and Rory! It’ll go up on youtube in September!
- (Also…September? So that means, maybe, possibly, another late August start to the series? Maybe?)
- Matt, Karen, and Arthur have also been given flipcams to record on-set video diaries. Arthur says the majority of what the film probably won’t be showable though. Hahahahaha.
- Matt says his favourite episode to film was probably the one they filmed in Spain. (more on this question in another post, because I feel the need to go on and on and on about that episode, and the filming of it.)
- Matt would probably be in Slytherin, Karen too because she likes that word, Arthur too because he wants to be with Matt and Karen. Awwww.
- Someone asks if there is anything in real life that they’re terrified of, and Arthur points to Karen before he’s even finished asking the question.
Karen: “What, you’re scared of me?”
Arthur: “Karen is scared of EVERYTHING!”
Matt: “Moths and Butterflies!”
Both Matt and Arthur proceed to do impressions of Karen being scared of a butterfly, in very dodgy falsetto Scottish accents.
- Arthur says holding a tarantula was like holding a tiny furry bear.
- Steven Moffat gets a question about Sherlock and Molly Hooper and survival theories, and responds with a smug sing-song “I’m not telling you!”
2.30 - 3 pm - We stay in our seats for the Doctor Who Uncut panel, all talking and giggling and shaking about what just happened.
3 - 4 pm - It’s the Doctor Who Uncut panel! Caro Skinner is back, along with Andy Pryor who does the casting, direcotr Julaim Simpson, director of photography Stephan Pehhrson, and Production Designer pickwood. I didn’t text Jess any of this panel as my phone battery was running low, so I can’t remembereverything…
But I do reemember the ACTUAL SERIES 7 TRAILER THAT WE GOT PLAYED TWICE.
It’s now on the website if you haven’t seen it yet, by the way.
In other news, Caro Skinner has picked up all of the tolling advice from Steven Moffat, because she hints at so many things without saying ANYTHING. The readthrough for Episode 5 - which, as we now know, is Amy and Rory’s last episode, and features Weeping Angels, and will be filmed in New York - is mentioned. Karen cried more than anyone. What with Steven’s comments earlier on, my Rory-gets-sent-back-in-time-and-grows-old-and-dies-and-Amy-is-too-late-to-do-more-than-say-goodbye theory is becoming ominously possible.
4.15 pm - I GET ON THE TARDIS TOUR AAAAHH. Because I booked my Convention ticket so late, they were all booked up, but there’s a free spot on the bus and away we go!
4.45 - 5.15 pm - We get to look around the famous Blue Box Cafe. I have an egg-and-cress sandwich because….just because, and watch A Good Man Goes to War on the telly. I think being called away to go look at the TARDIS is the only thing that could ever drag me away when Doctor Who is on, and even then it hurts.
5.15 - 5.45 pm - TARDIS TARDIS TARDIS. It’s so cool I can’t stop laughing and almost crying. A little boy pulls off the gramophone speakers, and I myself manage to almost break several things. They usually just fit back on to where they fell off, though, so I’m okay.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I flew the TARDIS. I dashed around the console as subtly as I could make myself, and pressed a lot of buttons, and typed a lot of things, and got freakishly obsessed with the zigzag plotter, and sat in the chair and preteneded to be thrown around.
Absolutely. No. Regrets.
I also manage to overcome my crippling social awkwardness long enough to ask someone with a working camera to take some photos of me and email them. Yay!
6.15 pm - We are ferried back to the bus, and I make a SOLEMN VOW to return to work here one day. Well, not here here, this is Upper Boat and they’re moving soon. But here as in the TARDIS set. Here as in where Doctor Who gets made.
6.30 pm - Back at the Millenium Centre, and it is time to go home….Sob sob sob.
Monday 26th March
1 am - I fall into bed after an extremely long and vaguely traumatic journey, which involved an unnecessarily long bus ride, a missed train, the last train home in fact, a long train ride to Reading, and being picked up by the extremely lovely friend of my parents.
9 am - I decide to take advantage of my free morning to get some REALLY IMPORTANT WORK done, and end up typing this.