Hello – it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas which means that it is time for the third annual Project Indigo Christmas Competition!
Christmas Day is very special this year as we will see the first new episode of Doctor Who in a whole year – “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”! The last time we saw the Doctor was last Christmas Day and we left him at The Singing Towers of Darillium with River Song. I wonder what on Gallifrey he will do next? At the moment we don’t know what will happen in the Christmas episode but there will be a special preview on Children In Need on November 18th.
To celebrate Christmas and the return of the Doctor I am giving Project Indigo readers the chance to win a fantastic prize!
A UNIQUE OFFICIAL DOCTOR WHO PERSONALISED SIGN, EXCLUSIVE TO THE BRADFORD EXCHANGE
One irrepressible Time Lord and a host of alien enemies transported from another space and time directly to your home. Now you can let your Earthly visitors know exactly where they’ve landed with your own Doctor Who Personalised Sign. Featuring the Doctor and his trusty TARDIS surrounded by swirling cogs of time and space containing some of the of the most memorable monsters he has encountered on his travels, this officially licensed Doctor Who sign measures an eye-catching 14” x 10” (approx 35cm x 25cm approx.). It is the perfect way to welcome fellow time-travellers into your home, office, TV room or clubhouse! Best of all, it can be customised just for you. Just think of something that goes with “FROM GALLIFREY…”
This wooden sign is ready to hang in your home. Each one-off is handcrafted in the UK individually with your wording.
THANK YOU so much to The Bradford Exchange 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!
Which enemy would you like to see the Twelfth Doctor face? You can choose anyone or anything 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 their details and arrange delivery of their prize. Sorry but I can only post within the UK.
Closing date is 11.59 pm on Sunday December 11th 2016.
This Doctor Who Personalised Sign is available to buy here from The Bradford Exchange along with other official Doctor Who products that you won’t find anywhere else. The ideal Christmas presents for any Whovian!
Just a quick post to tell you about this really cool watch that I’ve heard about – The Doctor Who Time Vortex Watch! This watch looks like it would really suit the Twelfth Doctor or any other Whovian who needs to keep track of Timey Wimey stuff. Travelling in the TARDIS can be pretty confusing sometimes so it would be great to have one of these watches to help!
This watch is available from The Bradford Exchange and you can read all about it here….
Hello and welcome to another Film & Comic Con in Bournemouth!
This is the third convention organised by Showmasters in my home town and it always gets a big turnout. The people of Bournemouth love a chance to meet actors from their favourite TV shows and films and buy awesome merchandise! Showmasters were very generous and gave me a Press Pass so I could report on this event for my Project Indigo readers.
Film & Comic Con Bournemouth took place at the BIC once more on the 3rd and 4th September 2016. I went on both days because there were different Doctor Who actors there on each day and I wanted to meet all of them!
When I arrived on Saturday I explored the stalls straightaway as I have been caught up in the Pokemon Go craze and I was really keen to find a Pokeball. There were so many stalls that there was bound to be one on one of them. Many stallholders had made their items and liked the chance to show their skills.
One stall that caught my eye was called Small World Pictures. I met the artist Bob Ford who draws a lot of amazing Sci Fi drawings. He uses pen and ink to draw very detailed pictures with little characters. Each picture takes him 35 hours to make which must be tiring. His Doctor Who picture was spectacular and contains all the Doctors and all the companions up to today. Make sure to take a look at his website to see what he can do!
Doctor Squee and Claire selling Dottie’s Charms
What does your Doctor smell like?
I also saw Doctor Squee from Gallifrey Stands Podcast on another stall. He and Claire were holding a stall called Dottie’s Charms selling sci-fi style jewellery and Doctor Who lip balms and candles. The candles are all inspired by Doctor Who characters such as the Fourth Doctor Jellybean, the TARDIS Blueberry Muffin and the Dalek Dark Chocolate. You should definitely check out Dotties’s Charms if you like Sci-Fi themed goodies!
After shopping it was time to meet the stars. The first person I met was Jacqueline Pearce. She played Chessene in The Two Doctors (1985) and has done multiple roles in Big Finish episodes. She is most famous for playing Servilan in Blake’s Seven. Jacqueline was nothing like her Doctor Who character as Chessene was a bad guy and Jacqueline was very kind. I asked Jacqueline my questions and she told me all about Seville where she filmed The Two Doctors. If Jacqueline could go anywhere in time and space she would like to go to Edwardian times because she loves the frocks!
After Jacqueline I went next door and met Christopher Fairbank who played Fenton in Flatline (2014). Christopher has been in everything in the world (slight exaggeration!). He has been in Dickensian, Guardians of the Galaxy, Jack the Giant Slayer, Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides and many more that I won’t put because it is making my head hurt to think about it!
I asked Christopher about filming Flatline and he told me all about where he filmed around Cardiff in subways, a blocked off viaduct and a shopping centre and Barry Island. When filming part of the tunnel scene in a disused railway (in Winchcombe) he said that they had to be careful to stay off the railways lines in case a phantom train came. He also said it was very smelly there which added to the atmosphere.
If Christopher could go anywhere in time and space he would not like to go the future but he would like to go to the 19th Century as he is big fan of Charles Dickens. Christopher was a very jolly man and I was very happy to meet him.
After speaking to Christopher I went back home and came back the next day. On Sunday I started off in the Cosplay Zone and watched an epic lip-synch battle. Many people cosplay at conventions and it is a great chance to show what they like. I saw lots of great cosplays including many different Doctors and companions. Check them out here:-
Sarah as the Fourth Doctor
Liam as the Eleventh Doctor
Quinn as the Eleventh Doctor
Ian as the Fifth Doctor
Lucy as the Eighth Doctor
Mitchell as the Second Doctor, Ian as the Fifth Doctor
My first meet of the day was Peter Purves aka the First Doctor’s companion Steven Taylor. Peter is also well known as a Blue Peter presenter so I showed him my badge and told him about Project Indigo being featured on a Blue Peter Doctor Who special.
Peter said he filmed Doctor Who in not very exotic locations like Egham Borough Council sandpit. He did get to Frensham Ponds to film the The Myth Makers (1965). He said he got to go to much better places for Blue Peter.
If Peter could go anywhere in time and space he wouldn’t go too far back as there are many things that make it difficult to survive. He doesn’t have much hope for the future so he would be happy just to get to see tomorrow! It was an honour to meet Peter.
Next to Peter was Richard Franklin aka Captain Mike Yates, member of UNIT who helped the Third Doctor. Richard was very friendly and told me about his filming locations. He said he had 1 good location and 8 awful ones. The best was 2 weeks in Aldbourne, Wiltshire where he filmed The Daemons (1971). The first week of filming they enjoyed proper sunshine and the next week they had a snowstorm! He told me I should go there and see the Village Green and all the other places they filmed. Richard’s worst location was Dungeness Beach in January as it was very cold indeed.
If he could go anywhere in time and space Richard would like to go to the first planet with human beings. A place on earth he would like to go is New Zealand.
Following Richard I went to see David Gooderson who played Davros in Destiny of the Daleks (1979) and he said the others got to go to a quarry in Swanage but as Davros he was stuck in the studio. If David could go anywhere in time and space he would go to Mars as he has been very intrigued by all the news reports about the exploration of Mars. I had a great chat with David all about school as I was starting big school the next day and he was a very cheery man – most unexpected for the creator of the daleks!
After David I met Tom Hopper who played Jeff Angelo in The Eleventh Hour (2010), who helps save the world by letting the Eleventh Doctor use his laptop to spread a virus. As well as Doctor Who, Tom starred as Sir Percival in Merlin and Billy Bones in Black Sails.
If Tom could go anywhere in time and space he would like to go back to the 1980’s when he was born, and also go forward to the future – in fact be just like Marty McFly in Back to the Future! He would even like to go the Wild West just like Back to the Future 3. What a creative answer. Tom was really sweet and I enjoyed talking to him a lot.
My last chat of the day was with Deborah Watling who played Victoria, companion to the Second Doctor. I told her I had just visited Botany Bay where she filmed Fury from the Deep (1968) and she said ‘I had forgotten all about that. Thank you for reminding me!’.
I asked Deborah if she had been to any good filming locations for Doctor Who and she said that I had to be joking. All her locations were gravel pits and tanks of foam – nothing glamorous. If Deborah could go anywhere in time and space she would like to go to the Moon. I wonder if she knows that the moon is an egg?
My last event of the day was the Doctor Who panel, where Deborah, Peter, David and Richard answered questions from the audience.
They were asked what their favourite episodes were and said:-
Deborah – Fury from the Deep as she loved the monster.
They were all asked if they would like to appear in Doctor Who on TV again. Richard said he would love to but no-one has asked. Peter and David would both like to play the Doctor and Deborah would like to be the first female Doctor!
Deborah spoke about her Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and said thank you to all the fans of Doctor Who who help keep his memory alive.
It was really interesting to listen to other people’s questions and hear all about filming classic Doctor Who.
I had a really exciting weekend at Film & Comic Con Bournemouth. Thank you to Showmasters for bringing these conventions to Bournemouth and giving us all a chance to meet our heroes! Thank you to everyone who took the time to talk to me.
Thank you for reading and I hope you stay tuned for my next post which will be coming up soon. This week I started secondary school so I will be having lots of homework. I will post as often as I can but will have to do my homework first!
Hello and welcome to Kent – The Garden of England! It is August 2016 and the hottest day of the year so let’s cool down and take a little dip in the sea. Let’s go to Botany Bay in Broadstairs, filming location for Classic Doctor Who episode Fury from the Deep (1968).
Fury from the Deep is a lost story from the Fifth Season of Doctor Who so I’m afraid I haven’t seen it but from what I have heard it is the first episode that features the Sonic Screwdriver. I still want to follow in the Doctor’s footsteps even if I haven’t seen the episode! This time I am following the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and his companions Jamie and Victoria who are at the beach to investigate a mysterious sea foam. Botany Bay was also a filming location for a BBC series called True Love which featured many Doctor Who stars including Tenth Doctor David Tennant, Billie Piper, David Morrisey and Ashley Walters.
Botany Bay is the northernmost of seven bays in the Broadstairs area of Kent and is a popular tourist attraction. People come to swim, play on the sand and sunbathe and look at the unusual white cliffs. The cliffs are paper white because they are made of chalk. There’s a lot more to chalk than you may think. It was formed during the Cretaceous period, where the cretaceous period gets its name – the Latin word for chalk – Creta. Chalk is made of calcium carbonate which is why it is white. Calcium carbonate is formed by lots of coccoliths which are plant skeletons that have been compacted over millions of years!
The cliffs are so white they dazzle me
I’m looking for a big chalk stack, can you see it?
Botany Bay has a history of being a popular smuggling location. In the 1700s a man called Joss Snelling led a group called the Callis Court Gang and they would bring contraband ashore at Botany Bay. One night in 1769 they were ambushed by a Revenue Patrol and there was a gunfight and many people were killed in the Battle of Botany Bay.
No mysterious sea foam today!
To think these cliffs are made of plant skeletons!
Nice and shady in this spot
I wonder if the smugglers hid here?
Luckily when I went it was more peaceful. I couldn’t see any mysterious seafoam or smugglers. I parked my TARDIS on a nearby road and everyone was like ‘Wow! A TARDIS!’ (not really) then I walked along the cliff top and the hedges were full of little birdies. Although it was early evening the beach was very busy with everyone enjoying the sun during the heatwave. I went on to the sand, which was very warm under my feet, and walked along near the cliff face.
I hope that rock doesn’t fall over!
It’s much cooler down here
A nice way to cool down
I wanted to dip my feet in so I went for a walk in the sea. The sea was a bit stony but not too bad, it was soft enough to walk on and there was not too much seaweed which is good as it feels weird around my feet. Sometimes there are rock pools to go crabbing in but not while I was there as the tide was in. It was a great way to cool down.
In the distance I could see the Thanet Offshore Windfarm aka the TOW. This windfarm is the third largest offshore windfarm in the world and is located 12km off Foreness Point in Margate. These wind turbines produce electricity – enough clean energy to power over 200,000 UK households! I like looking at wind turbines as they have a good effect on our world and help take care of this planet for the future.
I had a really fun time at Botany Bay, it was my favourite beach in Kent. Thank you to Doctor Who – The Locations Guide once more for helping to find this location. I really hope that I get to watch Fury from the Deep one day when it is found and get to see what the Doctor got up to at Botany Bay!
The next Film & Comic Con Bournemouth is coming up in just a few days – I will be there to meet more Doctor Who stars so I hope you will come back and see me again to read about it.
Thank you for reading. Bye!
PS – I also went to Whitstable whilst I was in Kent and discovered it was the home of Peter Cushing who played the Doctor in the Doctor Who movies of the 1960s!
Hello and welcome back to Project Indigo! Today we are travelling back in time to New Year’s Eve 2015 – not to Wales this time but Cambridgeshire. We are vising Classic Doctor Who filming location Grantchester where The Fourth Doctor and Romana 2 materialised the TARDIS in the episode Shada (1979, released 1992). You may have noticed that there is quite a few years between the filming and the release. That is because there was a big BBC Union strike when Shada was being filmed which left many scenes of the episode unfinished. It was eventually released on video in 1994 with Tom Baker narrating what was going on in the gaps!
Grantchester is a village just outside Cambridge and is said to have one of the highest concentration per person of Nobel Prize Winners! This is due to the number of residents who went to or worked at Cambridge University. In Shada, the Doctor and Romana were at Cambridge University to visit Professor Chronotis, a retired Time Lord. Whilst they were there Skagra called upon Professor Chronotis to interrogate him and find the whereabouts of the lost planet of Shada. It was in Grantchester Meadows that Skagra concealed his 100m long invisible spaceship and captured Romana, K9 and a student, Chris Parsons.
No sign of anyone dressed for a disco!
I can’t see the red carpet. How will I find the spaceship?
What if the TARDIS is lost in time?
It may not have been sunny when the Doctor and Romana were there, but it was surprisingly sunny when I visited, however it was quite cold. It was the middle of winter and very early in the morning. The village was like a ghost town, I expect everyone was still in bed saving their energy to make it to midnight and see in 2016. Sadly I didn’t see anyone dressed like Skagra – in a white and silver whatever that is! He was definitely dressed for a disco. On the High Street I saw The Green Man pub and its neighbour The Red Lion which Skagra drove past. I explored the village and the meadows which are just behind the village on the banks of the River Cam. This area was the inspiration for the Pink Floyd song Grantchester Meadows on the album Ummagumma. I have just had a listen and it is very calm and soothing, and can double up as a lullaby.
Did you see a man drive past in a silver costume?
I’m sure Skagra passed here!
Skagra must be here somewhere. Where did he go?
Grantchester is also the filming location for the ITV Series Grantchester. This is based on the books The Grantchester Mysteries by James Runcie featuring Sidney Chambers, a vicar who is also a detective. James Norton plays Sidney, Robson Green plays Geordie and Morven Christie plays Amanda. Two of the main stars have also been in Doctor Who – both in underwater episodes. Isn’t that a coincidence? James Norton played Onegin a Russian Soldier on the submarine The Firebird in the episode Cold War (2013) and Morvern Christie played O’Donnell in Under the Lake (2015) set on The Drum, an underwater mining base.
Thank you very much to Doctor Who The Locations Guide for helping me to find this filming location. I hope you have enjoyed reading about Grantchester. This summer I will be taking my TARDIS to Kent and seeing what the Doctor has got up to there. If there are any places you would like me to visit please leave a comment and let me know.
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 :
Hello William Russell aka Ian Chesterton
Hello Bonnie Langford aka Mel!
Hello Lalla Ward aka Romana II!
Hello Sarah Sutton aka Nyssa!
Meeting Anneke Wills aka Polly!
Hello Louise Jameson aka Leela!
With Ross Mullan aka The Teller
Hello Samuel Anderson aka Danny Pink!
Hello Nicola Bryant aka Peri!
Hello Matthew Waterhouse aka Adric!
Hello Terry Molloy aka Davros!
The Fifth Doctor Peter Davison
Guess who this is? That’s right, Mini Matt Smith!
Meeting Jemma Redgrave aka Kate Lethbridge Stewart!
Meeting a Dalek, Barnaby Edwards!
Hello Katy Manning aka Jo Grant!
Hello Dan Starkey – aka Strax!
Hello John Leeson – the voice of K-9!
Hello Rusty Goffe aka Little John!
Meeting Noel Clarke aka Mickey Smith!
Hello Sophie Aldred aka Ace!
Hello Doctor Squee!
Hello Camille Coduri aka Jackie
Hello Sylvester McCoy aka MY Doctor, the Seventh Doctor!
Hello Matthew Dale from Robot of Sherwood
With Spencer Wilding aka The Minotaur
With creature performer Paul Casey
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.