The Doctor Who Festival, took place at the London ExCel Centre last weekend from the 13th – 15th November. Fans of the show gathered from across the UK to share their passion for the timeless Doctor Who series, and take part in some exciting events surrounding their favourite programme. We were lucky enough to attend the sold out event on the final day of the festival and our eyes were opened to a world full of exciting ‘timey-wimey’ things. Below, we share some of our Festival highlights with you, as we get excited for the release of our Doctor Who TARDIS Collector’s Box.
Meet the cast
It wouldn’t have been a Doctor Who Festival without the Doctor himself, and fans were treated to an appearance by not only Peter Capaldi but other main cast members; Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver for a ‘Meet the Cast’ question time. The cast gave their audience a fantastic insight into filming the latest series of Doctor Who, including (many times over) what their favourite episodes were. It was refreshing to see all the actors being so passionate towards the project, but with a legacy like Doctor Who it must be difficult not to!
Amongst the amusingly brutal questions from the crowd to the cast, (‘Is it true you were rejected from drama school because of your eyebrows?’) the dry humour of Peter Capaldi and Michelle Gomez also shone through, with Capaldi telling the audience that he’d like to see ‘a sonic vacuum cleaner on the show’ and Gomez responding that her proudest moment as a 48 year old female actress was seeing herself in action figure form.
With Season 9 confirmed as her last appearance as the Doctor’s Assistant, understandably many questions were geared towards Jenna Coleman leaving the show. Capaldi hailed Coleman for her kindness, “She is someone who looked after me from the day I arrived”, but also for helping to challenge him on set, “Jenna will deliver a dazzling performance and I have to think: ‘I have to try harder and do bettter,” and she will clearly be sorely missed by fellow cast members. In the wake of this, we look forward to seeing what from Coleman brings to her future roles.
The Doctor Who Universe is constantly updating its character roster, with new aliens and monsters in most episodes. Though the cosplay efforts were a little more toned down by the final day of the festival, there were still some fantastic gems like these Sisters of Plenitude casually having lunch. (For the full gallery, check out our Facebook photo album from the event here.)
Though the highlights of the festival were no doubt the ‘Meet the Cast’ and ‘Meet the Directors’ talks, there were plenty of other interesting presentations on offer to give fans a more behind the scenes look at Doctor Who. Including…
– Act like a monster: Visitors to the Festival got a lesson in being a monster from experts Nicholas Briggs (the voice of the Daleks) and Barnaby Edwards (chief Dalek operator.) Their hilarious walk-through of how they come together to make the perfect Dalek was not one to be missed, and will surely inspire many young Whovians into the monster world of acting. Plus, we were able to hear first hand what it’s like for Briggs to have a conversation with himself as many Daleks all at once.
– Special Effects: Mark Gatiss joined Kate Walshe from Millennium FX on stage to talk about the prosthetic special effects used in the show and their favourite monsters. Plus, Real FX Company Director, Danny Hargreaves, lead us through the explosive world of practical and elemental effects. It’s not every day that you get to see how a sonic screwdriver blows up a Cyberman!
– The Doctor Who Fan Show: It’s one thing to hear about the show from the stars, but another great experience entirely to pick apart the latest episode of the show with fellow fans. The guys from the Doctor Who Fan Show really got the audience involved in discussions with their guests, YouTuber Ashens and actor Carrie Hope Fletcher and you can even watch back some of their footage of the event on their YouTube channel.
In between talks and workshops, there were plenty of attractions to keep Whovians occupied…
– The ‘Fan Challenge‘ stand let Whovians test their extensive knowledge to win prizes. (The opposition was made up almost entirely of cosplaying Doctors, so of course we didn’t stand a chance.)
– A life-sized LEGO TARDIS. Need we say more?
– Daleks Daleks everywhere! Prop Daleks, remote control Daleks, human-operated Daleks and Dalek cosplayers – the villainous race from Skaro was out in full force, but thankfully people didn’t seem too concerned.
– Festival attendees also had the opportunity to snap a selfie with an inanimate Davros in the series 9 set of Skaro.
– It’s rude to enter a lady’s living room without asking but Clara gave everyone permission just for the festival, as the set of her front room from the show made an appearance.
– Ever wanted to get your hands on with the Props and Costumes from the show? There was quite a queue for this attraction, and for obvious reasons! Seeing the props and costumes from Doctor Who up close really brings the show to life!
– Photo opportunities: this was your chance to pose as the Doctor’s Assistant with Peter Capaldi himself, or even outdoing him as The Doctor by teaming up with Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez or Ingrid Oliver.
– And finally, there were rows upon rows of awesome Doctor Who themed shops – from a paint your own TARDIS stall to the Titan Comics stand; we have to confess that our wallets were pretty empty after a day wandering amongst them all!
So, a fantastic day overall. Be sure to keep an eye out for tickets to next year’s festival if you’re a dedicated Whovian! If you attended the festival this year, let us know what you thought in the comments!
Keep the excitement from the Doctor Who Festival going and pre-order our limited edition Doctor Who TARDIS Collector’s Box today! The perfect Christmas gift for any Whovian or Time Lord in waiting. To see all the photos from the event, check out our Facebook page.