Thursday 10 September 2015

Series nine - BAFTA Cardiff preview

Today is the preview of the opening two-parter for series nine. As far as I understand it, only the first part has been previewed to date, so seeing the second half of the adventure is a real bonus.

The event is being organised by Welsh BAFTA and is being held in the Cineworld cinema in central Cardiff. It’s not the biggest of auditoriums, with only around 450 seats available, and from what I later gathered around 100 of these were reserved for BAFTA members.

Being a run of the mill cinema the seats are un-numbered, so I'm seeing it as a potential bun fight to get the best seats.

With my work pattern these days I have the luxury of being my own boss and can choose when I travel, so I booked myself on the earliest train to Cardiff, without getting penalised by high fares. As a result I touched down in the Welsh capital around half-noon. My hotel was a short walk from the station and after I dumped off my bags and got changed, I found it was an even shorter walk to the cinema.

I was prepared for a queue of excited fan outside, but there was no-one.
Inside I knew T was at the right place as there was a TARDIS parked qt the bottom of the escalators.

The staff were only just getting themselves ready for the day and had no information as to where the queue was or would be starting!
A friendly member of BBC staff came to see me and suggested waiting in the bar area on level 2, a level below where the screening will be happening in roughly five hours.
Unintentionally I was first in the queue!

As the afternoon progressed people arrived in dribs and drabs, with one of my recent clients being second in line! Slowly the bar area was filling up and a number of people who tried to assemble a queue upstairs were quickly slapped down and sent back to the bar to wait.

With an hour or so to go, and no planning or direction for the BBC or BAFTA (both said the other was in charge!) we formed our own queue in the bar, with everyone respectfully forming a line in the order they roughly arrived.

Entry was strictly by guest list, so everyone had to be individually ticked off on THE list before they could enter. In charge of the list was a lovely member of BAFTA staff who seemed to be just as excited to be there as us!

The list had the benefit of slowing down the rush, so it was with ease that myself and some friends just walked to the front row and bagged ourselves the best spot.

Now, as you can see we our view of the screen was point-blank, but I was thinking more about the Q&A session after, for which we will be getting the BEST view.

I was one of only about three people who came in costume, and I took advantage of the chance to get a picture with Natalie, who was not only dressed as Clara, but wearing the same costume as in the big promo picture on the cinema screen!

It took a while for everyone to get seated, but there was a great atmosphere so it didn’t seem as long.

Steven Moffat introduced the episodes, appealing for us all to keep the spoilers to ourselves - something which I advocate - so NO SPOILERS HERE!

I will say the opening adventure is very exciting; the opening section will please a lot of fans of the classic series; at times edge of your seat; often jaw dropping. Now that I knew what the BIG-BIG spoiler is, it’s going to be interesting to see if it is kept until broadcast. I genuinely hope it is.

Once the screening was over, it was time to get the cast and producers out for their Q&A session.

Hosting the evening, as they seem to always do when these things are held in Cardiff, was Jason Mohammad. He appeared in a couple of David Tennant adventures playing a newsreader - something he did as his day-job at the time!

He introduced us to Brian Michin, the producer; Steven Moffat, lead writer; plus Jenna Colman and Peter Capaldi.

Peter just made it to the event in time, having been filming all day on the Christmas special. Jenna and co had been in the audience watching with us the whole time. Looking back, that was a clue.

There was some interesting questioning and some equally interesting answers.

The BBC have posted a couple of good clips on their YouTube channel, which you can watch below.

Peter talked about finding the electric guitar for the episode, which was bought on the Denmark Street.

It’s interesting how a slightly flippant remark by Peter about having David Bowie as a guest star in the next series was picked up by the press who ran with it.

Once the Q&A was over, they asked us to stay in our seats while they took a group shot of the panel with us as the background.

I wasn’t expecting that, so as we stood up Peter stepped forward and I instinctively put my hand out which he shook! He was greeted by several other fans around him and we took our places for the photo.

If you look closely, thats me between Peter and Jenna!

Suddenly getting to Cardiff early, queuing for five hours and getting front row was WORTH IT!!!
Peter Capaldi & Jenna Coleman at Cardiff screening - in pictures - Wales Online

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