Day 1, Film & Comic Con Bournemouth, Dorset – March 2016

Noel Clarke at Film & Comic Com Bournemouth
Meeting Noel Clarke aka Mickey Smith!

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 Clarke giving a talk at Film & Comic Con Bournemouth
Noel Clarke giving a talk

First I went to see a talk by Noel Clarke aka Mickey Smith, companion of the Ninth and Tenth Doctor. Noel was asked what his favourite episodes are and he said Dalek (2005) as it is the first time we see a vulnerable Dalek. From his episodes it is the ones that show the journey of Mickey’s character – Rose (2005), Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel (2006) and The End of Time (2009-10).

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.

Anneke Wills at Film & Comic Con Bournemouth
Meeting Anneke Wills aka Polly!

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.

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!

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).

Jemma Redgrave at Film & Comic Con Bournemouth
Meeting Jemma Redgrave aka Kate Lethbridge Stewart!

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!

A pencil drawing of Matt Smith by artist Chris Baker
Photo or drawing? A pencil drawing of Matt Smith by Chris Baker

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 …..

Good bye!

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Portmeirion, Gwynedd – July 2015

Tom Project Indigo at Doctor Who filming location Portmeirion
Welcome to Portmeirion!

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.

The Gate House at the entrance to Portmeirion
The Gate House at the entrance to Portmeirion

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.

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 .

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.

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!

The Central Piazza at Portmeirion
The Central Piazza. What a view!

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.

Set design at Portmeirion
These were covered up during the episode.

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 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.

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.

The Doctor passes The Loggia which houses a big Golden Buddha.

The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Giuliano scurry along the Bristol Colonnade on their way to the Temple Ruins.

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 rode a horse past the Hercules Hall and jumps the balustrade and steps on his way to the woodlands.

The beach at Portmeirion is the estuary of the River Dwyryd.
The beach is the estuary of the River Dwyryd

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!

Jim Sangster, a TV Historian said

‘…..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 Bellissimo
Bellissimo!

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.

Paddling at Portmeirion
Getting soaked!

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.

Arrivederci!

Puzzlewood, Gloucestershire – August 2015

Tom at the entrance to Puzzlewood
Welcome to Puzzlewood!

Hello!

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 😉

SPOILER ALERT – if you haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII look away NOW!!! Kathleen Kennedy from Lucasfilm says that Puzzlewood is

“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 - Doctor Who filming location Puzzlewood
No sign of any Weeping Angels, phew!

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!

The Puzzlewood Wall of Fame! Photos of the programmes and films that have been filmed at Puzzlewood
The Puzzlewood Wall of Fame!

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.

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!

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 :).

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!

Winner announced -Doctor Who: The 10 Christmas Specials Ltd Ed Boxset Competition!

Hello everyone – now I shall tell you who the lucky winner is of a Doctor Who : The 10 Christmas Specials– Limited Edition Box Set!

I asked the question:

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!

I picked the winner at random by numbering the entries and using a Random Number Generator.

Congratulations to the winner, Neil Firth!

Neil said ‘Wow, that’s absolutely brilliant news. I’m over the Moon – I absolutely love Dr Who.’

He voted for

Leonardo Da Vinci.

I think that is a great answer, imagine what they could invent together! He could also do a fantastic portrait of the Doctor. 🙂

Thank you to all 289 people who entered and told me who they would like to see in the TARDIS. I loved reading all the answers – some were a little crazy and some were just perfect!

Project Indigo readers Doctor Who companion suggestions - Stephen Fry, Kylie Minogue, Albert Einstein, Karl Pilkington, Lady C
The Top 5 suggestions!

 

The Top 5 suggestions were as follows:

  1. Stephen Fry
  2. Kylie Minogue
  3. Albert Einstein
  4. Karl Pilkington
  5. Lady C

Please see here for the results of all the votes:

Project Indigo readers would like the Doctor to have an adventure with these people!
Project Indigo readers would like the Doctor to have an adventure with these people! Cloud created at worditout.com

A little surprise was that 31% of the suggestions were female and 69% were male. I think people would really like to see the Doctor have a male companion.

What do you think? Do you agree with the results? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Thank you again to everyone who entered.

I hope you enjoy your prize Neil!

Goodbye!

Tom presents Doctor Who: The 10 Christmas Specials!
Tom presents Doctor Who: The 10 Christmas Specials!

The Doctor Who Festival, London Excel – November 2015

Tom Project Indigo at The Doctor Who Festival
Beware the flying TARDIS

‘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.

Tom's Press Pass for the Doctor Who Festival
Look at this!

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.

Entrance to the Doctor Who Festival, London Excel
Welcome to the Doctor Who Festival

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.

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.

Tom Project Indigo meets Barnaby Edwards at The Doctor Who Festival
Meeting a Dalek, Barnaby Edwards!

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).

Meet the Writers at The Doctor Who Festival. Steven Moffat, Sarah Dollard and Peter Harness
The Writers catch up on the Doctor Who banter

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!

Peter wrote The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion (2015). I really enjoyed those stories and would be really happy if he writes more about the Zygon stories in the future.

Peter Capaldi at The Doctor Who Festival
The Doctor will see you now!

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!

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.

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.

Tom Project Indigo meets Mini Matt Smith
Guess who this is? That’s right, Mini Matt Smith!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Playing the Doctor and the Dalek at the Doctor Who Festival
Playing the Doctor and the Dalek

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!

See you again for my next adventure – a Classic Doctor Who location next time. Rattle n hum back soon! Laters!

Competition – Win Doctor Who: The 10 Christmas Specials LIMITED EDITION BOX SET! Now closed.

Tom presents Doctor Who: The 10 Christmas Specials!
Tom presents Doctor Who: The 10 Christmas Specials!

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.

Good luck!

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
LAST CHRISTMAS

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 .

West Wales Museum of Childhood, Carmarthenshire – August 2015

The entrance to the West Wales Museum of Childhood
Welcome to the West Wales Museum of Childhood

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.

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.

Metal toys at the West Wales Museum of Childhood
Spot the TARDIS!

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.

The school room at West Wales Museum of Childhood
Hope I don’t have to wear the Dunce’s Hat!

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 TV and Film Gallery at West Wales Museum of Childhood
The TV and Film Gallery

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.

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.

Tom playing at the West Wales Museum of Childhood
I’m a little kid again!

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.

Goodbye!

No Man’s Fort, The Solent, Hampshire – October 2015

Tom and No Man's Fort in the background
Tom and No Man’s Fort in the background

Ahoy there and welcome to No Man’s Fort – a fort in the middle of the Solent, filming location for Classic Doctor Who episode The Sea Devils (1972) ! I was very lucky to be a guest of AmaZing Venues and Solent Forts so that I could report on No Man’s Fort for my Project Indigo readers.

In case you haven’t heard of The Solent, it is a strait, or narrow channel of water, that separates the mainland from the Isle of Wight. I left my house early in the morning to travel to Portsmouth and parked my TARDIS at the Historic Dockyard. I checked in at the Solent Forts office at Gunwharf Quays and mooched about the shops until it was time to get the boat.

City Quay at the Spinnaker Tower
Look at The Spinnaker Tower!

We embarked at City Quay and caught the boat called the Ashleigh R. While I was waiting I had a great view of The Spinnaker Tower which was being painted. It was covered in people dangling off the tower that looked like little ants wearing crash helmets! The waves were very bumpy and on the way out to sea we followed a ferry on it’s way to Spain. The sea rippled like snakeskin and on the top deck it was like walking on a moving bus. First we dropped people off at Spitbank Fort then carried on to No Man’s. The poor Doctor had to get a dinghy to the fort as he couldn’t use his TARDIS.

Approaching No Man's Fort by boat
Approaching No Man’s Fort

In The Sea Devils the Third Doctor and Jo Grant visit the sea fort to investigate why ships in the area are mysteriously disappearing. In the episode the sea fort was being converted to a SONAR Testing Station. As we approached the fort it looked smaller from the outside than I expected. Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning had to climb a ladder to get on to the fort which looked very dangerous but I was relieved that I had to walk up a ramp instead! I was expecting the fort to be dark and gloomy – instead it was light and cheerful as it has been converted into a luxury hotel which opened in April 2015.

On arrival at the fort the Doctor and Jo were attacked – but I was very kindly greeted and welcomed onto the fort with a drink and a chance to relax in the Atrium. The adults were given a glass of Champagne. Children are not normally allowed on the fort but they made a special exception for me!

Next all the visitors were given a guided tour of the fort and learnt about it’s history. No Man’s Fort is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is one of 30 forts built to defend the UK from the French under the orders of the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston. Work started in 1865 and continued into the 1880s but it was never used and a shot was never fired in anger. The forts became known as ‘Palmerston’s Follies’ because by the time they were completed the threat had passed and the technology was out of date. The fort is now owned by AmaZing Venues, founded by Mike Clare, along with Spitbank Fort and Horse Sand Fort in the Solent. Spitbank is also a hotel and Horse Sand is currently home to lots of sea birds but will become a museum in the future.

Lunch in the Mess Hall at No Man's Fort
Enjoying my pudding!

After the tour it was time for lunch. We had a buffet lunch in the Mess Hall on the Lower Level, and I filled up on delicious bread and butter and Indian rice as I have a wobbly K-9 tooth. I did manage to eat chocolate and nut brownies and apple for pudding.

Scrabble on the Deck Level at No Man's Fort
Scrabble on the Deck Level

After lunch we were free to explore wherever we wanted. My companion and I took Scrabble up to the top-deck and played a game whilst enjoying views of the Isle of Wight, which I had only just visited on holiday. It was definitely the most picturesque setting for a Scrabble match and I won-thanks to a triple-letter score on the last round! Also on the deck were a boules track, Jacktar’s bar, a Hot House, a Fire Pit, a BBQ area and some Hot Tubs. There was even a Helipad which could be useful for materialising a TARDIS!

There was an even better view from the top of the lighthouse – it was panoramic and I could see the Isle of Wight and the mainland and I used some binoculars to see clearly.

he panoramic view from the lighthouse on No Man's Fort.
Checking out the panoramic view from the lighthouse.

Next I went down to the Upper Level and explored the luxurious hotel rooms. The rooms were named after famous ships. My favourite was HMS Victory. There was a portrait of Horatio Nelson on the wall – in the Sea Devils the Doctor says that he knew Nelson personally.

Nelson at No Man's Fort
Horatio on the wall

The walls in the corridor were decorated with quotes by Winston Churchill – but I didn’t see my favourite ‘K.B.O’! There lots of places to relax including a snooker room, a pool room and a games room. In the episode Clark and Hickman played cards to relax whilst they were staying on the fort, until they were interrupted by a Sea Devil. I bet they would have liked having all these rooms to play games in. There was even a French Bar on the Lower Level.

The bottom level was the Sea Level bunker and the tunnels felt the most likely place on the fort to run into a Sea Devil! I saw a LaZer Battle arena which looked like it would be a lot of fun and a war museum where I bumped into the Doctor’s old pal Churchie aka Winston Churchill! I could hear the sea rippling against the side and I wondered if I was standing right above the Sea Devil’s base which was discovered beneath the foundations of the fort.

In the Sea Level Bunker of No Man's Fort
Is there a Sea Devil round the corner?

Sadly at 4 o’clock it was time to go back to Portsmouth and it was back to the Embarkation Hall to board the Ashleigh R on the bumpy sea. I really enjoyed my special trip to No Man’s Fort and would love to return another day. All the staff and my fellow visitors were so friendly and welcoming and the whole day was a real adventure.

Thank you so much to AmaZing Venues and Solent Forts for making it possible for me and my companion to visit such a special place, we are both very grateful. If you would like to visit No Man’s Fort yourself, for lunch or to stay overnight, please find out more here.

In my last post I said I would be writing about a special museum – that will actually be NEXT time as I was so keen to tell you about my visit to No Man’s Fort straightaway! I hope you will join me for my next adventure through time and space.

Anchors Aweigh!

(Disclosure – my companion and I were invited guests at No Man’s Fort but all words and opinions are my own.)

The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire – July 2015

Welcome to the National Botanic Garden of Wales!
Welcome to the National Botanic Garden of Wales!

Hello and welcome to my post which is coming to you from Mars!

Just kidding – we are actually at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. In the Doctor Who episode The Waters of Mars (2009) the Tenth Doctor visits Bowie Base One on November 21st 2059 and the National Botanic Garden was used as the filming location for Biodome 1. In ‘Doctor Who Confidential’, it said that Russell T Davies (who wrote the script along with Phil Ford) had the Botanic Garden in mind when he wrote the story!

In The Waters of Mars the Doctor encounters The Flood. In real life, just over a week ago, Nasa released satellite pictures of Mars which shows evidence of flowing water! This is big news because, if it is water, it could prove there are such things as Martians! Water is  vital for humans and this discovery might mean we could explore Mars ourselves instead of using robots and maybe even live there in the future! Luckily there was no sign of The Flood when I was there….

I visited the National Botanic Garden of Wales during my summer holiday whilst I was staying in Carmarthenshire. This is the most visited garden in Wales and was opened in May 2000, the first botanic garden of the new millennium and it is built on parkland dating back 400 years. I was very chuffed to be able to use my Blue Peter badge for free entry!

When I arrived I walked through the Broadwalk to The Rock of Ages which tells the story of 300 million years of Welsh geology. I found a rock from Silurian times (Madame Vastra, you should make a visit to see this rock!). In Doctor Who we learnt that the Silurians are lizard like creatures that have lived on earth since pre-historic times -longer than us humans. This rock was 431 million years old!

Inside the Biodome at the National Botanic Garden of Wales
Inside Biodome One on Bowie Base One!

Next I went into The Great Glasshouse aka Bowie Base One’s Biodome 1! This is the world’s largest single span glasshouse and is based on the shape of a raindrop. It has an amazing indoor display of Mediterranean climate plants and protects and conserves many endangered plants. These plants come from six areas of the world – California, Australia, the Canary Islands, Chile, South Africa and the Mediterranean Basin and it feels like you are travelling the world in Wales!

In The Waters of Mars the Tenth Doctor meets the first human colonists of Mars, led by Captain Adelaide Brooke. I found out that the glasshouse has the same climate as Adelaide – the city not the person. Adelaide in Australia is one of two places in Australia that has a Mediterranean climate. I wonder if that is how Russell T Davies came up with her name?

Half way through my exploring I stopped for lunch at the café and I was surrounded by a bunch of hungry birds – I even saw one hop into the kitchen. In the episode Captain Adelaide explained that the crew had taken birds with them to Mars to keep the insect population down in the Biodomes to help the crops grow.

Up high in the Biodome at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
No sign of the Doctor and Adelaide from up here!

It was sweltering inside the dome, a lot warmer than the Welsh climate. I felt as warm as if I was in a hot-air balloon. I explored all around, up high and down low and it was very peaceful. I didn’t see The Waters of Mars but I did find a lovely indoor waterfall, complete with fish.

Tom by the waterfall in the National Botanic Garden of Wales
How many fish can you spot in this pond?

After I left the glasshouse I travelled the rest of the Botanic Garden and enjoyed everything else it had to offer. I really enjoyed my time at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, it was a fantastic way to spend a relaxing day of my holiday. Whilst writing this I realised that I missed out on seeing a Ghost Forest – so if I ever get the chance to go again that is the first thing I will do!

Outside the Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales
Look at the clouds on Mars. Ooops I forgot my spacesuit!

Would you like to visit Mars? Please leave a comment and tell me what you would do.  Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you again next time when I will be telling you all about a very special museum full of surprises…..

Goodbye!

The Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff Bay – July 2015

Tom outside the Doctor Who Experience
Welcome to the Doctor Who Experience!

Welcome! Croeso!

We are travelling back in time to my summer holiday in Wales. Today we are at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, this time in July 2015. I was very excited to go to The Doctor Who Experience again as it was the first time I had been since it was updated with the new Doctor. In August 2014 I was stood outside the closed Experience whilst Peter Capaldi was inside filming the new interactive story so I was looking forward to seeing the new adventure!

When I arrived there was a giant queue as it was the summer holidays and Whovians had come from everywhere to experience the experience! As soon as I arrived I went into the interactive adventure with the other fans. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who is planning to go but I will tell you that I entered the Museum of Gallifrey expecting to learn about Timelords and the history of Gallifrey. Instead I embarked on a journey when the Twelfth Doctor transmitted a message saying he needed our help – and we had to grapple with a threat which could destroy the universe……..

The First Doctor's TARDIS at the Doctor Who Experience
The First Doctor’s TARDIS

It was very exciting helping the Doctor and some of the children were a little scared, but we survived. The Doctor didn’t quite return us to where we started though so I never got to look around the Museum of Gallifrey! Maybe if you visit everything will go a bit smoother for you!

After I made it back to Cardiff 2015 I had my photo taken in a green screen TARDIS. I chose to wear a Fez , which was cool, and I chose to be in the Twelfth Doctor’s TARDIS because that is my favourite TARDIS in the history of Doctor Who! I look quite perplexed in my picture because when I was posing in front of the green screen I didn’t know how the background would look. When Peter Capaldi had his photo taken he couldn’t choose so wore the Eleventh Doctor’s Fez and the Fourth Doctor’s scarf!

After my photo I went upstairs to The Exhibition Hall to revisit ‘the world’s most extensive collection of original Doctor Who props and artefacts’. This is my favourite part of the whole Experience because all the suspense from the interactive part is relieved from you and you can relax and look at all the items from the series! Since my last visit the hall had regenerated and moved around and there were lots of new items from the Series 8 (2014) episodes! Here are some of my favourites:

From my favourite New Who story Deep Breath – the hot air balloon made of skin that Half-Face Man tried to escape in.

Balloon from Deep Breath at the Doctor Who Experience
A balloon made from skin!

From Mummy on the Orient ExpressThe Foretold. If you can see him you only have 66 seconds to live!

From Robot of Sherwood we can see a knight’s armour and the Sheriff of Nottingham costume worn by Ben Miller.

The Sheriff of Nottingham and Robot of Sherwood at the Doctor Who Experience
The Sheriff of Nottingham and Robot of Sherwood!

From In the Forest of the Night – a lion from Trafalgar Square. This giveaway told the Doctor he was in London and not a forest.

A lion from 'In The Forest of the Night' at the Doctor Who Experience
A lion from Trafalgar Square!

From The Caretaker – the Skovox Blitzer which was a danger to Coal Hill School and one of the most dangerous weapons ever created!

The Skovox Blitzer from The Caretaker at the Doctor Who Experience
The Skovox Blitzer from The Caretaker

I didn’t have enough time in the exhibition because I had to leave Cardiff at lunch time to go to another part of Wales and carry on with my holiday. Sadly for me I had hurt my back too so I couldn’t join in with everything, for example, learning how to walk like a Doctor Who monster.

Finally I visited The Official Doctor Who Shop. The shop is giant and full of Doctor Who merchandise – it is the only official Doctor Who shop that you can visit in the whole world! Maybe there is one on another planet though..… Anyone can visit this shop; you don’t need to pay for a ticket. I bought a new Doctor Who T-shirt because my old one is getting smaller and smaller by the minute. I will be wearing my T-shirt in lots of future posts, it is in the style of a comic – I hope you will like it.

The regenerated experience is better than ever, I’m really glad that I got the chance to visit it before I left Cardiff. No-one should leave Cardiff without having a Doctor Who adventure. And I’m glad to report that my back is better too! Have you been to the Doctor Who Experience? Please leave a comment and tell me what you think about this amazing Doctor Who attraction.

See you soon for a new Doctor Who location report – next time I will be reporting from Mars, I hope you will come back and read all about it.  

Disclosure: Thank you very much to the Doctor Who Experience for allowing me free entry to report on my adventure. All opinions are my own!

 

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