Hello and welcome back to August 2015 – let’s go to Plas Brondanw Gardens in North Wales! We are here to learn all about this Classic Doctor Who location where the episode The Five Doctors (1983) was filmed. This was a special episode made to celebrate Doctor Who’s Twentieth Anniversary that featured all five of the Doctors from the first 20 years, and many companions. It would have been hard to believe then that one day there would be thirteen Doctors and a Fiftieth Anniversary celebration!
Plas Brondanw is in Carreg Llanfrothen in the county of Gwynedd. It was the home of the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who created the village Portmeirion (aka San Martino if you are a Doctor Who fan!) The gardens and village share the same style. The house was built by John ap Hywel in the 16th Century. Clough Williams-Ellis was given Plas Brondanw by his father in 1908 when he was aged 25, with the aim to restore it and take care of it. And boy did he do a good job!
I visited the gardens in Summer 2015 when I was on my journey around Wales. It was not nice weather when I visited, I had to travel through the rain and wind, through thick and thin, but luckily I made it there in the end. I took my TARDIS through the Snowdonia National Park and the journey was worth it as I got to see the picturesque mountains along the way.
The river runs through it
A magical forest
When I arrived I had some lunch in the café to warm me up and I sheltered from the rain. When it cleared up I explored the gardens.
It looks like I am wearing a Gallifreyan collar!
This looks like it was made in Gallifrey!
These gardens were where the First Doctor was stolen by the Time Scoop and taken to the Death Zone on Gallifrey. Sadly William Hartnell had passed away so Richard Hurndall was called upon to play the role of the First Doctor instead.
Looking for the First Doctor
Isn’t this so pretty?
I’m the King of the castle, you’re the dirty rascal!
Walking through Plas Brondanw gardens
It must be nice to sit under a tree
This is where the First Doctor walked from the Time Scoop
Welcome to the garden
Luckily for me I am still around to tell the tale because there was no sign of the Time Scoop and it was very tranquil in the garden. It was fun to spot the places where the Doctor had walked. I wonder what he was doing there. Maybe he was trying to take his mind off the whole regeneration thing as he knew his body was growing frail.
I wonder why the First Doctor was here?
Walking in Richard Hurndall’s steps
No Time Scoops here today!
Next I went into the forest and up the hill to see Folly Castle. A folly is a quirky or extravagant building or structure built for fun or to make a view more interesting. A plaque says
This outlook tower was subscribed for as a wedding present to Clough Williams- Ellis and his bride Amabel Strachey in 1915 by his brother officers of the Welsh Guards. In the Second World War it was prepared as a local military strongpoint to repel the expected German invasion.
Looking for the Eye of Orion
Anyone seen Tegan and Turlough?
Arriving at the Eye of Orion
Climbing up the folly
Hello from the top of the tower!
Welcome to Folly Castle
Hello from the other side!
The plaque at Folly Tower
At the beginning of The Five Doctors the Fifth Doctor, Turlough and Tegan are relaxing and admiring the view at the Eye of Orion aka the folly. The Doctor said that
‘For some the Eye of Orion is the most tranquil place in the universe’.
Like Turlough I feel so calm and relaxed
Feel the positive ions!
I’m a bit stuck, can you get me out?
Hello, I didn’t spot you there
No sign of temporal instability yet
I wonder what is through here?
I hope there’s a hospital in case I get hit by Cosmic Angst!
How you doin?
Turlough was making a picture and said he felt ‘so calm and relaxed’. Everything was nice and peaceful until the Doctor had a twinge of cosmic angst caused by temporal instability. I loved the view too and felt a ‘high bombardment of positive ions’. I particularly enjoyed climbing up and down the tower.
Looks like this is what Turlough was painting
The view of Snowdonia from Plas Brondanw Gardens
These scenes were the first to be filmed but due to a technical difficulty they had to be reshot. Mark Strickson, who played Turlough, had gone on holiday when this was discovered and the BBC had to search the country to find him! As well as Doctor Who, scenes from the Ingrid Bergman film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) were filmed at the folly.
I had a lovely afternoon at Plas Brondanw despite the weather and I would love to go back there on a sunny day. You should go there too but make sure it is the right day for the weather so you can really enjoy it.
I’m sorry I haven’t written a post in a while, I have had a lot going on, including some exams, and I also broke my wrist! Luckily my wrist is a lot better now. I will be in Dublin next week, if any readers know any Doctor Who related places I can visit there please let me know.
Today is the anniversary of Project Indigo – it is two years old! It has gone so quickly and the last two years have been fantastic.
This has been a very busy year! This year Project Indigo went international and I visited Italy for a change. It was stupefacente! I visited Cinecitta in Rome , Europe’s largest film studio where The Fires of Pompeii was filmed. I also travelled to Pompeii to see the town and Vesuvius.
In May I went to the Symphonic Spectacular at Wembley Arena – and once again I was in the same place as Peter Capaldi who had popped along to watch too. I also caught up with my friend, Jon Davey, who I interviewed all about being a Doctor Who monster actor!
Also in May I was interviewed for my local paper The Daily Echo, which was an amazing opportunity.
In the summer I went on a road trip throughout Wales. I visited the regenerated Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff for the first time and visited lots of Classic and New filming locations.
In October I was flung a-sea to the land of No Man’s Fort in the Solent which was very luxurious. This was the filming location for The Sea Devils.
In November Peter Capaldi was on The Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw – and Nick asked him my question from Project Indigo headquarters – where would he like to film Doctor Who? Peter said Iceland – Planet of the Bjorks!
Later in November I went to the first ever Doctor Who Festival at London Excel. It was VERY big! I got to see a lot of talks and met up with Doctor Who stars including Jon Davey and Barnaby Edwards. Thank you to BBC Worldwide for my Press Pass!
In March I was invited to Dunbury Academy to have a lesson in a TARDIS classroom. I travelled very very far in time and space and met many historical figures along the way.
I have been to many conventions throughout the year and met many amazing actors, Cosplayers and fellow Gallifreyans (shh, you’ll blow our covers!).
Thank you to convention organisers Nerdageddon, All the Cool Stuff, Pendragon Sci-Fi and Fantasy Club, Sci Fi South Collectors and Timeless Collectors. Finally thank you to Showmasters for letting me have Press Passes to report on the Film & Comic Cons in Bournemouth.
Thank you to everyone who has been so kind to me at conventions including :
The Fifth Doctor Peter Davison
Hello William Russell aka Ian Chesterton
Hello Matthew Waterhouse aka Adric!
Hello Dan Starkey – aka Strax!
Hello Louise Jameson aka Leela!
Meeting Jemma Redgrave aka Kate Lethbridge Stewart!
Hello Bonnie Langford aka Mel!
Hello Nicola Bryant aka Peri!
Hello John Leeson – the voice of K-9!
Hello Camille Coduri aka Jackie
Meeting Anneke Wills aka Polly!
Hello Lalla Ward aka Romana II!
Guess who this is? That’s right, Mini Matt Smith!
With Spencer Wilding aka The Minotaur
Hello Sylvester McCoy aka MY Doctor, the Seventh Doctor!
Hello Katy Manning aka Jo Grant!
Hello Doctor Squee!
Hello Sophie Aldred aka Ace!
Hello Samuel Anderson aka Danny Pink!
Meeting Noel Clarke aka Mickey Smith!
Hello Terry Molloy aka Davros!
Hello Rusty Goffe aka Little John!
With Ross Mullan aka The Teller
Hello Matthew Dale from Robot of Sherwood
With creature performer Paul Casey
Hello Sarah Sutton aka Nyssa!
Meeting a Dalek, Barnaby Edwards!
Thank you to everyone who has featured Project Indigo this year including Whoogle , Robogals, Jump! Mag, Bournemouth Daily Echo, Kasterberous.com, Gallifrey Stands Podcast, Team Locals for Portsmouth and Southsea, Radio 1 and City Kids Magazine. Thank you especially to Chris at The Local Eye for letting me have my own Project Indigo column every month.
Thank you to my friends and family, my blog friends and followers and Twitter friends and followers (including Ross Moorhouse for making me the fantastic Project Indigo pic), all competition entrants and winners, and all the friends I have made at conventions.
Special thanks this year to BBC Worldwide,The Doctor Who Experience, Amazing Venues and Solent Forts, Kids Blog Club, Jon Davey, Dr Squee, Caitlin Marsh at The Daily Echo, Mango Frog, Mini Matt Smith, Mr Payne and the staff and children at Dunbury Academy and everyone who has made me welcome. I’m sorry if I forgot to mention someone!
I’d like to thank you all for reading and supporting Project Indigo – I love making new friends and sharing my adventures. I hope I manage to keep going for a third year!
Tom Project Indigo
I’m Tom. Join me on my adventure through time and space!
Hello everyone and welcome to a new blog post. This time I am not visiting a filming location but rather an actual TARDIS – the TARDIS at Dunbury Church of England Academy! I read about the Dunbury Academy TARDIS in my local newspaper, the Daily Echo, and when I saw the article I thought ‘I want to go there!’. I emailed the school and got invited to have a trip through time and space on the TARDIS…
Dunbury Academy is in the village of Winterborne Whitechurch. It is a small school for the children of the Winterborne Valley in Dorset and the school’s motto is
Inspire, Learn, Empower.
I was given the opportunity to have the day off from my school so that I could visit the TARDIS and I travelled there last week by train and bus. When I arrived at the school I couldn’t help but notice how small it was compared to my own. I felt very welcome and I was immediately greeted by Mr Payne the teacher who made the TARDIS, who invited me to come and have a lesson. On Thursday night Mr Payne was awarded Nursery / Primary Teacher of the Year in the first ever Daily Echo School Awards. Well done Mr Payne!
I was greeted by some of the Dunbury students and got taken to the TARDIS which was materialised on the first floor. There was no key but I was allowed to open the door using a Sonic Screwdriver. I couldn’t stop saying ‘Wow!’ as I was so surprised – it was bigger than I thought it would be but then again, it is a TARDIS. I started exploring but suddenly Daleks appeared on the screen – we were under threat!
Be quiet you!
First we had to solve a coded message from Rassilon, the Lord High President of Gallifrey then we travelled around time and space meeting many historic figures. The pupils and I had to solve multiple puzzles to ensure we were safe from the Daleks, including maths, codes, Roman Numerals and Hieroglyphics. First we met Archimedes in 214 BC, then went to Egypt to meet Cleopatra in 69 BC. Next to Rome to meet Julius Caesar in 48 BC who sent us to see the Viking Explorer, Eric the Red, in 991 AD. We then went to see William the Conqueror in 1066 AD who sent us on our way to see the Doctor’s old friend (and mine!) Winnie Churchill in 1940. We finally solved the Tablet of Skaro but it was a trap – the Daleks had kidnapped K-9! After some timey-wimey stuff we found him and we were safe from being blown to space smithereens. Yay!
Told you we went to Rome!
After all that excitement I had some time to interview the children about their time in the TARDIS. I asked them what they thought when they first saw it and immediately two of them said ‘Amazed!’ at exactly the same time. Someone else said ‘Speechless!’. It was built in the school holidays so when they saw it, it was a real surprise.
They have learnt all different subjects in the TARDIS but it was built as part of a Space Topic. For English they travelled to space to write a description of a planet. For Maths they have had tests and learnt about Roman Numerals. They have visited the planet Kepler 452B which is 1400 light years away. It would take 26 million years to travel there if you didn’t have a TARDIS. Kepler 452B is 60 % bigger than earth and orbits around a star. Like Earth it is in the Goldilocks Zone which means that there could be life on there. To sum it up – they have learnt A LOT of stuff! I also told the pupils about Project Indigo, especially the filming locations I have visited in Dorset which was a surprise for them.
Then it was time for Assembly and I went along to support the school and see how different it was to my school. The classes are named after trees and there were only two at the Winterborne Whitechurch base. Certificates were handed out and pupils were rewarded for their achievements. The new First Aiders got to use their skills to help out the Headmaster Mr Barker.
After assembly it was home time for the pupils and I got to interview Mr Payne. He built the TARDIS because he wants to inspire children and the first time they saw it they flew through the solar system! He has also built Hogwarts and Narnia style classrooms before.
Mr Payne has been a fan of Doctor Who since he was three and his favourite Doctor is Tom Baker because he grew up with him. If you need any proof he is dressed as the Fourth Doctor in his first photo! He is also a fan of David Tennant – and if you need any proof of that he did a Magic Show with him once for Children In Need!
I asked Mr Payne where he would like to go in time and space and he said he is happy right here, right now. He really likes his class and the school and wouldn’t want to change anything. If Mr Payne had to go somewhere he would choose to see the future. He said to imagine what it would be like for someone waking up after 20 years in a coma. I think it would be very confusing to see new pieces of technology at work, and it would very sad if people in your family had passed away.
Mr Payne could design the TARDIS as he was a helicopter designer once. The TARDIS was made in his garage over two weeks – the hardest part was collecting all the egg boxes for the walls, it took him months to get them! A friend of his helped build the console and donated the Doctor Who cardboard cut-outs from work.
I asked Mr Payne if the Headmaster Mr Barker was hesitant in saying yes to having a TARDIS at school or was he quick off the bat? He said that Mr Barker said yes immediately and that the TARDIS has had lots of support from all the staff, parents and children.
A TARDIS in a TARDIS
After I interviewed Mr Payne I had one last go in the TARDIS before I had to leave. The TARDIS is just Wow! I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone at Dunbury Academy for their hospitality. I felt so welcome and the staff and pupils were all really nice. It is a very friendly, cheerful school and I had a fantastic day.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my time at Dunbury Academy. In a few days something exciting is happening – Project Indigo is turning 2! I hope you will come back and read about my other adventures.
Hello and welcome to Showmasters’ second Film & Comic Con Bournemouth! This event was held on March 12th and 13th 2016 at Bournemouth International Centre. I was lucky enough to be given a Press Pass so I could pop along and meet the Doctor Who actors and report back to my Project Indigo readers.
I went along on the Saturday and the weather was very awkward – it was so misty that day that you couldn’t even see the BIC! Luckily I found the BIC eventually – the huge queue was a clue. After I arrived I got my bearings and explored. The layout was different to the last Film & Comic Con Bournemouth and spread over more halls so there was more space for everybody to enjoy themselves.
Noel says that he has written a ‘treatment’ of the story of Martha and Mickey just for fun. I would love to see that. Would you like a Martha and Mickey spin-off? Please leave a comment and let me know. Noel said that he would like there to be a Doctor Who Universe of stories just like the Marvel Universe.
After Noel’s talk I went to meet Anneke Wills who played Polly, the First and Second Doctor’s companion. Anneke was very cheerful so I felt confident to ask her my questions. I asked Anneke where she would like to go in time and space and she said she would love to go to The Globe Theatre in Shakespearean times. She told me that once Sylvester McCoy said exactly the same thing. I would like to see Anneke and Sylvester performing together on the stage at the present Globe Theatre.
Next I asked Anneke where her favourite Doctor Who filming location was. She told me that they were usually filming in the studio but did get out to some lovely locations including Frensham Ponds, Winspit Quarry and underneath the Post Office Tower. I went to Winspit Quarry many months ago at the blast-off of Project Indigo and would like to visit the other locations too. Sadly many of Anneke’s episodes are amongst the missing Doctor Who episodes, and I really hope they are found one day.
Exploring the stalls at Film & Comic Con Bournemouth
Having a go at Samba De Amigo
After lunch I explored more and played in the Gaming Zone. I also went to the Cosplay Zone and watched a very bizarre version of Blind Date! There were Cosplayers everywhere, apart from Doctor Who I saw many other Sci-Fi characters and this time there were lots of girls dressed as Rey from Star Wars. I also met my #T-shirtTwin Isaac!
Joe as a past Doctor and Thomas Gladwell as a future Doctor
Brendan as the Sixth Doctor
Richard as the Tenth Doctor
Spot the difference! Tom and Isaac #T-shirtTwins!
Next I met Jemma Redgrave – otherwise known as Kate Lethbridge Stewart, daughter of the Brigadier and UNIT’s Head of Scientific Research. Kate was once blown out of an aeroplane but luckily she was caught by her Dad who was a Cyberman at the time! Jemma was very friendly and kind. She said her favourite Doctor Who filming location is The Tower of London, which is where UNIT’s Secret Headquarters are. She also liked filming in the Black Archive (which is really in the BBC Studio in Cardiff).
I asked Jemma where she would like to go in time and space and she said she would like to travel near a black hole – because time goes more slowly there and when she came back she would be younger than me! I hope she doesn’t go too close, I don’t want her to get sucked in.
A few stalls down from Jemma was Noel Clarke who was a cheeky chappie and a lot of fun. Mickey is one of my favourite companions and it was a privilege to meet Noel. I told Noel about Project Indigo and he said I should go to Arizona (where Day of The Moon (2011) was filmed). I will definitely go there one day …. Noel said that his favourite Doctor Who filming location was London.
I asked him where he would go in time and space and he said he would like to go to the future to check that all the people, animals and the world are ok. That’s a good answer Noel!
After all that I was very tired and decided to go home. As I was leaving I took a last look at the stalls and I bought a life-like Matt Smith print. It is a pencil drawing of the Eleventh Doctor by Chris Baker who is a very talented young artist. His drawings are so authentic that the people look like they could pop right out of the picture! I had a chat with Chris’ family and they told me all about watching the Doctor Who filming that has happened near their home in Cardiff. Chris and his Mum have even made cameo appearances in Sherlock. Please visit Chris’ website www.cjbart.com to see what he can do!
I had a lot of fun at Film & Comic Con Bournemouth- sadly I couldn’t go on Day 2 to meet up again with Simon Fisher – Becker and Iain McNiece as I have met them both before and they are both nice blokes. Thank you Showmasters for bringing these events to Bournemouth – I’m looking forward to the next one in September!
Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll come back again next time when I tell you all about a special trip I have just had in a TARDIS …..
Ciao! Welcome to Fifteenth Century Italy – otherwise known as Portmeirion in July 2015! We are travelling back in time to last summer to visit North Wales for the filming location of the Tom Baker Doctor Who episode The Masque of Mandragora (1976).
In this classic episode, The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane materialise the TARDIS in an orange grove on Earth in the 15th Century, which the Doctor describes as
‘not a pleasant time’.
They are in San Martino, Italy in 1492 and have brought a piece of energy from the Mandragora Helix with them by accident! This story is a historical drama which was rare for Doctor Who at that time.
Portmeirion is located in area of Wales called Gwynedd and is near Porthmadog. It was designed and built by the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the style of an Italian village, and it is now a tourist village. Work started in 1925 and it took 50 years for him to build this village but it was finished just before he died. He built it to show how you can develop a naturally beautiful site without ruining it. If you would like to find out more about the history of Portmeirion please check out this excellent blog post A Very Brief History of Portmeirion Village.
I’m glad he’s holding that up! This is Hercules.
Outside the Unicorn House! Where are the rainbows?
Proof it was sunny when I was there!
Another view of the Unicorn House
Apart from Doctor Who, Portmeirion has served as the location for many films and television shows, and is very well known as the filming location for the 1960s television show The Prisoner. It is also famous for pottery – in fact my own plates are made by Portmeirion Pottery from the Botanic Garden range .
The Prisoner was filmed in Portmeirion
The house of Number 6 in The Prisoner
I visited Portmeirion during my Welsh road-trip of 2015 and it was my first Northern Wales stop – the weather was very sunny which showed off the colours of Portmeirion and it looked very cheerful.
This doesn’t look like Wales – where am I?
Well this view is even better!
In The Masque of Mandragora DVD extra ‘Secret of the Labyrinth’ (the original name for this episode) the episode Producer Philip Hinchcliffe said that he had been to Portmeirion many years before and that the writer Louis Marks had studied Renaissance Italy at Oxford. They couldn’t go abroad to film this episode but Portmeirion stepped up!
Production Manager Chris D’Oyly-John thought it was good news that they had a location but a lot of time and money was spent travelling back and forth between London and North Wales. With travelling the shoot would take 5 or 6 days and there were no motorways. It was hard to get horses, props, costumes and make-up vans there.
To keep it looking like 15th Century Italy the Director Rodney Bennett did very selective shooting and not many panoramic movements. He used the Italianate backgrounds and covered up bits that didn’t look right for the period. A fake catacomb entrance was made to link the studio scenes with Portmeirion.
There is also a DVD extra, produced by Richard Bignell, called Now and Then. It says that in a memo, written on 03.01.76, Philip Hinchcliffe said:
‘The only suitable location for exterior location filming is Portmeirion in North Wales’.
Filming started on the 3rd of May 1976 and lasted three days. In three months it will be the 40th Anniversary!
The DVD extra shows us a map the places that were used for filming. I didn’t get to visit the woods but I visited everywhere else in the village.
The Bridge House. You are welcome to enter Portmeirion.
Outside the Pantheon
The first stop was the Bridge House which was used as the City Gate when Count Federico returns to San Martino. He also passes the Pantheon.
The Doctor fled the soldiers in the market here
Look out for the soldiers!
The Bell Tower above Battery Square
Where’s my lunch?
Battery Square was used for the market scene when the Doctor was on the run from the soldiers. Hangings were used to hide the bits that didn’t look suitable. There was no market when I was there, it was all set.
Who just ran past here?
The Loggia with the hidden Buddha
Hello Mr Buddha, do you know your way around here?
Have you seen the Doctor anywhere?
The Doctor passes The Loggia which houses a big Golden Buddha.
This is on the way to The Temple of Demnos
The Bristol Colonnade
Enjoying the sun in front of the Bristol Colonnade
The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Giuliano scurry along the Bristol Colonnade on their way to the Temple Ruins.
No executions today!
A side view of the Gloriette
See, it was all a façade! The back of the Gloriette.
In the Piazza there is a gloriette facing the ornamental pond. The Doctor is brought there to be executed but luckily tricked the executor to get away. It’s not a real building, it is just a façade. Rugs covered the iron work in the same way the hangings were used.
The Doctor jumped over the balustrade
Did you see the Doctor on horseback?
Outside Hercules Hall
Inside Hercules Hall – you can get married here!
Where is the Doctor’s horse? This is the road to Hercules Hall
The Doctor rode a horse past the Hercules Hall and jumps the balustrade and steps on his way to the woodlands.
Between Neptune and Trinity Cottages, the Doctor is chased, past the Watchhouse and Belltower down towards the beach.
Clough Williams-Ellis liked the look of the ruins Temple of Demnos and asked the BBC to leave them. Sadly they were made of polystyrene!
‘…..we know it’s Portmeirion, but actually when you are watching it I don’t think that distracts, I don’t think it gets in the way at all. I’m absolutely convinced they went to Italy as far as I’m concerned’
which proves that Portmeirion was the most convincing place to film The Masque of Mandragora!
Portmeirion is a calm, tranquil and cool place to visit and is worth the travel. My favourite part was paddling in the pool in the Piazza – I was lucky that it was sunny that day because it is Wales which is a very rainy country. I hope that it will be bright for you too if you go.
In other news, I am VERY peeved about the latest Doctor Who news – Steven Moffat is quitting and there will be no new series to watch in 2016! I guess I will just have to watch some old episodes instead – there are lots for me to watch still so at least I have that to look forward to. What do you think of this news? Please leave a comment and let me know.
Thank you for reading my post, I have another classic location to tell you about next.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you enjoyed The Husbands of River Song (2015) as well! It was an amazing Doctor Who story to watch at Christmas and I really enjoyed it, I’m just sad that we now have to wait a long while until the next new episode comes!
In the meantime we are going to hop in my TARDIS and travel back in time to the summer of 2015. Welcome to Puzzlewood near Coleford in The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire – a forest for which there is no map! Puzzlewood is a filming location for many TV shows and films – including a little known film called Star Wars Episode VII- The Force Awakens. Have any of you seen it? I would be surprised if you have😉
“the most magical forest on the face of the earth”.
Highlight the following text to reveal the spoiler! When I saw Star Wars Episode VII I instantly recognised Puzzlewood in the scene on the planet Takodana, where Rey takes BB-8 to the woods for safety and bumps into Kylo Ren…..
DON’T BLINK! Do you remember in Flesh and Stone (2010) when the Doctor, River and Amy are being chased down by the Weeping Angels? Puzzlewood was the filming location for the cybernetic forest on board The Byzantium which provided the passengers with air. As they travelled through the forest, poor Amy had to keep her eyes shut as she had a Weeping Angel in her eye. Luckily for me I didn’t run into any Weeping Angels when I was there!
Aboard the Byzantium in the cybernetic forest
Puzzlewood was also a filming location for The Time of the Doctor (Christmas Special 2013), Matt Smith’s final episode which saw the Eleventh Doctor regenerate. In this episode the Doctor and Clara were attacked by the Weeping Angels in a frosty land – rescued only by the old Key in the Quiff Routine!
Apart from Star Wars Episode VII and Doctor Who, other things filmed at Puzzlewood include Atlantis, Merlin, Wizards vs Aliens ( written by Russell T Davies) , Jack the Giant Slayer and Tree Fu Tom which stars Sophie Aldred aka Ace and the Tenth Doctor David Tennant! Puzzlewood is so popular because of its very special scenery and it looks amazing on screen.There is a wall of photos inside showing the many programmes and films that have used this location and you can spot many famous actors who have filmed here.
Up the stairs …
It’s a jungle in here!
I wonder what is around the corner?
On show at Puzzlewood, Scowles are the geological feature. Scowles are found throughout the Forest of Dean and are ancient caves formed millions of years ago in the carboniferous limestone that have come to the surface due to erosion. The rocks are covered in a feathery moss and there are bright green ferns that make the forest so green (and the trees are so green too!) that it is the greenest place I have ever been. It is said that Puzzlewood was the inspiration for the forests of Middle Earth in JRR Tolkein’s books, which sounds pretty reasonable to me!
A magical tree!
Is this Middle Earth?
Searching for Hobbits!
I had a really nice time at Puzzlewood and enjoyed getting lost in the woods and trying to figure my way out -it was a real puzzle! I found many things including a magic doorway and dinosaur feet. The weather changed all the time and it got wetter and muddier as the weather changed from good to bad, good to bad. The mud got more slippery and more slippery and I ended up with my first Project Indigo related injury – a banged collar bone and very muddy trousers! Top tip – if you visit Puzzlewood, wear old clothes and wellies.
I found the dinosaur feet!
I found the magical doorway!
Recovering from my injury!
Puzzlewood is a must visit place for fans of Sci-Fi and Fantasy of all ages! Thank you for reading and I hope you will join me again for my next Doctor Who adventure – and I wish all Project Indigo readers a Happy New Year for 2016!
‘Ello me Old Chinas and welcome to East London for The Doctor Who Festival at London ExCel! I was really excited to be going to an official Doctor Who Festival and was honoured to be given a Press Pass to report on the event for my Project Indigo readers.
The Doctor Who Festival ran from the 13th-15th November 2015. I went to the festival on Saturday and spent the night before in Greenwich as the festival opened its doors to the public bright and early and I didn’t want to miss a thing. I travelled to the Excel via Docklands Light Railway and got off at Custom House station. The Excel lives up to its name as it is XL! It is so big that there are 2 DLR stations either side.
As soon as I collected my Press Pass from the Boulevard I went up to the Press Lounge on Level 3 to introduce myself and say thank you to BBC Worldwide. I was really happy to meet Cath who arranged for me to have my pass. It was a spacious room with free refreshments, and new merchandise on display. I was also able to take home boxsets of Doctor Who Series 9 Part 1 and The Ten Christmas Specials in exchange for a donation to Children in Need.
The Festival goers were divided into Daleks and Cybermen. I was part of the Dalek stream which meant that I went to the Main Theatre shows with the writers and cast in the morning.
First I went to the Drama School for the ‘Act Like a Monster’ show with voice of the Daleks Nick Briggs and Dalek actor Barnaby Edwards. They needed three victims volunteers to perform in a show about ‘Davros’ Diabolical Daleks’, playing a Dalek and UNIT soldiers. Barnaby said that there has been no change in how to operate a Dalek in 52 years. A Tenth Doctor Cosplayer called Ash played the Dalek – that’s the only time there’s ever been a Doctor inside a Dalek apart from Into the Dalek (2014)! Ash said that it was hot and claustrophobic inside a Dalek. The Dalek came apart like a wedding cake and I got a good look inside.
Dare I look at what is under here?
The show was a laugh and good fun to watch. Afterwards there was a Q&A and someone asked what other Doctor Who characters they would like to play. Barnaby said The Brigadier and Nick said The Doctor! I got to meet the Dalek himself, Barnaby Edwards, which I was really pleased about.
After the show I had to rush off to the Main Hall to Meet the Writers! I was really looking forward to this part as I am considering being a writer myself. I already have lots of ideas for Doctor Who stories and I would love to develop the scripts and see them on the TV screen one day. On the way in everyone was given a script from The Magician’s Apprentice (2015).
The writers on Saturday were Steven Moffat, (Steven says his title is not Showrunner as the Press call him, but Head Writer) Sarah Dollard and Peter Harness. There was a Q&A and they offered advice for other writers. Steven says he cries a lot and thinks he can’t finish a story – and his wife once filmed him to remind him he thinks that all the time! Someone asked how to cure ‘writer’s block’ and Steven said there’s no such thing, it just means you are stuck! Steven needs a Swear Jar because he has a potty mouth – Ha Ha.
Sarah said that when she learnt about ‘Trap Streets’ she knew she had to write a story about them and Face The Raven (2015) became an ideal story for Doctor Who. The writers talked about a ‘terrible event’ that she had to write into the story – we know what that is now. Poor Clara, and poor Sarah for having to write it!
After the trio went off the stage there was a short break then time to Meet the Cast! Out came Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver along with Steven again. There was a big eruption in the room because everyone was so excited to see them. It was a definitely a day out for the Peter Capaldi Fan Club!
Peter bowed to Jenna as she is currently playing Queen Victoria. I wonder if she will set up Torchwood in the story?
We watched some clips and looked at some pictures, then the cast answered some questions. Steven was amazed that there was a petition to bring back the Sonic Screwdriver. I quite like the sunglasses, I think the Doctor should stay with them. I think sunglasses are cooler than screwdrivers.
Someone asked Steven if he would set a story in Ireland. Steven said that Wales can look just like Ireland and if they went abroad to film it would have to be as different to Wales as possible to be worth the money to film there. That makes it easier for me to visit Doctor Who locations!
Peter looks very serious!
Is that what I think it is? It must be the real one as Peter Capaldi walked out of it.
Great minds think alike! The cast think of some answers.
The cast were asked what monsters they would like to bring back? Peter said the Zarbi and the Menoptera and Steven said the Sea Devils.
Later they were asked what companion they would like to bring back. Peter and Steven said ‘Clara!’ at exactly the same time. They made Jenna feel guilty for dumping them!
Meet the Cast was a great opportunity for everyone to ask questions about Doctor Who and daily life on set, the team really know how to look after their fans.
What’s weird about this TARDIS? It’s made of Lego!
Lego Dimensions on the big screen
After a quick lunch (veggie sausage roll) I went to Stage One to a talk about the game Lego Dimensions. Mark Warburton from TT Games was there to tell us about bringing the Doctor Who characters into the Lego Dimensions world and answer questions from the audience. Stephen Moffat helped create the Doctor character so that he was just right.
Mark said everyone felt it ‘was about time the Doctor had his time in the sun!’ He also said that as Whovians they put Missy in the game when her identity was a secret, so that they could find out who she was!
Whilst I was at the Lego talk I met my friend George aka Mini Matt Smith! I have been friends with George online for yonks but it was finally time to meet in person. As Mini Matt Smith he is a Youtuber with lots of fans and he has interviewed many Doctor Who stars including Peter Capaldi onstage at the Series 9 Premiere! George invited me to visit him in his TARDIS which I hope to do. Sadly we live 200 miles apart but I will definitely take him up on the offer one day! It was really nice to meet George and his family.
After the talk and hearing about the features of Lego Dimensions I was convinced I wanted to play it so the Press Lounge was my first stop. The graphics were amazing, like everything else about the game, and I really liked the way they made the Daleks out of Lego. I played as the Twelfth Doctor and also saw K-9 and Batman. The chemistry is still forming between the Doctor and Batman, but they will make it!
I played for as long as I could until I had to let someone else have a turn. I hope Father Christmas brings me the game because I CAN’T WAIT TO PLAY AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Showing off the Lego Dimensions Doctor Who Level Pack
Playing Lego Dimensions
After I left the lounge I went back to Level 1 and explored an Iconic Room Set. This was Davros’ Sick Room from the Series 9 two-parter opener The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar (2015). It really felt like you were in the episode and Davros looked real, but I was brave. It was a bit smaller than I expected and I wondered how they fit the cameras onto the set. The props looked so hard to make so Millennium FX must be very good at their job.
In Davros’ Sick Room. This Sick Room is SICK!
Guess which episode these props are from?
Next I went to the MFX area to see them at work. There I met my mate Jon Davey! Jon is a Doctor Who monster actor who has been in over 30 episodes and I’ve met him a few times now. I always like to try and spot Jon when I watch a new episode. Recently he had a staring competition with Doctor John Disco in The Zygon Inversion (2015). In Series 9 he also played The Mire and I got to try on the costume! It was dark inside and my eyes couldn’t reach the visor so I couldn’t see a thing. It was really fun and I’d love to make a Mire costume at home for a Cosplay, I think I would need some help from the guys at MFX though. Check out this video of all of Jon’s performances in one go – it’s awesome!
I have big ham hands!
You need to brush your teeth young man!
I’ve been possessed by The Mire! Thanks Jon Davey.
The last talk of the day was the Millennium FX Show with Special Guest Mark Gatiss. Mark is a writer and actor, he has appeared as both Professor Lazarus and Gantok in Doctor Who and written 8 episodes. Fact fans – 38% of Project Indigo readers chose Mark Gatiss’ episode Robot of Sherwood (2014) as their favourite episode of Series 8!
In the show Mark and the MFX Team talked about how they create the monsters and take them from script to screen. Mark came up with an idea for a parasite that feeds off of parts of the brain that we don’t use and two designers created their own versions on the stage.
Who’s the handsome man with the ginger beard on the big screen? Mark Gatiss!
Who’s that red handsome man with all the teeth? Mr Sweet!
The MFX Talk
Mr Sweet from The Crimson Horror (2013) made a guest appearance and Mark explained how he worked. Mr Sweet was much more cheerful in real life and seemed really cute.
Next they brought out The Mire, and Mark Gatiss threatened to show the ugly creature inside. He took of The Mire’s head and underneath was …. Jon Davey! A volunteer came onstage and Jon taught him how to move like an Ice Warrior. Jon has been in many episodes so has lots of experience.
Beware the scary monster – Jon Davey!
Mr Sandman – bring me a fright!
All of the sudden the lights turned out and a Spoiler Alert came out from behind the sofa! It was a Sandman from Sleep No More (2015), Mark’s latest episode that was airing that day.
The final thing I did before I left was play The Doctor and the Dalek. I played a custom level that had been created by another guest and had to shoot Daleks. I was having a great time playing but sadly it was time to go.
I was really sad to leave but I hope they do another Festival one day. The Doctor Who team have really made their fans happy. On the way out I met a man who had his photo taken with Michelle Gomez and he was so chuffed that it made me so happy to see how happy he was. This event was something that Whovians will remember for their whole life and I was ecstatic to be part of it!
HO HO HO! Christmas is coming and to celebrate I am giving Project Indigo readers the chance to win an amazing prize –
A Doctor Who: The 10 Christmas Specials LIMITED EDITION BOX SET!
THANK YOU so much to BBC Worldwide for donating this very special prize which one lucky reader will win!
To be in with a chance of winning , here is the question that you must answer!
Now Clara is leaving the TARDIS, who would you like the Doctor to have an adventure with? You can choose anyone in time and space!
Please leave a comment on this post with your answer and one winner will be picked at random. Only one entry per person please. I will e-mail the winner to confirm the delivery address. Sorry but I can only post within the UK.
Closing date is 11.59 pm on Sunday December 13th 2015.
This SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION BOXSET (DVD) contains all 10 Christmas specials plus a set of 5 graphically illustrated Christmas cards, exclusive bonus feature & accompanying booklet.
In these action-packed episodes, the Doctor must save the world from an array of monsters including Killer Santas, The Sycorax, Rachnoss, The Wooden King & Queen and The Dream Crabs.
Tenth Doctor David Tennant in
THE CHRISTMAS INVASION / THE RUNAWAY BRIDE
VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED / THE NEXT DOCTOR
THE END OF TIME (PARTS ONE & TWO)
Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith in
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
THE DOCTOR, THE WIDOW AND THE WARDROBE
THE SNOWMEN / THE TIME OF THE DOCTOR
Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi in
BONUS FEATURE: TEN CHRISTMASES
In this exclusive new feature, Rufus Hound journeys through Christmas past to show many of the greatest moments and monsters. Also includes personal reflections from Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat.
This Boxset and Doctor Who Series 9: Part 1 are now available to buy on DVD at bbcstore.com .
Croeso and welcome to the West Wales Museum of Childhood in ….West Wales! We are travelling back in time to August 2015 for a trip down Memory Lane. I visited the West Wales Museum of Childhood during my summer road -trip around Wales, and I popped into the museum when I was leaving Newcastle Emlyn on my way to visit Conwy. I got a big surprise when I discovered there were a lot of Doctor Who toys there – I was expecting all the toys to be old fashioned.
The West Wales Museum of Childhood is at Pen-ffynnon, 1 mile from Llangeler in Carmarthenshire. There is a tea room and a gift shop and the museum has 10,000 exhibits! A warm welcome is offered to ‘everyone who is – or ever has been – a child’.
The museum was created by Paul and Hilary Kennelly and Vic Davey to display the toys and memorabilia that they have been collecting for most of their lives. They bought the farm, Pen-ffynnon, in August 2002 and gradually turned it into the place I am reviewing today. I had a good chat with Hilary and she told me that she met the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, many years ago when he was playing Worzel Gummidge.
Is the Doctor here?
Can you guess what decade this is?
When I arrived I went into the ‘Oriel Amser’ (Gallery of Time ) which is a timeline of the 20th Century with memorabilia and displays of toys to look at.
Next to this is a stable where you can see costumes and traditions from Wales, and an antique toyshop window ‘Siop Deganau’ displaying Welsh toys.
Next door is a barn full of little metal toys and an old school room that shows you what school was like in Wales’ old days. Next is the carthouse which contains train sets and a huge collection of Action Man toys.
Finally we come to my favourite bit – the Doctor Who stuff in the Television and Film Gallery! This was originally the kitchen in mid-Victorian times. It contains lots of merchandise from film and television over the last 60 years. At the entrance is a magnificent mural painted by Paul, depicting a Dalek exterminating a TV , whilst the Eleventh Doctor and James Bond have a sonic weapon-off!
The room is crammed with Sci-Fi treasures including an original Dalek Dress-up suit from 1965. I dressed up as a Cyberman but deleted nothing as I was a good Cyberman. I would recommend any Doctor Who fans who live in, or visit West Wales, to go and see this collection. There are A LOT of special Doctor Who treasures to treasure which have been happily collected and displayed for you to enjoy. It was lovely to look at the toys and imagine what it would have been like to be a Doctor Who fan 50 years ago and I even saw some items from my own toybox.
I am being Upgraded!!!!
A Dalek dress-up suit from 1965
You could have your very own TARDIS
A Matchbox collection – spot the Robot!
What are you doing up there K-9?
This museum was an amazing place to visit and I really enjoyed riding on the kiddy cars. If you are ever in Carmarthenshire make sure you stop off and see it for yourself! If you have been already please leave a comment and tell me what you liked best.
In other news, I am off to London this weekend to go to the Doctor Who Festival! There will be lots of stars there including Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver. I hope you will come back soon so I can tell you all about it.