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Doctor Who invades New York City
Last night I got to meet an incumbent Doctor for the first time ever! And I am still on a high!
The new Doctor Who team started their American invasion last night, with a fantastic event at the NYC branch of the Paley Center for Media called "Who's Next: The New Era of Doctor Who", organized by BBC America. And what a night it was. We got to see, listen to, and meet stars Matt Smith, and Karen Gillan, and all 3 executive producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger, and Beth Willis! Oh, and composer Murray Gold was also there!
The Paley Center screening room holds about 200 people and was packed with press and fans, and there was a crowd waiting for the arriving stars outside the building while we waited for it to open. The focus was on Matt, Karen and Steven, and the picture below is courtesy of zombio.com (The Paley Centre staff were very draconian about taking pictures before the event - but they didn't appear especially lizard-like in appearance - simply in manner!)
The evening started with The Eleventh Hour in HD on a large screen! I've lost count of how many times I've watched this wonderful episode now, but it still managed to give me chills and thrills. The remarkable scene of the Doctor and Amelia talking while he eats Fish Custard has taken it's place alongside the great scenes of Doctor Who for me - The 2nd Doctor talking to Victoria about his family, The 1st Doctor confronting Cybermen for the first time, The 4th Doctor and Davros debating the deadly virus, and the 7th Doctor contemplating sugar and the possible repercussions of his actions in a cafe in 1960s London. And then the epic moment of Matt Smith dressing to face down the Atraxi on the hospital roof. They give me chills every single time!
After the screening Clark Collis from Entertainment Weekly introduced himself and the event - with the help of a Dalek Voice Changer toy, and then Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Steven Moffat made their way to the stage. After some introductions Matt was asked about what the part means to him - and the answer was something every Doctor Who fan should cherish! In a most articulate and intelligent manner he discussed how he views it as the most important part in British Television history! Right on Matt! This guy is exactly right for this role in every way! And the chemistry between him and Karen and the respect and friendship that they have with their head writer is 100% genuine and a joy to see!
The floor was then opened up to questions - and there was a very wide range of questions asked, from an extremely diverse audience - including some people who were "Doctor Who virgins" (in the words of one gentleman!) who asked "So what is this show all about?". They picked just the right person to explain the history of the show to them - but really, as Steven Moffat says, all you need to do is watch "The Eleventh Hour". It's all right there. Just as it was in "An Unearthly Child". Some humans meet an extraordinary man and they have adventures!
I was also lucky enough to get to ask a question - back to the Fish Custard scene - and Mr Moffat's inspiration for the scene - which turns out to be Winnie the Pooh and Tigger! How wonderful is that? In his words - "Stealing from the best"!
After some more questions about future stories ("I'm not going to tell you"), what it was like to work with Alex Kingston ("She's definitely NOT boring") and periods of history the panel would like an adventure in (Ms Gillan selected Woodstock, leading Mr Smith to posit Jimi Hendrix as a mad and dangerous alien!), the Q&A session was over.
But even better was to come! A small drinks reception where I got shake hands with the 11th Doctor himself, and have a couple of great conversations with Murray Gold, the composer of all the music in the Doctor Who revival (who teased that he's seen the edit of episodes 12/13 and WOW!), and with Piers Wenger, one of the executive producers, who along with Steven Moffat and Beth Willis have put together what looks to be one spectacular series!
All in all a fantastic night! The Doctor in New York City! Hooray!