Monday, 5 August 2013

Doctor Who Live: in we go!

Up til this point I had queued for almost eight hours to ensure I was first-in-the-queue for Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor.
It’s a momentous day for the series, and with the proceedings happening in my own backyard, there was no way I was gonna miss out on this.

The show goes out live to the nation at 7pm. We are due to be let into the studio for seating at 6pm, so as we approached 5pm when the gates were due to open, the mood of the crowd behind us started to change.

Eventually the security guys come forward and things were looking promising.

We had all printed out our e-tickets which were barcode scanned as we went through the gates and a red numbered sticker slapped on them. This sticker was now our guarantee to get into the studio.

Since I was first in the queue I had the 001 sticker!

We were directed towards a holding area where we all had to go through a full blown airport-style security check. Mobile phones, iPad and any form of camera were confiscated and the metal detectors were used to pick up anything else that had been undeclared.

Watching the rest of the audience coming in behind me, I saw a lot of forlorn faces. Im sure people were hoping to tweet their success of getting in, now found themselves unceremoniously cut off from the outside world. It was quite funny to watch. You could understand why it had been done, so if you wanted to get in you had to accept it.

It took quite a while to get everyone through, so the hour before being seated was definitely needed. I chatted to some friends while we waited, which passed the time.

As 6pm approached we became aware a lot of people were congregating at the far corner of the room, where a corridor leads to the studios.
A member of staff called for our attention and said we were to be taken through to the studio in batches of 50, in order of our sticker numbers. I moved forward as they called 1 to 50.
I piped up that I had ticket number 001, and found myself ushered to the front by several fans! It wasn’t my intention to jump this queue, but as we found out later it wasn’t really first-come-first-seated as you may think.

Our walk to the studios took us past a view back to the gates, where I could see a large number of people still waiting to get in. I never did know if they did in the end.

In the studio block we walked down a long central corridor, adorned with old black and white photos from films made at Elstree. Some of these were not made at the studios we were in - in fact I soon realised a lot weren’t even made in Borehamwood itself.

In the studio we saw the set, which was quite impressive. There were two distinct seating areas: chairs had been laid out in half a dozen rows close to the set, with a gap behind them allowing the cameras to move freely to get their shots; behind this was a fixed audience seating for several hundred.

I was initially directed to go to the end of a row in the chair seating, but was soon pulled back by a guy in charge of the audience. He wanted the costumed audience in the seating behind where they could be caught on camera. I was redirected to the front row of the fixed seating, surrounded on both sides by guys in fezzes and t-shirts, which frankly were not really the costume type that should have been there.
Above the audience was a model of the TARDIS, which on the finished programme looked a lot larger than it was in reality.

Photo by James Amey
As usual there was a warm-up comic to get the audience in the mood (not that we needed much encouragement) and to outline some points for the recording.
We were told to cheer loudly when mention was made of the flying TARDIS.

Photo by James Amey
As 7pm approached you could feel the anticipation mounting in the audience. We were all here for ONE reason and after waiting ten hours, I just wanted them to get on with it!

Photo by James Amey
There’s not much to report once the red light was on - everything was live and no chances for retakes, something I’m sure Rufus Hound would have quite liked.

Personally I found the show that packaged the news to be lightweight and vacuous. Aside from Peter Davison the studio guests were of very little interest and their contributions near pointless.

Photo by James Amey
The filmed inserts were only a little more engaging. I felt that if the BBC had given the programme the attention it deserved, maybe the roll call of past companions and Doctors could have been in the studio and surrounded Peter Capoldi at the end, warmly welcoming him to the Who family.

Sadly this was not to be and we had him shaking the hand of one of the child stars of Outnumbered, a couple of celebrity-fan comedians and Peter Davison with Bernard Cribbins bringing up the rear.

To me it felt hurried and thrown together, which given its global audience, was a crying shame.

4 comments:

  1. Watching on tv produced much the same feeling.... Worldwide audience and you get... Zoe Ball?? Really?

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  2. I was hyped up during the whole thing...

    I agree, we should have had all the surviving Doctors onstage (minimally)...

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  3. Or someone with some class presenting it.... Stephen Fry would have been good

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  4. Steve, you have been caught on camera quite a few times, if I remember correctly. Would have expected a different costume though. You were wearing a Colin Baker costume, weren't you? :)

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