Dr Who Official 50th Birthday Celebration


Yesterday I was one of the thousands of Whovian’s who made their way to the Excel arena Docklands for the official Dr Who 50th Birthday Celebrations.

Now I am not a hard core Whovian, I stumbled across the Dr by force of my work colleagues at the time, (circa 2009) I would come into work after the weekend and all that was talked about for the remainder of the week was Dr Who; the review of the episode where the story was going etc. After much resistance I gave in and began watching them on BBC Three after work in the evenings, I became hooked. I went and brought the box sets that had been released up to that point and a few months later I found myself on a road trip with 3 of my colleagues to the exhibition in Cardiff. To top this road trip the driver SudoOne had downloaded the theme tune music and played it in the car as we went over the Seven bridge into Wales. Oh yes we were Whovians and I had been transformed into a Geek. The rest they say is history.

So there I was making my way on the tube and the DLR across town to the celebrations, not knowing what to expect. Was it going to be some sort of Sci-fi convention with people who were so entrenched in their interest that there was no other world? I was about to find out.

Fans had travelled from all around the world to this convention and there were some serious hard core Whovian’s; individuals and whole families in character costumes for the occasion. I will admit I did raid my wardrobe before hand to see if I had anything that I could wear that would resemble a companion/ character, unfortunately not! I must do better in future.

Included in our ticket price we had 3 different panel sessions to attend:

  • Regenerations
  • The Eleventh Hour
  • SFX Show

In addition there were smaller panels, costumes/ props and merchandise. You could pay an additional £15 to have a signing with a companion, a previous doctor or a Tardis photo. For those wanting to spend a bit more there was the opportunity to meet Matt Smith for an autograph and photo, needless to say this was sold out way in advanced.

The Regenerations panel featured Colin Baker, Peter Davidson and Sylvester McCoy. Clips were shown and discussions had including an interactive Q&A with us the audience. It was here that I heard about the mini episode that The Resident Weeble blogged about yesterday.  It was great to see 3 of the previous doctors in action and to hear about their stories of went on whilst filming on set, funny moments they had experienced and what they most enjoyed about playing The Doctor.

My personal favourite panel (I’m sure was the same for the majority who attended) was The Eleventh Hour: Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat and director Nick Hurran. It was great to see them all looking so relaxed at how well received Saturday nights broadcast had been. There was a lot of praise from each individual on stage to each other, much talk about Peter Capaldi’s eyebrows, nothing given away on how he will be playing The Doctor ‘Spoilers,’ however jokes were said about the air inside the Tardis being as blue as the paint on the outside. I guess his well known roll as Malcolm ‘The Fucker’ Tucker has some thinking that the Spin Doctor will transfer across to The Doctor. Either way I’m sure he will bring a new dimension to the character which I for one cannot wait to see.

What was mentioned by the panel, was in the Christmas special there will be a good one liner that Clara comes out with that will be legendary, it contains the word ‘bubbles’.

The final panel SFX show was inspiring. We were treated to the head of special effects showing us some of the items they use on the set of Dr Who, things that have gone wrong whilst filming and once more an interactive Q&A with the audience.

I really loved the smaller panels and interactive sessions too. We were able to speak to the creature designers, actors who played the roles of the monsters/ aliens, prop creators, stunt team. The list was endless. It was all incredibly inspiring for both adults and children alike. It lit a fire inside me and my friends as to what would be fun to pursue, why you should never not think the impossible, here in front of us were people who loved their jobs and brought so much joy to millions around the world, was a humbling experience.

Here’s to Dr Who and long may it continue for another 50 years at least.