Doctor Who usually appears in people’s lives by chance, and so it was with me as on Thursday 18th March 2010, I met the 11th Doctor and his assistant.
I had gone to the cinema on a Thursday instead of a Friday as originally planned. I had just seen Alice in Wonderland in 3D (review to come). As I was leaving the cinema, I chanced to notice people putting up posters with the BBC logo, Doctor Who logo, Doctor and Assistant. Why would a cinema be screening the new Doctor Who?
My interest was piqued. When I got home, I was increasingly convinced that something was going to happen so I Googled, checking through BBC press-releases then through Doctor Who fansites… Then I found this report of a Tweet… http://news.whoviannet.co.uk/2010/03/its-the-series-5-press-launch-today/
A coincidence you might say (one too strong to miss out on, I might reply). Within the hour I was back in Cardiff.
A mad dash ensued to the cinema in the rain and as approached the main entrance, what do I see but the Tardis, crashed and billowing smoke.
To top it all, a blue carpet was still being laid outside the cinema in front of banners with the new Doctor Who logo. I became excited at the sights but what struck me as the most surprising thing was the lack of people. It seemed like few people had known about this event.
I was interested to find out how other people were here and how they found out, which is when I met Marissa from New York, another fan/Whovian. She had also seen a Tweet announcing the premiere and ventured out. As we waited for the Doctor to show up we exchanged tales of fandom.
Whilst we were talking, a coach full of journalists pulled up like the photojournalist vanguard for a president just before a speech. Amongst the group were reviewers for the national newspapers and magazines like SFX. All spilled off like giddy children and walked into the cinema. I was going to take a picture of them but was across the road.
During our talk the two turned up. By two, I mean the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his assistant Amy Pond (Karen Gillan). That was when the fans came out and a crush of people surrounded them. I managed to get a few pictures before they went inside.
Marissa and I then followed them into the cinema before they disappeared into an elevator.
A few minutes later the two returned via the elevator and went outside for an interview with the BBC’s Liso Mzimba which can be found here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8572786.stm
Before the two went back inside to see the premier, they started signing autographs. Matt Smith was wonderful, very friendly and charming. I almost, ALMOST got his autograph but he started handing out cards – I got 10! I can now say that I have Doctor Who’s fingerprints!!!
I almost got Karen’s autograph, Marissa was standing next to me getting her card signed and I should have been next but a press agent ushered her away to talk to Rhodri Morgan (Peter Hain was also hanging about), who is the first minister of Wales (where Doctor Who is made). Thwarted again! What can I say about Karen? Tall, beautiful, Scottish. Fantastic.
A small group of us hung around a little while longer before going outside to a new Tardis (the actual new look one) that had materialised while we were inside. This one was standing upright.
After some waiting I decided to call it a night and go home with over 3o pictures – a few are blurry but the best ones aren’t even in this post and have clear shots of both Matt and Karen.
I got a lot of pictures – some of Karen’s make her out to be the red-headed Sadako – all of which I’m proud to have collected. Just to wrap up, everybody there was so friendly and the atmosphere was cool – definitely a once in a life-time opportunity and a reason to stop and look around once in a while.
Initial reviews seem good. The episode appears to have a Time Traveller’s Wife vibe as the Doctor seems to meet with Amy Pond whilst she’s a child.
The strangest thing about the event was seeing the report on BBC news later that night. As Matt Smith was being interviewed I recognised the very moment and knew I was just standing to the side and at any moment… Anyway, enjoyable night.