Wednesday 16 June 2010

The Panbaftica Opens

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!!!!
Sorry about that. I'm just too excited.

Tonight I was priveliged to attend the Bafta preview screening for the penultimate Matt Smith episode, The Pandorica Opens.

Public BAFTA Event -
The BAFTA site

The Doctor Who News Page:
The Pandorica Opens - Preview

I arrived at Bafta in good time, but had apparently missed the arrival of Matt and Karen.
The street outside was packed with fans, a few of whom had managed to grab a rare autograph from the stars.

Looking around a spotted a familar little face, a face familiar too to anyone who reads my blog: Jack, the youngest Eleventh Doctor cosplayer I know!

I went up to him and said 'You must be Jack!' he looked at me confused, but his started to smile as he noticed my shirt. 'Matt Smith wears a shirt like that!' he exclaimed.
I introduced myself to his father and Jack and I started exchanging compliments about our costumes, mine incomplete as it was too hot to wear my tweed. 'Where's your bow tie?' he challenged me. I pulled it out of the pocket of the tweed I was putting on.
'Bow ties are cool!' we agreed.

'But you haven't got braces like mine!' Jack exclaimed. The other pocket of my tweed soon put that right. Though I had foolishly left my sonic at home, so I was truely trumped on that one.

I had only been in full costume a few seconds before someone approached me and ask if I knew of the Eleventh Doctor costume blog, or the Tennant Coat one too. I was rumbled! We had a nice chat, interrupted by the arrival of Steven Moffat, who stopped to sign numerous autographs. Jack was taken to see him and as he passed he complimented him on his costume. Jack took it in his stride.

Less could be said of Arthur Darvill who swished past without signing or stopping for anyone. A round of boos and hisses convayed the crowds sentiments there.

Entry was by ticket only, and I managed to nab a couple through eBay - at hyperinflated prices, but ho hum.

Bafta were not issuing tickets before the event, instead working it as a names-on-list affair, so it wasn't until my seller could collect his own ticket before I could have mine.
The rickets themselves were a very dull and boring thing to hold, just being yellow pieces of paper with the Bafta logo on it. I was hoping for a nice momento of the evening, but I'll have to look elsewhere for that.

Going in we found some good seats, as it turned out immediately in front of Ian Levine and Warris Hussein, the director of the first ever Who story back in 1963.
Also entering we saw Susan Hampshire. Yes, I didn't work that one out either!

The audatorium was packed, and after squeezing in the final few, it was time to start the proceedings.

Essential Spoiler Free

I am not gonna say a great deal about the episode, but wow did it tick some boxes. It was great to see Xxxxx Xxxx back and on top form, as well as the surprise return of Xxxxxxx Xxx Xxxx, Xxxxx Xxxxxxxx and Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxx! Xxxx Xxxxxxxx was also back, but Steven Moffat asked us especially to keep that secret....
The episode was fantastically cinematic, as The Eleventh Hour had been in my view, and it was an action packed from beginning to end, with one of the longest pre-credit scenes ever.

Following the episode was a Q&A session with Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvill.
The questions ranged form Matt’s approach to the character to how Steven plans the season, sewing the seeds for the final explosive story-arc.

During this Matt’s eyes were scanning the room and he noticed Jack sitting on the front row. He clocked him and pointed, giving him his characteristic thumbs up. I could tell Jack was having a good time.

The questions were thrown open to the floor and a variety of questions were asked.

One provoked an interesting cosplay-interest reply. When asked about the costume and how much was Matt’s own input, he revealed that he had been at a costume fitting that very morning for his next series outfit . . . . So it looks like we are back to square one, with new items to identify and clammer over before they sell out globally. One titbit of interest though – the designers were under strict instructions directly from Steven that there was to be NO hats, unless the script specifically calls for it.
So – no hats!
Matt did mention that most of the series seems (in his view) to be shot in November, so just a tweed jacket had been a bit cold, hinting that an overcoat might be in the horizon. Interesting.

Then came the most excruciating, embarrassing, long-winded question from hell, from of all people Ian Levine. He prefaced it by saying he had the best question ever for Steven, and I saw his eyes widen at the gauntlet thrown down. then he reiterated the overnight compared to final complied BARB ratings for the series as it had progressed.
His point was that the figures had often been swelled by later viewings and iPlayer watches. What the final question to Steven actually was I can’t recall – I think like a lot of the audience (and the panel) we had dozed off, but Steven did a gracious reply, saying he was pleased that anyone was watching it and enjoying it in the process. Phew!

One of the next questions was from Jack! He presented Matt with a publicity still of Matt in the vortex, with Jack Photoshoped in the background! (see left, click to enlarge - go on, it’s just the funniest thing you have seen!) It was a classic.

Matt invited Jack to sign it for him, but Jack showed there was a message on the reverse that Matt then read out to the audience. It said:
Dear Matt Smith, I really like dressing up as the Doctor. I think you are really cool! Love Jack age 6 and a half.
Really cool was underlined twice, which Matt made a point of saying when he was reading it out!

Now, I could relate to this as I recall meeting Tom Baker in the late 70s at the height of his popularity on the series. It was the most amazing encounter of my youth and to meet my tv idol (he was in costume I might add) was truly awe inspiring, so for Jack it must have been a dream come true for him to not only get Matt’s attention, but to give him the photo he so wanted him to have. Well done Jack!

On leaving, for me the one thing that spoil the evening was seeing Matt Smith’s car trying to make its way through the traffic on Piccadilly. It was busy and had gotten stuck with red lights ahead. As a result the car was surrounded on all sides by fans taking photos through the windows or fruitlessly holding items for signing to the occupants in the hope that they might get an autograph.
For me it was over the edge of obsessive and a little cringeworthy. Just leave them alone.


  1. This is a great post! Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  2. I am SOOOOOOOO jealous right now. Sounds awesome! :-D

  3. I'm totally envious- but how awesome! I can't wait to see this episode this weekend! Well done for Jack indeed!

  4. A very exciting read.

    Shame about Matt trying to get home. I honestly felt my heart sink somewhat.


    You might consider adding one of these to your costume. I hear they are cool.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.