Tag Archives: Hampshire

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.)

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Hampshire-Con, Eastleigh – July 2015

Peter Davison - the Fifth Doctor

Hello and welcome to H- Con – Hampshire TV, Film and Comic-Con which was held at Fleming Park Leisure Centre in Eastleigh on the 25th and  26th  July 2015.

Sorry about the delay in reporting but I have been on holiday in Wales and have only just come back! When I heard about H-Con I was very excited as this was my chance to meet the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison- I delayed my holiday and made a slight detour to Eastleigh to take my chance!H-Con is presented by Sci-Fi South Collectors, working in Partnership with Timeless Collectors and supporting Starlight Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I turned up in my Fifth Doctor Cosplay because I hoped the Fifth Doctor would be happy to see me in his costume – I customised my Third Doctor Sonic Screwdriver with some tinfoil and it looked just like the Fifth Doctor’s which he only used for four episodes before it was destroyed by a Terileptil!

As soon as I arrived I joined the queue to meet Peter Davison – I didn’t have much time so I didn’t want to lose out. When I met Peter Davison we shook hands and he said I looked good which made me feel chuffed. I was a bit nervous about meeting him but he was very friendly and made me feel more confident.

I asked him my golden questions – first, what is his favourite Doctor Who filming location? He thought that was a good question and told me it was Black Park outside London where he filmed The Visitation  (1982). The filming was in a flight path so the crew only had 8 minute windows to work and it was a nice relaxing time! He also enjoyed filming The Caves of Androzani (1984) in a Dorset quarry – there were two other film crews there at same time, one filming Beau Geste, and it was lots of fun. I have been to the quarry and I will definitely add Black Park to my list of locations to visit!

I asked Peter which is his favourite ever Doctor Who episode and he said he had to pick one of his own – The Caves of Androzani. That is one of my favourites too but if I had to choose my favourite Fifth Doctor episode it would be The Awakening (1984).

Finally I asked him where he would go in time and space if he could – he told me he would definitely choose to go back in history and he would like to witness the American Revolution.

I chose a photograph from  The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot for Peter to sign. I loved watching The Five (ish) Doctors and the Doctors all look so grumpy in the picture that it made me laugh. It was brilliant meeting Peter – he is the Third Doctor I have met after Peter Capaldi and Colin Baker!

The Five-ish Doctors Reboot

After I met Peter I explored the stalls in Hall One- there were lots of other Sci Fi stars including Sarah Sutton who played the Fourth and Fifth Doctor’s companion Nyssa. I have already met Sarah before at the Timeless Collectors Fair and she was very kind.

Next I went into Hall 2 and the first thing I saw was lizards, snakes and other reptiles – people had brought their pets along to amaze people and raise money for charity.There was lots to look at in Hall 2 including Daleks, TARDISes and the Master’s collection of Doctor Who monsters.

I had a go at the Tin Can Alley for the first time and I won a Doctor Who stationery set. This stall was raising money for Starlight. I also got to meet ET and phone home- he is sooo cute.

After I left ET I went to the Nerd Herd area and played some vintage video games – SuperMario World on a SNES and MarioKart 64 on an N64. I liked the retro games – they may not look like modern games but they entertain in the same way!

There were also cars from the movies including Transformers and Back to the Future. I had fun browsing and meeting my fellow Doctors – some for the first time and some I have met before. I had hoped to meet Doctor Squee from the Gallifrey Stands Podcast but I had to leave before he arrived. You can listen to what he got up to here. There are lots of features including an interview with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton.

I wish I had more time to spend at H-Con but my holiday had to kick off and I needed to get back to my TARDIS! I will remember the day I met the Fifth Doctor forever.

In other news one of my companions recently met David Morrissey aka The Next Doctor Jackson Lake! I wish I had been there but it was an unexpected surprise. She asked David my golden question – if he could go anywhere in time and space where would he like to go? David said Victorian London just like in his Doctor Who story, but only if they had modern day dentistry! Thank you to David for answering my question and posing for a photo for me! I hope I get to meet him one day.

David Morrisey

Thank you for reading and I hope you will join me soon and read about the amazing locations I have just visited in Wales – New and Classic!

Goodbye!

DEF Con 3, Totton, Hampshire – October 2014

Welcome to DEF Con 3Greetings and welcome to DEF Con 3!

DEF Con 3 was held this weekend in the Empire Hall in Totton near Southampton and spilled out across the town. It is a Sci-Fi Fan convention run by Nerdageddon and raised money for the Piam Brown Ward at Southampton General Hospital.

I knew there would be Cosplayers but this time I didn’t want to dress as the Doctor as I have on other occasions. I dressed as another character. Can you tell from the photo? Leave a comment if you want to take a guess.Can you guess who I am?

The first thing I did when I got there was go to meet Colin Baker – The Sixth Doctor! When I arrived he was free and I thought I would take my chance. He is the Second Doctor I have met, after Peter Capaldi. The Sixth Doctor was very stroppy, a bit like the Twelfth!

Colin Baker - No 6! The second Doctor I have met.

I was extremely shy meeting Colin, although he was very friendly.I couldn’t believe I was talking to the Doctor! I asked Colin where his favourite location was where he filmed Doctor Who and he told me it was Seville in Spain where he filmed The Two Doctors (1985). I fancy going to Seville for my blog!

Then I asked Old Sixey if there would be a second Five-ish Doctors Reboot (2013) but he said he doesn’t know. He said they needed a good idea for a story first, to top the last one! I hope there will be a sequel because I really lol-ed and rofl-ed at the first one –  it was something that could always tickle your funnybone!

I chose a picture for Colin to sign and he posed for some great photos with me.

Later I went back to Colin to ask if he could travel anywhere in time and space, where would he like to go? He had a quick think then told me he would like to ‘travel to London, 1000 years in the future, just to see’.

It was really good to meet Colin because he was a very nice man. He didn’t have the yellow curls anymore – or the bright trousers!

Then I went on to meet Simon Fisher-Becker who played the Eleventh Doctor’s friend Dorium Maldovar , who owned a black market bar in the 52nd Century known as The Maldovarium. On his website Simon is described by Tom Macrae as ‘ The best blue actor in the business!’.  Simon was also in Harry Potter as the Fat Friar.

Simon Fisher-Becker - not as blue as I expected.

Simon is a great chap, like Colin, and was very chatty. I asked about filming locations and he said that when he filmed as Dorium he spent most of his time in the studio but he does remember filming in an aircraft hangar at three in the morning and being very cold!

He was wearing a medal from the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Fun Run which was given to him in New Zealand. This virtual fun-run was to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor in November 2013.

Simon told me about his one-man show ‘My Dalek Has a Puncture’, all about being an actor. He has been on a tour with his show and new dates are being added so I will go and see his show when he comes locally to me next year. It sounds like it is going to be really funny!

Next I asked Simon where he would go if he had a TARDIS and could travel through time and space. He said that he would want to be there for First Contact – even it was just to make the tea! He also said that he would like to witness his own family history and see if his family’s stories were true.

It was really nice to meet Simon and I hope I meet him again in February when I see his show.Hello Empire Hall

After I met the actors from Doctor Who I trotted around to see what merchandise there was and saw the stars from other Sc-Fi. There were even stars from Red Dwarf and Star Wars  including Daft Vader – David Prowse! Ooops, I mean Darth Vader.

There was a Lightning McQueen outside one of the halls and when I went out to take a look, a man honked his horn really really really loud. There was also a huge 35ft Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

I enjoyed looking at all the Cosplayers and saw a Brigadier Lethbridge – Stewart, a Fourth Doctor and a Tenth Doctor. Someone had brought along a K9 and I thought someone had dressed their dog up so they could get in for free.

Oh, and I bought my first FEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fezzes are cool.Cool as a Fez.

DEF Con 3 was really good fun and I had a great day – I hope they do it again next year.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll come back soon.

May the force be with you!