Violet picks up where Josh left off on our recap of Saturday at Gallifrey One, the annual Doctor Who convention that took place February 12-14 at the LAX Marriott. Violet recaps the following panels: The Two Doctors: Peter Davison and Colin Baker, Friends and Foes: Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver, and Making Series Nine: Behind the Scenes, then Josh finishes it off with Gallifrey One Match Game: The After-Hours Edition.
Lunch and the Dealers Room
The Mars 2020 Mission panel wrapped up around 2:00pm, and we decided to get some lunch before our next panel, which was scheduled to start at 3:00pm. We decided to try out Champions, the sports bar at the LAX Marriott, and there was surprisingly no wait. Every time I’ve looked over there, it’s seemed crowded, so I wasn’t expecting to be seated right away. After we finished lunch, we took a stroll through the Dealers Room, since we hadn’t been in there yet, and it was soon time for our panel. We were a bit early, and walked in as the Nicola Bryant & Frazer Hines: The Two Companions panel was finishing up, so I took a couple of pictures.
The Two Doctors: Peter Davison and Colin Baker
The panel with Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, and Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, was of course in the main room, Program A, and was pretty packed. It was to the point where staff was coming around telling us to move down so that any empty chairs would now be on the end and easier to seat people in. We had purposely sat on the aisle so that I would be able to see better (I’m short), so being in the left section, we were asked to move down one seat to the left, since there was one empty chair to the left of us, and therefore I had to give up my aisle seat to a latecomer, so I was a little bummed about that. It ended up being standing room only for the panel.
Apparently, Colin Baker was running late, so Fifth Doctor Peter Davison took to the stage and had some banter with the audience while we waited. A few minutes later, Sixth Doctor Colin Baker showed up, and it was immediately opened up to audience Q&A.
One person brought up how Colin had said they only get it right every sixth Doctor, but Davison disagreed, saying he thinks they get it right every fifth Doctor. As for favorite episode, Peter turned to Colin and said it was the one where “I turned into you!” Colin’s favorite part of playing the Doctor was “All of it” and how for 3 years every child in Britain liked him.
If they could describe their Doctor in one word, Colin said the Sixth would be “Sixy,” and Peter said the Fifth would be “Confused.” Regarding favorite Doctor lines, Colin brought up “The Doctor dances” and Eccelston’s “Everybody lives!” Peter also agreed with Eccleston’s line, but also answered, “It’s for the fans.”
When an audience member asked why the Doctor chose Maxil’s face, Peter exclaimed to Colin, “You chose someone who shot me!” However, Colin answered, “Probably because it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen!”
When asked about their oddest moment on set, Peter talked about when they dressed him up as Janet Fielding one time, and apparently no one even noticed. Colin talked about Brian Blessed. Apparently, they were under great pressure to finish up shooting by 10pm every night, but one night the most complicated scene was left until the end of the day. Brian Blessed’s line was supposed to be, “Right, let’s go find the mentors” — but he couldn’t remember the word “mentors,” so swear words came out instead. No one ever said a word to him about it though.
Regarding his opinion on a female Time Lord or male companion, Colin answered, “We’re all people. I don’t care if the Doctor is male or female, or if the companion is male or female.”
They were also asked about Big Finish. Peter said that he keeps coming back because he enjoys doing it, and Colin said that “You, the audience” keeps him coming back.
In response to why the other Doctors don’t wear the celery, Peter replied, “The other Doctors aren’t quite as intelligent as me.”
Then a fire alarm went off. People looked around, thinking it was a false alarm, not wanting to move. But then staff came in and told us to evacuate, and we complied, going out to the patio. But just as soon as we got outside, staff members came out and told us it was in fact a false alarm, and that we could go back in. It looked like we got the same seats we had been sitting in, and that most people in our back left section did as well. I’m not sure that the people in the front of the room ever even moved.
There wasn’t much time left in the panel after that. Colin talked a little about how bad it smelled inside of the TARDIS — so bad that they held their breaths when they had to go in, it was that unpleasant. He also told a funny story about when kids take a photo op with him, expecting to see the Sixth Doctor that they recognize from the show, and they ask him when the Doctor is coming, to which Colin tells them it’ll be about an hour or so.
With that, the panel wrapped up, and we stayed put for the next panel, as it looked like no one was budging.
Friends and Foes: Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver
The Friends and Foes panel was supposed to include Samuel Anderson, who played Danny Pink, but due to a last minute schedule change, he was unable to make it. The panel went on with Ingrid Oliver, who plays Osgood, and Michelle Gomez, who plays Missy. It seemed like this panel got even more crowded than the already standing room only audience that had been there for the panel with the Fifth and Six Doctors, as staff members were going around and trying to find empty seats for people, and some parties were split up.
One of the opening questions from the moderator was directed to Michelle Gomez, as to whether she was happy to kill Osgood, to which she answered, “Yes, I’d do it again.” As for whether we’d seen the last of Missy, Michelle replied that she honestly doesn’t know, but she hopes not. Regarding what Missy would do if she met a past Master, Michelle answered “Probably just kiss him, and then tell him to leave.”
Michelle is a huge fan of Doctor Who, so when she got the call to be the Master, she knew it was a huge responsibility. She also shared her reaction when she found out: “Really? But I got a vagina!” She briefly talked about her role as “The Lady” on Gotham, but said she didn’t know how that is going to develop. Back on the subject of Doctor Who, she told us that she was very nervous on her first day, which also turned out to be the day that she was supposed to kiss the Doctor. “I suction cupped him,” she recalled. She also told us that when she was kissing the Doctor, she had put her hand behind her, and “saucy” Jenna took her hand. “We had a 3 way going on,” she joked.
When asked if there was a particular scene they would like for their character, Ingrid said that she would like Osgood to go undercover, while Michelle said she would want Missy to have tea with the Queen.
Michelle was asked about when she sang “Hey Missy,” and she said she was just “trilling around” one day and they decided to add it into the show!
If she was able to travel in time, Michelle said that she would go to when she was 12 years old, on the “cusp of womanhood.”
When an audience member asked Michelle how she felt when she found out she had to kiss Peter Capaldi, Michelle paused to ask the girl how old she was before continuing with her answer. Michelle talked about how she and Peter Capaldi are from the same hometown, and she’s always looked up to him. But to answer the question, she “felt all sorts of things, not below the waist.”
Ingrid talked about working with the Doctors, and how during Peter Capaldi’s Zygon speech, she and Jenna Coleman were crying because the speech was so moving.
Michelle was asked about her husband, Jack Davenport, who she’s been married to for 20 years. Michelle says they’re still happily married, and that he has the “best voice.”
An audience member asked if Missy meant it when she said she loves the Doctor, but Michelle said she thought Missy was “just messing him.”
Michelle talked about the scene outside of St Paul’s Cathedral where they had to shoot by just mouthing the words, because they didn’t want anyone to know that Missy was the Master. She said that instead of revealing herself as the Master, she was actually just mouthing “blah blah blah,” and that it apparently somehow looks like it matches up!
A girl who was cosplaying as Missy was invited up on stage to ask her question. I hadn’t attended Michelle Gomez’s solo panel the day before, but I had seen pictures of this same girl being brought up on stage during that panel as well. The girl was overwhelmed, crying, as she sat between Ingrid and Michelle and tried to get her question out, which was what Michelle would name a character, to which her answer was “Queen.”
The question of “shipping” came up. Michelle said she would ship Missy with a “hunky Cyberman” or a Dalek, and Ingrid said she would ship Osgood with Captain Jack.
As for “their Doctor,” Ingrid said that hers was Peter Davison, and that he was actually one of her first crushes, while Michelle answered that she “can’t see past the great and mighty Peter Capaldi.”
Someone asked for advice on where to go in Cardiff, and Michelle joked, “You’ll normally find me down by the docks” and to “go see Barry.”
After the hour long panel wrapped up, John Hurt was next. However, we were pretty tired, so we decided to go take a nap, and to see John Hurt’s Sunday panel.
So we went back up to the room and had a nice little nap. I woke up about an hour later, at 6pm, so I could go to the Series 9 Behind the Scenes panel. Josh was still tired, so he opted to go back to sleep, and I went down to the panel alone.
Making Series Nine: Behind the Scenes
This panel took place in Program A and featured writers Jamie Mathieson and Sarah Dollard, as well as casting director Andy Pryor. Director Rachel Talalay was also originally scheduled to be on this panel, but she had to cancel her Gallifrey One appearance at the last minute due to an illness in the family.
I was a few minutes late walking into this panel, but didn’t have a problem finding a seat near the front, as the room had surprisingly cleared out quite a bit following the standing room only room that we had left just an hour before.
When I walked in, the moderator had just asked Andy Pryor about the casting of Maisie Williams. Andy said they knew they were looking for more of a name actor for the role, that they wanted a “leading actor.” They wanted someone who was experienced, though Maisie was only 17. Andy recalled that Maisie had turned 18 while filming, and that she took the whole crew to Nando’s for her birthday.
As for the influence that a director has on casting and on the script, Andy said that it depends on the director. The moderator asked Sarah and Jamie if they ever heard from their director. Sarah explained that they have something called a “tone meeting,” where they sit down with the director, Steven Moffat, Brian Minchin, and the head of every department. Jamie went on to say that at the Tone Meeting, they go through the script page by page, and discuss every scene, and each department head chips in if they need to, such as about a costume or location. Sarah said that this is the chance for the director to tell you if something needs to change. For example, regarding the countdown tattoo, Sarah was asked at what point it would move, because this would decide whether it would be makeup or CG. They liked Sarah’s idea that when it went to 0:00, it would turn to smoke and leave, because that would only be one effect shot, and save them money.
Jamie jumped in and said they (the producers) like any idea that saves them money, and brought up how in The Girl Who Died, it had originally started out with the Doctor and Clara tied up and brought to the village in longboats, but he was told that he could either have the village or the longboats, and that he couldn’t have both.
Andy doesn’t often join the Tone Meetings, because he said it’s a waste of everyone’s time for him to be there. When asked about if there were any surprises of how well a character worked out that was cast, Jamie talked about how he and Andy were very pleased with all the minor characters who were cast for Mummy on the Orient Express.
The moderator asked Sarah about a final draft of her episode that he read which included Rigsy’s wife. Sarah revealed that those scenes were actually filmed, but didn’t make it “because my script was too long.” Jamie commented that whenever scenes are cut, it’s always the dramatic character beats. He brought up a scene in The Girl Who Died that was cut, in which the Doctor gives Ashildr a sword and the male Vikings have a negative reaction, but the Doctor says that the women need to fight.
The moderator brought up read-throughs, and Jamie recalled that for some reason, he was there for Peter Capaldi’s first read-through, wherein everyone went around the table introducing themselves. When it got to Peter Capaldi, he said, “Oh, you all know who I am.” But Steven Moffat insisted, “No, you have to say it.” So he said, “I’m Peter Capaldi and I am The Doctor,” and the room went mad.
Jamie and Sarah continued talking about the read-through process. Jamie mentioned that when you write dialogue, you need to say it out loud, because sometimes it sounds different spoken aloud than it does in your head. So sometimes during a read-through, they’ll hear certain lines of dialogue and realize that it needs to be re-written.
The moderator also prompted Sarah and Jamie to talk about what sort of notes they receive from Steven Moffat and the script editors. Jamie said that sometimes he’ll get a note from Steven Moffat that he knows if he follows it, he’ll have to re-write the whole script — but it’s such a good note, and he knows it’ll be worth it.
As for what it’s like for the writers to watch the filming, Sarah said that acting for the screen is so subtle and small, that it’s about micro expressions — and looks like they’re not doing any work, and just having “a little chat.” Jamie recalled the first time he went to set for something he had written was magical, but not so much after that. Sarah said that it’s still magical for her. Jamie said that a writer has no role on set, and it’s not like anyone’s coming to you and asking, “Are we doing it right?”
One of the joys that Andy finds in casting the show is that it’s a different show every week. He says it’s about finding actors that aren’t afraid to take risks, and who can “make it real.”
Jamie mentioned that both he and Sarah came from working on Being Human, in which they could play around with genre, so it was good training for Doctor Who, which often jumps around between different genres.
It was then opened to audience questions.
One person asked Sarah what she knew about what would happen to Clara after her episode. She said that she knew Clara would be in the last episode, but didn’t know if she was real, or a memory, or what. They offered to let her read the script, but she declined, as she wanted to watch it.
As for whether Jamie and Sarah had pitched for Season 10 and are in yet, Jamie said that he’s still throwing ideas, though of course would love to write for it, and Sarah said it’s still too early to talk about.
Regarding villains that they would like to write, Sarah said that she really likes the Ood, while Jamie said that he loves the Daleks, but it’s been done so many times that it would be difficult for him to come up with anything new.
Apparently during the Face the Raven live commentary, Sarah had mentioned that the script was released online. She verified that it is still available.
Someone asked about how much the writers are guided in their writing process. Jamie commented that a note from Steven Moffat on a bad day is worth 10 from anyone else.
When asked about their favorite Doctor Who monsters, Andy said that his were the seadevils and mummies, while Sarah’s were the Empty Child and also the monster in Midnight, and Jamie answered the Daleks.
Regarding how much control they have over diversity casting, Andy said that it depends on the writer. For example, Russell T. Davies specified certain ethnicities. Andy also said that the show often gets criticized for being too PC, but the show is about a world that we live in, so it should look like the world that we live in. Jamie pointed out that Rigsy’s ethnicity wasn’t mentioned in the script.
Sarah was asked what was going through her head when she found out she would be the one to kill Clara. She said she thought, “This is terrible. Clara can’t die, I love Clara… but if she’s going to die, I want to do that.” It was partly an “ego thing,” but she felt really protective of Clara, and wanted her to “die right.” Although, in the back of her head, “fangirl me was screaming the whole time.”
Another audience question asked if they could re-write an episode to put their own twist on it, what would it be. Sarah said she’d like to write “Survival” fan fic, while Jamie joked, “I’d re-write Blink and make it a musical!”
When asked whether the writers work together, Jamie said that the writers mostly work solo, and it’s not like a writer’s room in the U.S. Usually you meet with Steven and the script editors on your own.
The final question was from the moderator: what memory will they take away from working on Series 9 on Doctor Who? Jamie recalled watching Jenna Coleman cry on demand over and over while she was trapped inside the Dalek. Andy appreciated that Jenna was able to show her range, and that he was proud of her work in the show. Sarah recounted a funny story of being on set and seeing a guy in a Zygon costume. Due to the costume, he wasn’t able to sit down, so he had to just lean on things.
John Hurt and Dinner
The Making Series Nine: Behind the Scenes panel finished up around 7pm, at which point I headed back up to our hotel room. Upon exiting Program A, I noticed that there was already a long line for the Masquerade of Mandragora, which snaked in and out of the hallways. (Perhaps this was why attendance at the Behind the Scenes panel had been so low, because many of the people that might have gone to it were in this line??) I told Josh about the line, and we both immediately agreed that we wouldn’t be going to the Masquerade, if the line was already that long, and considering that it didn’t start until 8:30pm. We still needed to eat dinner, after all. We decided to try out Latitude 33, another restaurant at the hotel.
Upon approaching our elevator lobby, we noticed John Hurt waiting for an elevator! He was waiting to go up, while we were heading down. Being that it was close to 7:30pm, we surmised that he must be heading up to attend the “John Hurt & Friends” reception. By this point, we had stopped taking the elevator and instead had begun taking the stairs, since our room was on the third floor, and the hotel lobby was only one floor down. So we just passed right through the elevator lobby and to the stairwell, as usual, not wanting to bother Sir John Hurt, who was with his wife, and speaking to another couple. But it was still cool to pass right by him like that! From then on, I began to think of John Hurt as our “neighbor” (albeit temporary), considering that he was presumably staying on the same floor as we were.
Anyway, so we headed down to eat at Latitude 33. But when we went to put our name in, we were told it would be an hour wait. So we walked over to Denny’s again instead. Although it wasn’t an hour wait, we were told it would be a 30 minute wait. Thankfully, it only turned out to be a 20 minute wait. Several other Gallifrey One attendees were there as well. When we finished eating, we just went back to our hotel room and relaxed until 11:00pm, when it was time for the Gallifrey One Match Game: The After-Hours Edition.
Josh is going to take over from here.
Gallifrey One Match Game: The After-Hours Edition
The final “panel” of the night on Saturday was the “Matching Game”, which was based off an old game show of the same name. For those unfamiliar, the premise is basically contestants try their best to fill in a “blank” in a phrase, in hopes to match that of a “celebrity” panel. The celebrities for this panel were Matthew Jacobs, David J. Howe, Sam Stone, Frazer Hines, and Ian McNeice who was a little late, finishing up from the Masquerade. There was one more non-celebrity who played, but I don’t remember his name. We’ll call him “Jimmy Kimmel” because he kind of looked like him. The panel was also hosted by Joshua Lou Friedman.
Now, this panel was an 18+ panel, and it was pretty clear why it was. Right out of the gate, we discovered that the phrases were designed to be answered with “dirty-minded” answers. The first phrase for a contestant to fill in was something to the effect of “When the Doctor was not around, [companion] was sure to keep her batteries charged in her blank”. This kicked off with mostly vibrator-related answers.
Most of the questions revolved around this sort of nature, where innuendos were clearly present in the phrase to be filled in. Also, there was a lot of drinking involved, and “Jimmy Kimmel” guy was quite hammered, it appeared. He did come up with the more creative answers for the game, and certainly provided some of the most entertaining responses.
The game went through various contestants, who would come up and do a round, to see who would win. One girl had a pretty good run until she was sadly dethroned.
The panel seemed to be geared at those familiar with the old game show, as they seemed to have the music from the show (which I was not familiar with) and it seemed to get the crowd really into it. Unfortunately for me, I had heard of the show, but had no real familiarity with it, having never seen an episode…probably because I am too young.
I also didn’t really get into the actual game. I don’t think this was really the host or “panelists’ ” fault, but more of just different tastes. It wasn’t actually the crude humor that bothered me, as one might expect, but the questions seemed to be geared towards a specific answer being expected. I think the panelists realized this too, so they would purposefully attempt to come up with creative answers to spice up the game some.
In the end, despite it not being my cup of tea, I would say the panel was a lot of fun for most people in the room. I am glad to see that a lot of people got some enjoyment out of this panel!
Click here for our Gallifrey One 2016 Sunday Report, featuring Sir John Hurt and Samuel Anderson!
Check out our photo gallery below for more pictures!