Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Quest for Signatures

Saturday in Seaton Burn dawned bright and early, with only a slight hangover on the Prof's part. We almost had a plan of action (regarding talks and signatures), although we were still in shock at having won the pub quiz the night before. We'd been told to collect our certificates (no, really) from the front desk after breakfast...

We saw Paul McGann coming in for his brekkie just as we were finishing ours, so we thought we'd best go and get in the queue for his autograph. Having promised Lightfoot that we'd donate one of our freebs for her, we figured we'd better get on with it or risk righteous hippy wrath. We even managed to have a nice chat with him about San Francisco & Vancouver. He was thoroughly charming, thought it was lovely we were getting Teedles a piccie and said hello to us every time we passed him for the rest of the day. (Are you jealous yet, T?)

After we spoke to Mr McGann, we gathered the signatures of the other actors and writers (Daphne Ashbrook, Yee Jee Tso, Matthew Waterhouse, Andrew Smith, Beth Chalmers & Keith Temple) on the rather natty contact sheet provided by 10th Planet. The Prof thought it a terrible shame to get people to scrawl all over it, but it was specifically created for that purpose so I didn't mind too much. It was also entertaining to watch the celebs trying to fit dedications in to the teeny tiny spaces available (I'll let you have a look at that in the final installment). Mind you, I think it was a bit unsporting to have Keith represented by an Ood; he's a smashing bloke and much better looking than old squid-face Sigma. To add to the haul, we also grabbed Charlie Ross' book, even though he made us take a piccie as well (he's a hard man).

The Prof wanted to pop in to see the Big Finish crew and pick out his Crimble pressies (see the stash above) and we had a very pleasant chat with Lisa Bowerman about which CDs we should get (she even signed a fair few for us as well). The Prof bought me Nev Fountain's Mervyn Stone novels for my birthday, so I didn't do too badly either. Oh yes, and we picked up Rob Shearman's books as well, including his book of plays "Caustic Comedies" (the only other plays I own are some of Shakespeare's; I'm trying to be cultured here). Fortunately our room was only a few doors down from Big Finish, which was just as well considering the size of the haul we'd acquired by that time.

We continued in the same vein by going to the Big Finish talk, which was highly entertaining, although slightly worrying in some respects. Reading between the lines of this and other talks we saw (and this may well be my own misinterpretation here), there seems to be quite a degree of tension building in the BBC and television in general regarding intellectual properties and allowing writers to do their jobs free from management interference. It certainly left me concerned for the future of shows like Dr Who, which more and more seem to be under the control of bean counters rather than creative types.

After another voyage across the Muto wasteland to the Little Chef for lunch, we were back and raring to go. We began the afternoon in business mode by interviewing an old friend of ours, Dalek Bruce. He's not exactly friends with Oolon at the moment though, after comments made in a certain podcast, but you can hear that for yourselves when the Prof's finished editing the Dimensions Crimble Specials.

Flushed with success, we borrowed Nick Briggs from the Big Finish room and had a very lovely chat with him about his life, work and future ventures. He's an interesting and erudite man and I hadn't realised how long we'd talked for (he also complimented me on my interview technique, which made me squee ever so slightly). He then let us borrow Jake McGann (Paul's son) to find out all about possibly the world's greatest bit of work experience and playing the Doctor's great-grandson. He was slightly bemused that we didn't want to talk to him about his Dad, so we forced ourselves. Just for Terry, you understand.

Sadly we missed Nev and Nicola Bryant reading from Nev's novels, and the writers' workshop with Andrew and Keith, but we did blag an interview with Mr Shearman (if you can't hear the Prof guffawing his head off in that one, it'll be a miracle). Lets just say that we now have a South Bank Show Memorial Question and a terrible reputation forming amongst our interviewees (don't, whatever you do, look under the bed).

Finally, it was time for the drinking to begin again with the Tachyon TV crew and all their amazingly entertaining friends, including PJ, who does the most frighteningly accurate Tom Baker impersonation I've ever seen, and Bob Fischer from Radio Tees, who has a rather nice Tom Baker scarf. I was designated Pixie, I will admit, but I spent most of the evening crying with laughter without the need for any booze whatsoever. We learnt all about the Mayor of Scotland (don't ask), Kenneth Branagh & Brian Blessed's football watching antics (really, don't ask) and even came up with a plan of attack for the rapidly approaching afternoon tea with the stars (I'll never be able to hear the word kipper again; but seriously, don't ask). We wimped out before midnight, tired, happy and sore with laughing so much. My last memory of the evening was John William's disembodied voice crying "Why? WHY?" as we wandered off to the Land of Nod.

But however good the day had been, there was still the looming spectre of that tea...


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