The Reading Hour – 10 (un)easy questions for Alisa Stern

Hello Stonehenge!

We don’t say it often but having a blog is a fascinating thing. It truly changes the way you look at things, people and the whole world around you. You are no longer going somewhere just to have fun, meeting your friends or simply hanging around. Now you are on a mission. Wherever you go, you carefully observe the entire place looking for hidden clues, things that you have not seen before. You read every street sign and commemorative plague, you study the faces of passer-by’s. You are becoming a hunter for something new, something interesting, something worth sharing with others and worth writing about. You turn into an artist, a journalist, a social commentator, a political expert or even a fashion critic.

Doctor Puppet - The Adventure in Time and Space

Doctor Puppet – The Adventure in Time and Space

Doctor Puppet by Alisa stern

Doctor Puppet by Alisa Stern

There are millions of personal blogs online, millions of opinions, million voices waiting to be heard. When we started Vanadian Avenue, nearly 4 years ago, we have never thought that we would talk to rock legends, published authors, translators, Star Wars comics writers and our childhood heroes. We never dreamt of 30 .000 readers and subscribers. It was just our small project that grew more and more. New columns were added as time went on and before we knew it – our small project grew into something significant.

A similar thing happened to our today’s guest – a talented animator Alisa Stern, the creator of mega popular “Doctor Puppet” show. From humble beginnings as a simple picture blog to international sensation that has been featured in press, radio and TV around the globe. Alisa is a life-long nerd and fan of cartoons. Her hobbies including walking around NYC, hiking, jewelry making, and eating falafel. A graduate of Pratt Institute in (BFA with honors in Traditional Animation), she lives in Brooklyn with a black cat named Beryl.

Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor Puppet

Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor Puppet

And Matt Smith as 11th Doctor Puppet

And Matt Smith as 11th Doctor Puppet

In recent months we have extensively covered a lot of Doctor Who related events. We have written about Steven Moffat’s visit to Hay on Wye Festival, Doctor Who Season 8th premiere in Cardiff and reviewed our visit to Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff. When one of our readers contacted us with an idea to speak to Alisa about Doctor Puppet, we didn’t hesitate for a single second. It was a true pleasure to chat to her about the show, the ongoing IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign and her plans for the future. Ladies and gents – please welcome Alisa to Vanadian Avenue!

——————————————————————–

                              Interview with Alisa Stern – the creator of Doctor Puppet

Alis and Peter Capaldi Puppet

Alisa and Peter Capaldi Puppet

Vanadian Avenue: Doctor Puppet is taking the World Wide Web by storm. Can you introduce us to the team behind the newest Internet sensation?

Alisa Stern: Doctor Puppet is truly a team effort. We’re all professional artists and musicians outside of Doctor Puppet. Rachel has done a lot of stop motion, but also contributed props, sets, and background paints. Erin has also done a lot of stop motion as well as storyboards. Shelby is the engineer and figures out how to build the technical stuff, like the TARDIS and sonic screwdriver. Amanda sews the costumes and somehow finds a way to squeeze all the detail into them. Isam paints backgrounds. Scott composes the music, narrates, and is the resident Doctor Who expert. Phil orchestrates the score for live instruments. Then there’s a whole group of extremely talented musicians in England who bring the music to life. I make the puppets and write most of the scripts and make tea for the others. Of course everyone contributed to the stories and adds their ideas.

The 12th Doctor Puppet visiting the Cardiff Rift during  Doctor Puppet World Tour 2014

The 12th Doctor Puppet visiting the Cardiff Rift during Doctor Puppet World Tour 2014

Clara and The Doctor  during their visit to the Tower, please understand the UNIT didn't allow any more pictures.

Clara and The Doctor during their visit to the Tower, please understand the UNIT didn’t allow any more pictures

Clara,the 12th Doctor and The Tardis stopping to greet the fans

Clara,the 12th Doctor and The Tardis stopping to greet the fans

Vanadian Avenue: Where the idea for an animated Doctor Who series came from? Do you have any professional experience in animation or puppet making?

Alisa Stern: Doctor Puppet cme about whilst I was teaching a stop motion animation class actually. I needed to make an example puppet for my students, and I though Matt Smith’s Doctor was already so puppet-like, that he seemed like a good choice. I began posting pictures of the puppet on Tumblr, and everyone really like it, so that eventually became the series on YouTube. I’ve been a professional animator and puppet maker for about 7 years. My background is mainly in stop motion TV commercials and preschool TV. Actually, I met Erin while we were working on a Nick Jr. show called “The Wonder Pets.”

Vanadian Avenue: Your videos are receiving rave reviews not only from fans of the TV series but also from mainstream media such as Huffington Post, BBC UK and BBC America. What equipment is being used during the production and how long does the post production take to make a single episode?

Alisa Stern: We used a Canon Rebel T1i camera and Dragonframe software to capture the stop motion frames. It’s all composited in After Effects with backgrounds make in Photoshop. An episode takes 2 – 4 months to produce. Pre-production (storyboarding, sets, props) takes about a month, or more if the set is complicated. Stop motion animation itself takes about a month. Post-production (compositing, music, sound) takes a few weeks. Every episode has gotten progressively more complicated to make.

Clara and the Doctor re-visit a location featured in "Rose" - the first episode of the reneved Doctor Who series. We are sure  Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper where somewhere close

Clara and the Doctor re-visit a location featured in “Rose” – the first episode of the renewed Doctor Who series. We are sure Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper where somewhere close

The Doctor Puppet wants you to Listen. thank you for your attention

The Doctor Puppet wants you to Listen. Thank you for your attention

Clara and the Mini TARDIS

Clara and the Mini TARDIS

Vanadian Avenue: There are six main episodes available online at the moment and we have to admit the story is very intriguing. The mysterious door in “The Sign of Four”, disappearing previous reincarnations and the sinister laugh. Can you tell us who is responsible for the script? Was the inspiration drawn from any particular sources outside of The Doctor Who Universe? Favorite books or movies maybe?

Alisa Stern: When I wrote the first episode, I also I wrote an outline of the whole story, from beginning to end. I’m so glad that you’re intrigued by it! As we’ve make the episodes, the story has changed a bit, mainly because the others have given their input. I always brought the scripts to Scott because he knows Doctor Who better than anyone I know. So he adds many of the Doctor Who references, and also makes sure that the script isn’t too American. He’s caught some of my Americanisms, especially in Episode 5, which was set in London in the 80s. I don’t think there’s a particular influence outside of Doctor Who – it’s influenced by all kinds of stories I love, specially serialized stories.

Vanadian Avenue: “Doctor Who” series is owned by The BBC. Did you have any contact with them? If so, what was their reaction to “Doctor Puppet”?

Alisa Stern: Yes, I’ve had some really nice interactions with the BBC. They enjoy what we do, and have given us some nice press. We’ve been included in the BBC America blog a number of times, and had episode clips air on BBC America. Also, I was interviewed for a documentary about Doctor Who fans. The documentary crew was able to record Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, and so Erin got to animate the puppets speaking with the real voices! She did an incredible job. The documentary is called “Earth Conquest” and will be included on the Series 8 DVD, so be sire to watch it!

Mauve alert - the universally recognised colour for danger. The 11th and the 4th Doctors are having some bad luck!

Mauve alert – the universally recognized color for danger. The 11th and the 4th Doctors are having some bad luck!

The danger is averted - but we have lost all jelly babies!

The danger is averted – but we have lost all jelly babies!

5th and 6th Doctors are shopping for sweets in the 80's. Piece of cake  if you have a time machine.

5th and 6th Doctors are shopping for sweets in the 80’s. Piece of cake if you have a time machine.

Vanadian Avenue: Let’s talk about the puppets. You have created Clara, all previous incarnations of the Doctor and even some of the most famous monsters like Zygons. Do you have a favourite puppet? Any new creations in the works? The Ponds, Sarah Jane or River? We have to say we love the 80’s version of Clara! She’s looking very New wave-y.

Alisa Stern: I love Eleven because he was the first I made. My favorite at the moment is probably Four though. I’m so pleased with how he came out I have a few more puppets planned. (Not saying who!) 80s Clara was especially fun because we could do anything we wanted to with her.

Vanadian Avenue: We have mentioned the New Wave so let’s focus on the music for a moment. The soundtrack is one of the strongest points of the series. You even had an entire choir singing carols in “Time Lord Christmas”. Do you have a professional composer working for you?

Alisa Stern: Yes, I do! Scott Ampleford has composed everything you’d heard in Doctor Puppet. He’s written all the original music and the songs, plus the lyrics. Also, he sings the songs. And he narrates. He’s a bit prolific. I love how he’s created a unique musical style for nearly every episode. The first few episodes are pretty standard orchestra, but Episode 4 is all synth. Episode 5 and 6 both have scores that sound like the music from those Doctor Who eras. He did an especially fantastic job capturing Dudley Simpson’s 70s era music for Episode 6.

The Fourth Doctor on the set - Anybody wants a jelly baby?

The Fourth Doctor on the set – Anybody wants a jelly baby?

The Third Doctor is ready for some action!

The Third Doctor is ready for some action!

Clara and The Doctor are learning their parts. So much to remember!

Clara and The Doctor are learning their parts. So much to remember!

Vanadian Avenue: You are currently using IndieGoGo, a popular crowd-funding website to collect funds to make a Christmas Special. What can fans expect for backing up your cause?

Alisa Stern: There are a lot of cool perks being offered, including an exclusive thank-you video, behind-the-scenes updates, music, your name in the credits, and chances to meet the crew and puppets.

Vanadian Avenue: 2013 and 2014 were highly successful years for Doctor Puppet. Next year, what can we expect from you guys? Where will the Doctor go in 2015?

Alisa Stern: In 2015, we hope to wrap up the series. There are 2 episodes left in the Eleventh Doctor’s story. After that… I’m not sure. We want to do more Doctor Puppet, as well other projects.

The Eight Doctor looking very romantic

The Eight Doctor looking very romantic

10th and 11th reading the scripts

10th and 11th reading the scripts

The 9th Doctor went for a walk  - after whole day of shooting it's nice to stretch your legs

The 9th Doctor went for a walk – after whole day of shooting it’s nice to stretch your legs

Vanadian Avenue: What are your plans for the future outside of Doctor Puppet? Are you involved in any other projects?

Alisa Stern: We all have other things going on, and I hope we can do more projects together outside of Doctor Puppet. We’re a great team and I hope we can stick together for a while!

Vanadian Avenue: Thank you for your time Alisa. It has been a real pleasure.

Alisa Stern: Thank you!

If you’d like to learn more about the Doctor Puppet please use the links below.

Doctor Puppet links:

http://www.youtube.com/user/HelloDoctorPuppet

http://doctorpuppet.tumblr.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheDoctorPuppet

https://twitter.com/TheDoctorPuppet

Alisa’s website:

http://www.mon-alisa.com/

https://www.facebook.com/alisasternart

Please help The 12th Doctor and his team to create the best Christmas Special yet.

Please help The 12th Doctor and his team to create the best Christmas Special yet.

IndieGoGo campaign:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-doctor-puppet-stop-motion-christmas-special

After the interview was conducted, we have received a note from Alisa with excellent news: An exclusive animated Doctor Puppet clip using the real voices of Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman was featured in “Doctor Who: Earth Conquest”. The 45-minute documentary about the 2014 Doctor Who World Tour was broadcast on Canadian SPACE channel. “Earth Conquest” will also be available on the Series 8 DVD!

An exclusive promo picture has also been released! Congratulations to the entire team!

Doctor and Clara in the Madison Square Park

Doctor and Clara in the Madison Square Park

Official SPACE channel website: http://www.space.ca/
You can pre-order 8th Season DVD here: http://www.bbcshop.com/science-fiction/doctor-who-series-8-dvd/invt/bbcdvd3935

Please do not forget to help Alisa and her friends to collect enough funds to produce the awaited Christmas special! If you cannot donate, please spread the word. It is worth it!

Have a fantastic Day and thank you Alisa! You are the best!

Geronimoooooo!
xxx
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

The cat collector or Kat-a-log part 26

It’s celebration time!

Welcome back cat lovers! Another day and another group of cats that needs introducing! Our celebration continues and we are having a meow time of our lives! Olympia is sending her best wishes and her hello’s as well. She is incredibly humbled by all your comments, views and shares on Facebook and she is hoping that she is choosing the best pictures to portray each kitten.

If you’d like to view the previous entries, here are the links. We know the list is getting longer and longer but this is what our project is all about. So many countries, so many cats and  so many blog entries! We have been collecting cat figurines for a decade now so we have a lot of things to write about.

Kat-a-log Part 1: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1/
Kat-a-log Part 2: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part 3: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/
Kat-a-log Part 4: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-4/
Kat-a-log Part 5: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-5/
Kat-a-log Part 6: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-6/
Kat-a-log Part 7: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-7/
Kat-a-log Part 8: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-8/
Kat-a-log Part 9: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-9/
Kat-a-log Part 10: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-10/
Kat-a-log Part 11: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-11/
Kat-a-log Part 12: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-12/
Kat-a-log Part 13: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-13/
Kat-a-log Part 14: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-14/
Kat-a-log Part 15: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-15/
Kat-a-log Part 16: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-16/
Kat-a-log Part 17: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-17/
Kat-a-log Part 18: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-18/
Kat-a-log Part 19: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-19/
Kat-a-log Part 20: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-20/
Kat-a-log Part 21: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-21/
Kat-a-log Part 22: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-22/
Kat-a-log Part 23: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-23/
Kat-a-log Part 24: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-24/
Kat-a-log Part 25: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-25/

This week is a bit special as we have included two hand made kittens that normally would ‘t be included into Kat-a-log. Please read on  – the stories are amazing and worth being recorded!

Kat-a-log Feline no. 116
Three
sides of a cat: Looking grumpy, Two heads are better than one and How to disappear
Country of origin: made in the UK and bought in Shannon, Ireland – given as a gift in September 2014

Grumpy cat with a mouse – this is an official name for this beautiful kitten sculpted and made by Oak apple Designs. Oak apple team is a small family run business located in Sheffield, UK that specializes in manufacture and production of mould making and resin casting. They are the only company in England with an unique permission from the Deans and Chapters of the cathedrals to take copies of magnificent ecclesiastical carvings that can be found on altars, pulpits, sculptures and choral stalls.

Our kitten is 8 cm tall (3 inches) tall and its serial number is SKU-oak-159. It is a part of  Church mouse and cat series. This figurine has been produced in the UK  but was bought in Shannon, Ireland in a local parish gift shop by Erin, Rita’s colleague from work. You can buy your own copy through Oak apple Design website – it will cost you about 12 pounds.

Entire gallery can be seen here:

http://www.oakappledesigns.com/Church_Cat_with_Mouse_-_Reproduction_Carving_-_Cat_Ornament/p645787_5265580.aspx

Oak apple Designs on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oakapple-Designs-Ltd/295400887221453?ref=br_tf

Now let’s listen to what the artist has to say about this particular kitten:
“This brand new addition is known as the Church Cat with Mouse. All churches and Cathedrals have mice just like the ones we produce but not all the Vicars and Vergers like them as much as we do, and so the Church Cat was brought in to catch them. However apart from the odd stray here and there, this cat does not catch many, in fact he’s good friends with most of them. The Vicar of the church is not too happy with this cat’s performance as a mouse catcher and as you can see this is a sad and grumpy looking cat with not too much to be pleased about living in the church. He’s hoping for better things in life and a new home away from the Church, he prays for your help. Could you be his saviour and new keeper? “

Looking grumpy

Looking grumpy

Two heads are better than one

Two heads are better than one

How to disappear

How to disappear

Kat-a-log Feline no. 117
Three
sides of a cat: Decorating cars, Is it Christmas yet? and Hanging by the gate
Country of origin: UK, bought as a holiday souvenir in July 2013

Not much is known about Kat-a-log kitten number 117. It was bought by a family member as a gift during his holiday stay near Widemouth Bay in Cornwall in July 2013.  There was no sign or a card and we don’t know who made this very unusual cat. Maybe it was some local artisan who sold his or her creation to a beach souvenir store? Maybe it has been made in a factory somewhere else and then imported to the UK as a home decoration item? If you could help us – we would be very grateful for any information.

As you can see, this is not a figurine but a hanging decoration in a shape of a cat. It has a metal handle decorated with a bow, a wooden frame filled with a fabric and a small wooden mouse that is attached to the frame with a spring. Olympia hung the cat in the kitchen where it can be admired by the visitors.

Widemouth Bay on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widemouth_Bay

Decorating cars

Decorating cars

Is it Christmas yet?

Is it Christmas yet?

Hanging by the gate

Hanging by the gate

Kat-a-log Feline no. 118
Three
sides of a cat: Chasing swans, Marina guardians and Gimme a fish!
Official names: Mel and Issa
Country of origin:
UK, made by Rita in August 2013

Mel (the bigger cat) and Issa (the small one on top of Mel’s head) have been made by Rita using self drying clay, glue, silver metal artistic chain, metal beads and acrylic paints. The figurine was a present to Olympia after she complained that Rita has been selling her cat figures to others but hasn’t made one for Kat-a-log yet.  It took Rita nearly 4 days to complete this figure and it is very heavy  – almost half a kilogram of a kitten!

The photo-shoot was taken in Diglis Marina in Worcester: http://www.bwml.co.uk/marinas/diglis_basin_marina

Chasing swans

Chasing swans

Marina guardians

Marina guardians

Gimme a fish!

Gimme a fish!

Kat-a-log Feline no. 119
Three
sides of a cat: Riding a boat, Welcome to the Cafe and Breakfast on the water
Country of origin:
UK, bought in Hereford and painted by Rita in August 2013

Kat-a-log feline number 119 has been given to Olympia as a gift at the same time as Mal and Issa. The figurine made from papier-mâché was originally purchased by Rita’s friends in Hobby Craft in Hereford and then given to her as they didn’t know what exactly to do it with. Instead of using it for decoupage (an art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it in combination with special paint effects and gold leaf ), Rita decided to paint it with blackboard paint turning the cat into an artistic surface.  You can now use a colorful chalk to paint on the cat! Chalk can be removed by a wet cloth and you can start decorating the cat again!

We kindly were allowed to photograph the kitten at lovely Cafe  Afloat – a true cafe on a real boat!
Official site: http://cafeafloat.withtank.com/

Riding a boat

Riding a boat

Welcome to the Cafe

Welcome to the Cafe

Breakfast on the water

Breakfast on the water

You can buy the paper mache figurine at Hobby Craft using the following link:

http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/mache-extra-small-walking-cat/563824-1011

The basic paper mache cat made for Hobby Craft

The basic paper mache cat made for Hobby Craft

Kat-a-log Feline no. 120
Three
sides of a cat: National Trust treasure, Tintern Abbey has a cat and Beauty shot
Country of origin:
Tintern Abbey in Wales, November 2013

Tintern Abbey, a picturesque ruin of the Cistercian monastery is located in the village of Tintern at the boarder between Wales and Gloucestershire. Founded by the  powerful de Clare family in 1136, this gargantuan church has been destroyed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 on orders of King Henry VIII.

Kat-a-log is not really a history lessons so we will skip all the highly interesting architectural details but we are planning on writing a full blog for One Castle a Day column pretty soon. The ruins are now under the protection of CADW (Welsh equivalent of  National Trust) and we have visited this extraordinary site in November 2013.

A visit to Tintern Abbey store ended in adopting a super-cute looking kitten made entirely of fabric and decorated with sequins and  golden trimmings. Sadly, we have not a clue who made this cat. There was  just as short note on the packaging saying that the cat was produced locally and the store assistants could not name the artist. If you have any information, please contact us as we would like to give proper copyrights to the maker!

Tintern Abbey official page: http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/tinternabbey/?lang=en
Tintern Abbey store: http://www.tinternvillage.co.uk/shop/tintern-abbey-shop/

National Trust Cat

National Trust treasure

Tintern Abbey has a cat

Tintern Abbey has a cat

Beauty shot

Beauty shot

Kat-a-log Feline no. 121
Three
sides of a cat: Green and crazy, Visit to the Well Cottage and This building belongs to me
Country of origin: Sydney
, Australia  – bought as a gift in March 2014

If you are looking for crazy cat stories, here is one of them. It could only happen to people like us – a very bonkers family of three ladies behind the Kat-a-log project!

Last year, Rita has been working with a lovely lady named Tracey. Her brother Mark sometimes would come to the office around closing time to help with moving the heavy equipment around (believe us, a server can weigh nearly 30 kilograms).  Rita would often make Mark a tea and a coffee and one day just before Rita changed the jobs, he said that he owned her something for the hospitality. Rita asked him to bring her a cat if he ever goes to some exotic or interesting place. Mark kept his word when he went to visit Australia with his fiancee in March 2014. The colorful metal cat is actually a light holder and it has been purchased at the art market in Sydney. Then he traveled to resort town named Ulladulla for a a 7 days stay (aboriginal for Safe Harbour) and wandered alongside the coast until he reached Melbourne.  Fantastic road trip!

The journey finally ended in Poland and the kitten now is proudly hanging from the kitchen lamp. Sadly, we don’t know the name of the artist, but we will keep on looking!

Green and crazy

Green and crazy

Visit to the Well Cottage

Visit to the Well Cottage

This building belongs to me

This building belongs to me

Kat-a-log Feline no. 122
Two
sides of a cat: Elegance in clay and Fine cat indeed
Country of origin:
UK, Worcester given as a gift in February 2014

Kat-a-log kitten number 122 is not a figurine but a decorative tile made of clay. This beautiful hand sculpted piece has been made by acclaimed artist Philippa Threlfall and was given to Rita by Eva, her colleague from work as a good bye gift when Rita was changing her job in February 2014. It has been purchased from The Commandery museum store in Worcester during a group day out to celebrate  a change of management :)

Educated at Cardiff College of Art, Phillipa and her partner, Kennedy Collings have been working together since 1960’s and completed over 100 huge ceramic and stone murals all over the UK and oversees. They are also owners of  Black Dog of Wells, an art business specializing in terracotta tiles named after the Blacke Dogge, an ancient cider house in Somerset.

Elegance in clay

Elegance in clay

Fine cat indeed

Fine cat indeed

The fine cat comes with a message from the artist - Philippa Threlfall

The fine cat comes with a message from the artist – Philippa Threlfall

Philippa Threlfall official site: http://www.philippathrelfall.com/

Picture of terracotta artwork by Philippa Threlfall

Picture of terracotta artwork by Philippa Threlfall

You can order your own copy here: 

http://www.blackdogofwells.com/cats_and_do/tile011_fine_cat.html?sid=01b79d3a872b8fa3cf280eeb8e5acb27&catid=1001#

Kat-a-log Feline no. 123
Three
sides of a cat:  Dinner is served,  A true lady and Simply stunning
Country of origin:
UK, given as a gift in March 2013

The last kitten in this edition of Kat-a-log is something very unique. White, elegant and timeless, this kitten is actually a small clock made by William Widdop. Widdop Bingham was founded by William Widdop in Brighouse in 1883 as a retail jewelers and watchmakers. The company quickly rose from its humble beginnings to becoming one of the leading wholesalers of gift-ware, baby gifts, wedding gifts and other fancy goods.

Rita has received this clock from a friend (who would like to remain anonymous) after her trip to Oxford in March 2013. We have been allowed to photograph this truly ladylike kitten inside the Castle House Hotel in Hereford.

Widdop Bingham official page: http://www.widdop.co.uk/about.aspx
Widdop Bingham on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/widdopbingham
Widdop Bingham on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WiddopBingham
Castle House Hotel official page: http://www.castlehse.co.uk/

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

A true lady

A true lady

Simply stunning

Simply stunning

There is also a black version of  the same clock. You can find it on Amazon. Please hurry up as both kitten are no longer made and you can only buy them through collector sites or on auction on Ebay.

Black cat version

Black cat version

Black cat version: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wm-Widdop-Miniature-Clock-Cat-Black/dp/B0062JYETQ

Wow! That entry took us a long time to write!
Enjoy yourselves and please return soon as we still have many tails to show you!

Have a splendid day,

All the best from
Rita, Mal and Olympia Dabrowicz

The cat collector or Kat-a-log part 25

Kitty, kitty, kitty!

Hello cat lovers! What a beautiful day it is today! We are celebrating two years since the Kat-a-log project has been established! Balloons, chocolates and confetti are awaiting and the party will be starting off very soon. There is also another reason for us to happy – we have just reached 25th edition of Kat-a-log on Vanadian Avenue! How cool is that?

As usually, we list all previous editions right here and right now. Please feel free to scroll down and read on! Half of our collection is already photographed and described. If you are looking for heart warming stories and cat pictures – this is a perfect place for you :)

Kat-a-log Part 1: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1/
Kat-a-log Part 2: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part 3: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/
Kat-a-log Part 4: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-4/
Kat-a-log Part 5: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-5/
Kat-a-log Part 6: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-6/
Kat-a-log Part 7: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-7/
Kat-a-log Part 8: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-8/
Kat-a-log Part 9: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-9/
Kat-a-log Part 10: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-10/
Kat-a-log Part 11: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-11/
Kat-a-log Part 12: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-12/
Kat-a-log Part 13: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-13/
Kat-a-log Part 14: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-14/
Kat-a-log Part 15: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-15/
Kat-a-log Part 16: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-16/
Kat-a-log Part 17: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-17/
Kat-a-log Part 18: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-18/
Kat-a-log Part 19: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-19/
Kat-a-log Part 20: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-20/
Kat-a-log Part 21: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-21/
Kat-a-log Part 22: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-22/
Kat-a-log Part 23: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-23/
Kat-a-log Part 24: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-24/

Our readers are our biggest treasure. We have received many different tips and leads from them and we are truly grateful for every comment or piece of information. Kat-a-log would never be as good as it is now without your input, so please don’t hesitate to contact us. The best way to reach us is to send an email to Rdabrowicz@yahoo.com

All right, here come the newest additions to Olympia’s catilicious collection. Let’s give them a big cheer!

Kat-a-log Feline no.111
Three sides of a cat: What did you say??, Thinking hard and Won’t tell a soul
Official name: Say No Evil
Country of origin: Indonesia, given as a gift in 2013, Hereford UK

Hand carved from a piece of acacia tree, this sitting cat was given to Rita by a friend in January 2013 who no longer wanted it. Apparently it was a late Christmas gift and to make things even worse – a completely unwanted one as well.  The figurine is  about 12 cm tall, very light,  polished and  painted. At the beginning, we didn’t know much about it, but the cat’s pose was very interesting. Looking visibly stressed, the feline is putting its paws to the mouth, almost like it is refusing to speak.  This is a typical pose for Iwazaru, one of the Three Wise Monkeys from Japanese tradition.  Olympia embarked on a quest to learn more about this figurine but for a long period of time, she was not successful. And then, a breakthrough happened!  Scrolling through hundreds of items on Amazon and Ebay, Olympia noticed a similar looking three figurine set from Landon Tyler Natural Interiors, a popular British  wholesaler specializing in gift-ware imported from Indonesia and Africa. Bull’s eye! Say hello to cat equivalent of Iwazaru – the Say No Evil kitten!

Three Wise Monkeys on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_wise_monkeys

What did you say??

What did you say??

Thinking hard

Thinking hard

Won't tell a soul

Won’t tell a soul

Kat-a-log Feline no.112
Three sides of a cat: Libraries can give you a headache, Red Alert! and The world is too loud
Official name: Hear No Evil
Country of origin: Indonesia, bought online in 2013

Once Olympia learnt that the Kat-a-log kitten number 111 was not a separate figurine but a part of a set, she was working hard to locate the two other missing cats. It wasn’t an easy task as the set has been released nearly 6 years ago and it is now hard to find. We had a bit of luck and Hear No Evil kitten has been found in July 2013 on Amazon. A week later, the cat arrived in Worcester and Rita took it to Hive, the biggest library in town for a photo session. We had a great time taking pictures there! The Second cat in the set is cat equivalent of Kikazaru, a monkey that covers the ears not to hear all evil things people are talking about.

Libraries can give you a headache

Libraries can give you a headache

Red Alert!

Red Alert!

The world is too loud

The world is too loud

Kat-a-log Feline no.113
Three sides of a cat: Nothing to see here, Blinded by the sun and Refusing to look
Official name: Speak No Evil
Country of origin: Indonesia, bought in 2013

The third and final cat has been found in October 2013 in a charity store in Cheltenham. It has been abandoned by previous owners and needed a new home. Rita found it by accident on her way from the hospital and thought it was her lucky day! The kitten is a bit damaged (the paint on the base and around left ear is slightly peeling off) but with a lot of care and proper conservation, it was well preserved and now leads a good life on a shelf in the living room. This is the cat equivalent of Mizaru, the monkey covering its eyes.

We don’t have a picture of all three cats together as they arrived at different times, but next time we are in Poland, the picture shall be taken. Also, Landon Tyler do not have an official website or Facebook profile, but their collections are easily available from  the gift-ware and home ware stores.

If you’d like to own an older version of the set (released around 2005) described here, please use the link below.
The set is quite rare these days but you can still find it in stores.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wooden-Decorative-Ornament-Evil-Speak/dp/B004CRMFS2

Nothing to see here

Nothing to see here

Blinded by the sun

Blinded by the sun

Refusing to look

Refusing to look

Kat-a-log Feline no.114
Two sides of a cat: Sparkle, sparkle and Fashion accessory
Country of origin: China, bought in the UK in April 2013

Extremely popular 3D Pointiage crystal pendants have been popularized worldwide by Swarovski. Kitten number 114 has been made in China and the gems used in it are not real crystals, but it truly doesn’t matter! Every cat is cool and they all can find their own place in Kat-a-log.  This is a key ring pendant with two moving parts: the hear and the body. Rita bought it in Worcester as an Easter gift for Malicia and this sweet creature has been shipped to Malta. Sadly we don’t know who made this cat as the store owners had absolutely no idea! Please let us know if you have something similar and know the maker! Thanks in advance.

The cat was bought in Crown Gate Shopping Centre in Worcester from a small fashion and handbag stand on Angel Walk.
Official website: http://crowngate-worcester.co.uk/friary-walk/

Skarkle, sparkle

Sparkle, sparkle

Fashion accessory

Fashion accessory

Kat-a-log Feline no.115
Two sides of a cat: I know,  I’m cute and  Magnetic personality
Country of origin: China, bought in 2013 in Birmingham

Do you want to support a noble cause? Do you want to adopt a cat? Do you like cute, little things that make your house all neat and beautiful? If you answered YES three times – welcome to the club!  Mal and Rita just cannot walk past a charitable event without getting involved or at least supporting it. If we would, then this  beautiful kitten would never make it into Olympia’s collection! Last year was not very good for Rita as she was struggling with thyroid problems and had to have an operation. She was flying back and forth between Poland and UK, and the closest airport to her is in Birmingham. Returning from the operation, she stopped at New Street Shopping Centre where she found a Wind Horse Gift Shop.

WindHorse started in 1980 as a market store and grew quickly. Today the company hires more than 100 people and are  one of the biggest importers of gift ware from Asia, Indonesia, China and Africa. Their catalog contains over 1000 products and new items are added on  daily basis. Ethical trading is very important for the  company and they support local artisans and their communities. The cat you can see below on pictures have been made by group of artists located in central China that are collecting money for constructions of schools and  workshops in rural parts of the country. Each sold item helps to fund those goals.

Please visit their website and help today!
http://windhorse.biz/cat/ethics/

I know I'm cute

I know,  I’m cute

Magnetic personality

Magnetic personality

All right kittens!  The celebration continues tomorrow as we have so many new kittens to show you! Have fun and please come back as soon as possible!

Have a good day,
xxxx
Olympia, Rita and Mal Dabrowicz

 

Doctor Who Experience Part 1

Hello Whovians!

Are you sitting comfortably? The premiere of “Deep Breath” is just round the corner (only three days are now left!) and the emotions are flying high. It’s been already two weeks since we have attended the red carpet event but it feels like it was only yesterday! If you have been scuba diving in Spain, living under a rock or traveling in another dimension and you have missed our three part review, this is a good time to familiarize yourself with everything what has been happening in Whoniverse. Click on the links below and you will be taken back in time to 7th of August!

Show me the way to Doctor Who Experience  or you will be exterminated!

Show me the way to The Doctor Who Experience or you will be exterminated!

Our ticket

Our ticket

Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere Part 1: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/doctor-who-season-8-premiere-in-cardiff-part-one/
Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere Part 2: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/doctor-who-season-8-premiere-in-cardiff-part-two/
Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere Part 3: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/doctor-who-season-8-premiere-in-cardiff-part-three/

That was a fantastic day and we will remember it for a very long time. Don’t worry, we still haven’t run out of Doctor Who related material and we will dedicate the entire month to the beloved Time Lord. Let’s make the countdown to Peter Capaldi’s debut a memorable one! Ladies and gentleman, humans, humanoids, aliens and other sentient forms of life – welcome kindly to the one and only Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff!

Are you experienced?

Are you experienced?

The main entrance to the building

The main entrance to the building

In May 2014, Rita and Mal arrived in Cardiff for the first time. It is one of those magical places we have always wanted to see. It took us maybe half an hour to absolutely and utterly fell in love with this beautiful city. We spent an entire day walking around the Cardiff Bay and afterwards, we even published a small tour guide listing many local attractions on our blog. However, we didn’t come to the Welsh capitol for beautiful views or good food. Our main goal was to visit the famous Doctor Who Experience to finally discover what the hype was all about. Was it worth the praise? Read on!

Doctor Who Experience is located a short walk away from the BBC studios, Millennium Centre and the Ronald Dhal Plass that has been featured both on “Torchwood” and “Doctor Who” TV series as the Cardiff Rift. It is impossible to miss it – the building is huge, futuristic looking and there are Dalek signs all over the place to show you the right way. If you are arriving to Cardiff by car as we did, take a look at your sat nav. You will notice that TARDIS Walk is also located nearby! Whovians will be delighted!

Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff - in its entire Whovian glory

Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff – in its entire Whovian glory

We approached the museum from the back, a little bit different that other visitors. There is a straight road that goes from the car park into the building, but since we wanted to see the city centre and the Cardiff Bay first, we had to use the waterfront promenade. It wasn’t a bad idea as we had a chance to discover a small exhibition called “The World of Boats”  located right behind the Doctor Who building, in a former boat yard. The exhibition has a famous blue box attached to the gate – a really nice tribute to the neighbours. Sadly, during the May Bank Holiday everything else except The Experience was closed so we were forced to take pictures from a distance. A bit of shame but we will be certainly back to see it very soon.

TARDIS at the entry to the marina

TARDIS at the entry to the marina – view from the distance

And a close up!

And a close up!

Word of advice before you enter the building. If you are claustrophobic, the Experience might not be for you. The tour is nearly 30 minutes long and you will be moving with a large group of people through dark and narrow corridors. The fire exits are well lit but concealed by decorations and we felt really uncomfortable. Luckily, you are not visiting on your own – there are always two tour guides with each group and they are ready to let you out in a flash. It is worth suffering through the tour – museum at the end is an real gem. The other thing you need to know is the tour starts at certain times (every hour) and when you book your ticket, the time of your visit will be displayed on it.  If you are late, the tour will leave without you so make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes before. On busy days tickets are selling out fast – booking online is always a safer option. Admission prices vary: 15 pounds for an adult and 10 pounds for a child. Discounts are offered to families and organized groups.

Just Perfect Ltd - Catering and Events are responsible for cafe inside the Doctor Who Experience. Very good food. You can visit them at: http://www.justperfectcatering.co.uk/index.html

Just Perfect Ltd – Catering and Events are responsible for cafe inside the Doctor Who Experience. Very good food. You can visit them at: http://www.justperfectcatering.co.uk/index.html

Real life size Dalek constructed from Lego bricks

Real life size Dalek constructed from Lego bricks – is welcoming visitors right after entering the building

Experience official website: http://www.doctorwho.tv/events/doctor-who-experience/
Experience on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DW_Experience
Experience on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DoctorWhoExperience
More information about tickets: http://www.doctorwho.tv/events/doctor-who-experience/tickets/general-admission-tickets

Our Experience movie still had the 11th Doctor in it. You have to hurry up if you still want to see it – the Raggedy Man Era will end on September 1st and the museum will be closed for several weeks.  In May, Steven Moffat admitted that they are working on a new Experience with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, but he failed to say exactly when it will be filmed. We don’t want to spoil anything for those who have not seen it yet, but you can expect Daleks, Weeping Angels and a crazy interactive TARDIS flight. It was almost bittersweet to see Matt Smith on the big screen again, knowing he will no longer be playing The Doctor. Kids cheered enthusiastically when he appeared and at the end somebody shouted “Please don’t go!” Matt would be very touched indeed.

Doctor Who Experience is decorated  with excellent murals - sorry but we don't know the artist's name. This one shows Rassilon (as played by Timothy Dalton), The Master (as played by Anthony Ainley) and Toclafane (as seen in the episode "The Sound of Drums). The mural  also includes the official Rassilon's seal from Gallifrey.

Doctor Who Experience is decorated with excellent murals – sorry but we don’t know the artist’s name. This one shows Rassilon (as played by Timothy Dalton), The Master (as played by Anthony Ainley) and Toclafane (as seen in the episode “The Sound of Drums). The mural also includes an official seal of Rassilon – the symbol of Timelords Society from Gallifrey.

Second mural located by the ticket office - The Silence, Ood kind and Sontarans - Strax and Staal from "The Sontaran Stratagem"

Second mural located by the ticket office – The Silence, Ood kind and Sontarans – Strax and Staal from “The Sontaran Stratagem”

Blink and you are dead - The Weeping Angels

Blink and you are dead – The Weeping Angels

Once you emerge from the darkness, you will find yourself inside the museum. Two big exhibition floors are filled top to bottom with costumes, monsters figures, robots, strange devices, character uniforms and other Doctor Who goodies. The first floor is dedicated to the Doctor, his previous incarnations and his companions. The upper floor is a home to enemies and monsters the Doctor has encountered in his travels. We have noticed that older visitors (Classic Who fans) tent to spend more time on the first floor while the younger audience (especially the kids) prefer to run straight to the second floor to encounter Dalkes and Cybermen. We have tried to dedicate equal amount of time to each part of the museum to provide you with an in-depth review. The costumes are beautifully done and we will describe them in detail a bit later, but there was something else that grounded us on the first floor for more than an hour. If you ever dreamt of touching the TARDIS console, pushing the buttons, seeing the machine work and move – this is your chance. The museum gives the visitors an unique opportunity to see the entire interior of two TARDIS’es: the first one stolen by The Doctor and Susan at the beginning of the TV series in 1963 and the one that belonged to David Tennant.

Third Doctor's car named Bessie, a Ford 103E Populars with a fibre-glass body. Bessie is now almost 40 years old and very fragile. Visitors are not allowed to touch it or sit in it.

Third Doctor’s car named Bessie, a Ford 103E Populars with a fibre-glass body. Bessie is now almost 40 years old and very fragile. Visitors are not allowed to touch it or sit in it.

Real science to entertain the kids. Do you know what makes the beach ball fly?

Real science to entertain the kids. Do you know what makes the beach ball fly?

an interesting display how Doctor Who Experience has been built

an interesting display how Doctor Who Experience has been built

It feels like being on a movie set! The original TARDIS interior is extremely bright. White walls (with famous “round things”) look sterile clean and a bit cold. Buttons and levers are white, green, black and transparent, there is also one  single big red button. Various cables and machinery parts are perfectly visible inside the time rotor (a glass tube in the middle of the console) as they move around, go up and down. The design is futuristic yet old by today’s standards: computer screens are too large, the console has hexagonal shape and is segregated into six geometrical sections with straight rows of buttons (even numbers on each side), gauges, compartments and something that looks like a glove boxes. This is a typical s-f production design from early 1960’s and we got teary-eyed just looking at the beautiful piece of equipment. You don’t see anything like that on the telly anymore. Standing next to the console, you have this eerie feeling that the unforgettable William Hartwell will come out of his dressing room any second to discuss what’s happening in the next scene. There was one gentleman from our group that nearly jumped out of his shoes from excitement when he saw the first TARDIS right before him. He explained (a bit ashamed) that he watched Doctor Who since its premiere and now his great grand children are playing with Dalek toys and couldn’t wait for the new Doctor to arrive!

The Madman and his blue box - TARDIS on display

The Madman and his blue box – TARDIS on display

St Jon Ambulance logo on TARDIS door - we have always been curious how the logo looked like in detail

St Jon Ambulance logo on TARDIS door – we have always been curious how the logo looked like in detail

Police Box sign is flashing  - the machine is ready for take off

Police Box sign is flashing – the machine is ready for take off

Police Telephone Free for Use of Public - every child knows that this is not a police box but a powerful time machine!

Police Telephone Free for Use of Public – every child knows that this is not a police box but a powerful time machine!

The other TARDIS located on the left hand side of the museum that belonged to the 10th incarnation of the beloved Time Lord (played by fan favourite Shakespearean actor David Tennant) is nothing like the original one. It is dark, wild, and mysterious. It reminded us of some exotic rain forest plant that could be highly toxic.  This time machine comes in different shades and hues of yellow, green and grey. Several pillars “growing” next to the giant time rotor, looks more like trees or some strange vines that a normal structural support. As you probably know, the 10th Doctor is so popular among younger audience that we had to stand in line to take few photographs! It was worth waiting those 15 minutes – the Coral TARDIS (as it is commonly known) is beautiful and you almost feel like an official companion!

Original interior of TARDIS from 1963 - we do love the round things on the walls!

Original interior of TARDIS from 1963 – we do love the round things on the walls!

TARDIS in flight as the time rotor is on

TARDIS in flight as the time rotor is on

TARDIS gallery - blue boxes that belonged to the 4th Doctor, 10th Doctor and 9th Doctor (from left to right)

TARDIS gallery – blue boxes that belonged to the 4th Doctor, 10th Doctor and 9th Doctor (from left to right)

You can find more information about TARDIS interiors using the links below:

http://www.whoniverse.net/tardis/controlrooms.php

http://www.thedoctorwhosite.co.uk/tardis/interior/season-1-interior/

http://www.pointlessmuseum.com/museum/drwhotechmanual015.php

If you cannot get enough of TARDIS, there is a collection of  blue boxes used in production of The Classic series of Doctor Who near the western side of the museum. Four machines are proudly standing next to each other and you can even open the door. We don’t know which series they were used in, but other visitors informed us that they served as galactic transport for the 4th, 10th and 8th Doctors.

Time Rotor in "Coral"TARDIS

Time Rotor in “Coral” TARDIS

Main console

Main console

Console close up with  computer read screen (in Gallifreyan)

Console close up with computer read out screen (in Gallifreyan)

In case something goes wrong - use a hammer

In case something goes wrong – use a hammer

And another look at the console - from a different side

And another look at the console – from a different side

And another close up  - from yet another perspective

We haven’t seen this side yet!

Comfortable seat

Comfortable seat

The console looks amazing - and it really works!

The console looks amazing – and it really works!

Slightly different perspective with the base of time rotor

Slightly different perspective with the base of time rotor

All right Whovians! It’s time to go for now but please return quickly!
Next time, we will show you some beautiful costumes for the Doctor and  his companions.

Till then,
xxx
Rita and Malcia Dabrowicz

Doctor Who Season 8 premiere in Cardiff part three

Geronimo!!

Welcome Whovians! The third and last part of our review from Cardiff Premiere is finally here. If you’d like to read two previous entries, use the TARDIS database links below. Please be careful, the time archives are very delicate! One careless move and you will rip a hole in the fabrics of reality. That might have a terrible consequences: people could be misplaced, clocks could be stopped, unspeakable terrors could slip into our dimensions… Just be aware ok? And whatever you do, don’t push any big red buttons! We don’t have any big red buttons anyway, but it’s always better to leave them alone.  And don’t go wandering off – the pool is closed. We think, we have an illegal Kraken on board…

So hurry up, read the archives and get back to us!

Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere Part 1: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/doctor-who-season-8-premiere-in-cardiff-part-one/
Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere Part 2: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/doctor-who-season-8-premiere-in-cardiff-part-two/

All right, that was quick!  Now, where were we? It’s always handy to keep notes on what you have written before. You can pick up your tale from the exact moment where you finished it last time. Isn’t it brilliant? And we also did a bit of a research to make this part even more interesting.  Ah! That’s right, we witnessed the arrival of the 12th Doctor and his companions, we fought off the Daleks and escaped the Cybermen. Quite a busy morning! Our destination was the St David’s Hall. It may look like an ordinary building constructed in 1982, but in fact… it is an ordinary building constructed in 1982…

St David's Hall - a view from the outside

St David’s Hall – a view from the outside

Just in case you forgot where you are :)

Just in case you forgot where you are :)

BBc crew at the entrance

BBC crew at the entrance

Well, St David’s Hall may not be an UNIT Headquarters or Torchwood Institute but it still made a big impressions on Doctor Who fans. It has a very strange and remarkable shape – nothing like any other building we have seen in Cardiff so far. It has been designed and erected by Seymour Harris Partnership to fill a small gap between existing buildings and the newly created St David Shopping Centre. The performing arts and exhibition venue has capacity of 2000 people and contains foyers, several balconies, auditorium, dressing rooms, bars, restaurant, cloak room, offices and technical crew area. We were surprised how spacious it is inside. Sounds a bit like a TARSIS – it’s bigger on the inside and smaller on the outside. Time Lords engineering? Several major artistic events are held at St David’s Hall: Welsh Proms (annually), BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition (every two years), Welsh Artist of the Year Awards Ceremony, Roots Unearthed folk series and A Taste of the Fresh Welsh Sound among others. The venue is also a home to BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (the BBC NOW) that kindly provides soundtrack to Doctor Who series.

Our ticket to heaven - front

Our ticket to heaven – front

And the back

And the back

Official website: http://www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stdavidshall
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/stdavidshall

After entering the building, we have been greeted by BBC Crew that provided us with some neat promotional materials (including a set of three unique Word Tour character cards) and we were asked to go to the first floor. Upstairs, we had a chance to buy something to eat (chocolates and jelly babies) and to refresh ourselves.  A large group of fans who arrived before us, were queuing to pose for an official “companion” picture for BBC in the main lobby. Rita was tempted to have a go but the line was long and you had to sign a consent form as the pictures were to be uploaded to official BBC Facebook profile. Realizing we were very tired, we had to give up. It was time to find our seats and rest a bit. The lady checking our tickets was incredibly professional. She told us a bit about the venue, explained how to get to our sector and even showed us where we could find the fire exits (a necessary knowledge for claustrophobics like us). The control strips have been then torn off our tickets and we finally entered the auditorium. Our jaws hit the floor. The place is enormous and beautiful. The interior is very new and it contrasts with the 80’s feeling of the building itself. The auditorium has three levels: front, middle and upper with balconies located at both ends. Finding our seats was easy – we were sitting in the front row, next to the exit leading behind the stage. You may ask how do we know it. Well, Rita usually checks if the fire exits would open. They did and she walked right into three men carrying Dalek heads and Peter Capaldi himself. The Doctor threw her a long surprised look and disappeared in the dressing room and Rita gave him her best nervous grin. Call it a perfect timing! Mr Capaldi must have just finished his red carpet duty by then and was on this way to prepare himself for the premiere. It’s a real talent to bump into celebrities in the most inconvenient/humiliating moments possible: Malicia met Sharon Osborne in the Ozzfest  kitchen area, who was munching on strawberries, we caught Sharon Del Arden (Within Temptation) going out of the dressing room wearing a towel on her head, Metallica in their pyjamas asked us for breakfast, Rita poured Mark Lanegan a drink and bumped into Andi Deris (lead singer of heavy metal band Helloween) while he was going out of a shower, completely naked…The list is very, very long…

Pictures from previous shows are decorating the walls inside the venue

Pictures from previous shows are decorating the walls inside the venue

Musical instruments on display

Musical instruments on display

Doctor Who diet? Yes, please!

Doctor Who diet? Yes, please!

We don’t have to tell you how happy we were sitting so close to the screen.  It was a truly fantastic place to be.  We had an excellent view at the main stage, we could  just turn around to see the entire auditorium behind us and we were seated in the VIP section – what else could you ask for? Rita took several picture of the crowd sitting next to us and they even waved at the camera. Thank you people – you are simply the best!

Around 12:30 the lights in St David’s Hall dimmed and the public went wild again. BBC Director, Rhodri Talfan Davies entered the stage and greeted visitors again, saying that he barely could believe so many people traveled the world to be there. The audience jumped to their feet when Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steve Moffat joined him for few minutes. Jenna and Peter were now dressed differently – Mr Capaldi wore a black suit and Jenna replaced her red dress with a dark shirt and Bella Freud ‘1970’ Jumper in black & ivory. We have been asked not to share or mention anything regarding the “Deep Breath” to anybody as leaked transcripts and raw videos released on the Internet weeks earlier caused the producers a lot of grief. When  2 .000 people promised to behave by screaming at the top of their lungs, Rhodri Talfan Davies laughed and gave the signal to turn off the lights.

Crowd of fans waiting for the doors to open

Crowd of fans waiting for the doors to open

Do you want to be a companion? Stay in line!

Do you want to be a companion? Stay in line!

Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor

Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor

We will not spoil you anything, so if you are looking for illegal content, sorry but we are not able to help you. However, we can list few interesting things about the first episode that are worth waiting for. Please take a look at our personal top ten of “Deep Breath” highlights:

1.Peter Capaldi – It is a common knowledge that Peter Capaldi is one of the most talented British actors today. He has received all important awards to prove his skills including an Oscar and several BAFTA’s. As 12th Doctor, he is wild, exciting, new and fascinating. He can make you laugh, he can make you feel scared, he can terrify you – all at the same time. Steven Moffat is a genius and you can believe us, there is no other actor that could play the new incarnation of the Doctor better. Mr Capaldi is a life long fan and he is not just playing the Doctor. He is the Doctor. This is a great opportunity for young audience to become introduced to Peter Capaldi. Remember that name – Peter’s on a roll!

2. 12th Doctor – say good-bye to flirty, young Doctors. This newcomer is not a romance material. He is not even Mr Nice Guy. He is not a human being, but a Time Lord and now you will see the difference. Part of the Doctor hasn’t changed – he is curious like a cat, unpredictable, headstrong, smart, funny and charming. But number twelve is not forgiving or kind. He has a lot of darkness in him, and we could say he nearly walks on the thin red line that separates the good and bad.  Do you remember the Time Lord Victorious from “Waters of Mars” episode? The 10th incarnation came close to that line several times, but only crossed it once and it shook him to the core. The new Doctor is not afraid, he embraces the dark side like an old friend. You cannot trust him. He is deceitful, angry, cruel. He can abandon you without second thoughts. And at the same time, he is lost and scared. He needs somebody beside him. The Doctor has as just regenerated – new persona, new body confuses him. He is suffering. He doesn’t understand his old friends and they don’t understand him. The Doctor is discovering himself and the inner investigation is not a pleasure trip. Our favourite scene is that with an homeless man and a broken mirror.  Rita thinks that the 12th Doctor is like a Shakespearean play  – it is brilliant, dark, serious and you know that the blood will flow in the end but you cannot stop reading (or in this case watching). Is this the best series of Doctor Who yet? Possibly!

A view from the VIP section

A view from the VIP section

The auditorium starts to fill in

The auditorium starts to fill in

3.  Clara Oswald – The impossible girl is no longer in the lead. She might have wrapped the 11th incarnation around her little finger, but the charm is now broken. She is stuck with a stranger and the stranger doesn’t care. She needs to learn how to dance to his tune and this is not a waltz, rather a wild pogo at heavy metal gig! The 12th Doctor is wearing Doctor Marten’s for a reason. Clara ‘s situation is rather desperate. She wants to trust the Doctor, but he lets her down. She offers her friendship and he doesn’t take it. She is told to be quiet and follow him without asking question. Clara has been truly born to save the Doctor and she is still doing her job. She is ready to sacrifice everything what’s dear to her (including her own life!) to help him, but the Doctor she knew is gone. The relationship they had is now strained – there is confusion, hurt, sadness and doubt. For the first time, Clara is doubting the Doctor and this is a seriously scary experience for her. So far, he has always been there to cover her back. Will he still be able to do it? Will Clara stay? Fantastic performance by Jenna Coleman – there were several sobs coming from the audience during the screening.

4. Madame Vastra –  by popular demand the Veiled Detective is back with a vengeance. Well, maybe not with a vengeance, but she still brings a lot of humour and action with her. Her relationship with the new Doctor is not going smooth, she has to trick the Time Lord to actually keep him in check (for a little while at least). We find her a bit frustrating in the first episode, especially her baseless accusations against Clara can struck few nerves. Then again, Silurians have never been particular charming creatures, were they? It’s good to see her again and we hope that she will continue to appear in the future episodes as well. Madame Vastra is played by actress, Neve McIntosh.

Panaorama of the entire auditorium! We took it first and others followed by our example.

Panorama of the entire auditorium! We took it first and others followed by our example

Upper part of the auditorium and balconies

Upper part of the auditorium and balconies

5. Strax and Jenny Flint - Madame Vastra’s wife (Catrin Stewart) and butler (Dan Starkey) are also present. Those guys are exactly the same as usual – Jenny serves the best afternoon tea in Victorian London and looks gorgeous in a latex cat suit delivering high kicks left and right.  Strax is having continuous issues with distinguishing human sexes (still calls Clara a boy) and praises the Sontaran Empire at least 10 times a day. Old friends of the Doctor, they will come to his aid as expected but even they are surprised how strange the Doctor has become. A touching scene between Jenny and Clara will make you think how bad her situation truly is. Catrin and Dan still have a great chemistry together and we hope that somebody at BBC will finally produce a spin off series to The Paternoster Gang.

6. Dinosaur – Yep, there is a T-rex in Victorian London. Yep, it makes a lot of noise. Yep, you know what happens to dinosaurs in Doctor Who.  Apologies were demanded during the QnA session but certain person haven’t offered any. One of the most heart breaking moments of the new episode, what have you expected!

7. TARDIS – We only see the new interior  briefly at the end of the episode but be prepared. We have loved David Tennant’s TARDIS the most but the new design is perfect. It fits the new Doctor like a glove. Obviously, somebody’s not going to like it!

8. Special effects – Finally BBC is spending the right amount on special effects and the end results are brilliant. Victorian London looks like it should – it’s dirty, smelly, foggy and lovely. The dinosaur is animated really well and the bad guys are properly scary. You will find your kids hiding behind the sofa as they should be!

9. Music – there is a new remix of the Doctor Who theme.  We absolutely love it. We could sing it, but you will not hear it. Sorry.

10.  DW logo/Title credit – It has been confirmed nearly two months ago that a new opening sequence has been created by Doctor Who fan, Billy Hanshaw. He posted it on YouTube where it was discovered by Steven Moffat. You will see a lot of clockworks, fob watches and time travel co-ordinates. TARDIS is still in flight through the time vortex, but the animation is much different. We were truly impressed.

Well, we think we are also allowed to criticize a bit now. The opinions are divided: one of us liked the episode in every detail, the other was kind of disappointed. If you don’t want to know why, skip this paragraph. No spoilers ahead, yet we need to explain.

Q&A session - Jenna, Peter and Steven Moffat

Q&A session – Jenna, Peter and Steven Moffat

A boy named Elliott asked for an autograph and Peter was more than happy to make his dream come true

A boy named Elliott asked for an autograph and Peter was more than happy to make his dream come true

The episode has everything what a great Doctor Who episode should have: trilling storyline, perfectly measured dosage of light and dark moments,  scary bad guys, great acting and a lots of action. There is even more: a new Doctor, new TARDIS, new relationships between established characters – in one word you will not be bored. So what is there to complain about? Well, we have seen it all before. Rita was expecting something big, an earthquake, some fireworks, something new. And the new “new” still feel a bit old. She doesn’t know how to explain it better, but the audience is left feeling hungry and craving more.  Rita had the same feeling about “The Time of the Doctor”, the last episode written by Steven Moffat for Matt Smith.  We admire him, don’t get us wrong. He is one of the most talented writers out there, but let’s put an emphasis on it again – we have seen it all before. Mr Moffat can deliver – go and watch Scherlock’s “His last vow” and you will start chewing your fingernails. This is what the “Deep Breath” is lacking.  If we are promised darkness, please give us the pitch black night, not just twilight.  Maybe we are spoiled, maybe our expectations are too demanding, but some ideas only work once. “Deep breath” is connected to fans beloved episode from David Tennant’s era (also penned by Moffat) and while the connection is truly appreciated, the whole mystery surrounding the bad guys is reviled too quickly. And this is not an argument for the Moffat haters trolling every forum and comments section on the Internet. Steven Moffat is where his place is and we hope he will stay for at least several more seasons.  This is just our own, unbiased opinion.  If we were to rate the episode, we’d still give it 9 on a 10-point scale. “Deep Breath” is an excellent, solid episode that will keep you hanging till the last minute. Yet, it could have been so much more: an instant classic, a ground shaker, a history maker, but it’s not. And it’s a crying shame.

“Deep Breath” is set to debut on BBC on Saturday, August 23rd at 19:50. It will also be screened in selected cinemas around the world, and we are thinking of actually going to see it again on the big screen. The episode is 80 minutes long (a respectable length for a TV special) and it looks wonderful. There is no such thing as too much Doctor Who, remember that!

It must have been nearly 2 o’clock when the lights returned again. There was silence for about 10 second after the credits finished rolling and then the public started raising from their seats. Another standing ovation, so loud that it was surely felt several miles away.  Rhodri Talfan Davies appeared on stage again and tried to silence the crowd. In vain. People were cheering and clapping and the only thing Mr Davies could do was to invite Jenna, Peter and Steven to join him.  Once they sat down, the audience calmed down a bit, but occasionally somebody shouted “Jenna marry me” or “Peter, I love ya!” interrupting the Q&A session.

Whovians are the best!

Whovians are the best!

Waves and sonic screwdrivers

Waves and sonic screwdrivers

Q&A stands for Question and Answers. We have never attended that type of interview before so we were rather curious how it would look like. Well, it was very quick. Quick question, quick answer and another question. Some were asked by chosen members of the public, some were asked by Rhodri Talfan Davies. Questions ranged from utterly silly (“How many lives does the Doctor have?” to which Moffat answered “26” while hiding his face in his hands), obvious (“Will the Doctor Who Experience change since we have a new Doctor?”, the answer was “Yes”) to really complicated ones that nobody knew how to answer. Our favorite question came from a 4 year old boy named Elliott (with double T’s) who asked Peter Capaldi, if he could have his autograph. Mr Capaldi was very touched and gave the boy a big hug as well.

We have learned few interesting things: Steven Moffat thinks that webisodes are an excellent idea to introduce old and new characters to Doctor Who fandom and they are going to use them more often in the future. There will not be a Doctor Who – Sherlock crossover, not even for Comic Relief or any other charitable cause. Not because he is against that idea (he isn’t), but other producers are not happy with it (he called them “killjoys he has to work with”). He also thinks that Madame Vastra is the real Sherlock Holmes in Whoniverse and there is no place for another great detective. Mr Moffat also added that it’s better for Sherlock and The Doctor not to meet as they would sit in TARDIS’ corners sulking that somebody is more intelligent than they are. A good news for Paternoser Gang fans – Steven Moffat said that he would love to give them a spin off series but nobody has offered any financial support yet.  Let’s write to BBC, shall we?

Peter Capaldi admitted his Doctor is influenced by the Classic Who actors (especially William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee) but also by Peter Cushing. There is a lot of  Malcolm Tucker in him minus the cursing, of course. Peter has always thought of Doctor Who as a show for an older audience (certainly not for young kids) and considered the Doctor to be a dark character. He would travel to Ancient Rome if ever given a chance and encouraged the fans to keep on doing what they love, without looking at anything or anyone.

Jenna was asked how Clara feels about the new Doctor and she replied that her character has a lot of growing up to do. Clara is lost  and confused, and she needs to learn how to  co-operate with the 12th incarnation of the Time Lord. She would go to NYC in 1920’s to learn how to dance. She also dropped a small bomb saying that the next episodes are very dark and scary for Clara.  We simply cannot wait!

And the show came to an end. Peter and Jenna waved their good bye’s, sent few kisses and disappeared quickly. Steven Moffat stayed a bit longer, talking to fans and co-workers. The entire crew was going back to London straight away and they didn’t even have time to grab something to eat.  We were tired as well. Slowly, we made our way to the door. It was a perfect day and we were glad we could spend it with other fans.

Steve John, Doctor Who animator at Craft folk event outside St David's Hall

Steve John, Doctor Who animator at Craft folk event outside St David’s Hall

Original sonic screwdriver

Original sonic screwdriver

Close up of Steve John's  art shed

Close up of Steve John’s art shed

We would like to thank several people for making our trip to Cardiff possible. First of all, a big  THANK YOU to all St David’s Hall employees, especially the ladies in box office department. You are wonderful, true stars! We had so many problems with buying the tickets, but we are glad that the issues were positively resolved. Your patience and assistance is more than appreciated. We will never, ever forget your kindness.

Rita would like to personally thank several BBC employees that assisted her after the premiere. Thank you for listening me out and for your interest. That means a world to me and many other readers.  And finally best wishes and eternal thanks to Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat, Samuel Anderson and the entire Doctor Who crew who made it all possible. Without you, we would probably spent the day at work, making the Excel spread sheets looks prettier and being bored out of our minds.

There is one last thing to be added. After leaving St David’s Hall, we noticed a row of small wooden sheds standing some 50 meters away from the entrance. The sheds have been previously locked as the entire street was closed off for pedestrian traffic. Once the premiere was over, the street was re-opened and sheds were now accessible for tourists. We were told that they belong to Craft Folk (fair crafts organizers in South Wales) and allow local artist to display their works in popular places around the city.  What a great idea to promote Welsh makers that came from the Council itself! You know we are always interested in art markets and we decided to take a quick look. To our surprise, we found an artist displaying Doctor Who drawings and an original sonic screwdriver! The artist name is Steve John and he is a well known Cardiff based cartoonist, painter and animator. He specializes in super cute cartoon animal artworks, but can create animated wonders in Flash. His work has been featured on numerous times on TV, printed media and on the Internet (Doctor Who animations for BBC1). Steve is a graduate of Farnham College of Art and Design and has a diploma in Animation and Graphic design. He has been professionally working as an artist for nearly 30 years.

Official website: http://www.bang-bang-art.com/
Hugs Art project:
http://www.hugsart.com/

The exciting day finally came to an end. After 12 hours of running around with camera, taking pictures and talking to people, we were simply exhausted. We have returned home with our heads filled with dreams about time and space, intergalactic travels and possible scripts for Doctor Who adventures. Who knows, maybe we should start writing fan fiction?

Once you start running with the Doctor, it feels like it will never end.
We don’t even want it to end.
The journey must continue and there are amazing places on this planet that we still haven’t seen. Please return soon as out tale is not done yet. Our next stop – Doctor Who Experience!

You just watch us run!
XXX
Rita and Mal

Doctor Who Season 8 Premiere in Cardiff – part two

Allonsy!

Hello again Whovians! We had a bit of sleep and we are back in action! Today, Doctor Who crew and stars are attending the premiere in London and on Saturday, they will fly to Korea! It’s going to be a mega busy weekend for them but this is what you get for being involved in the biggest s-f show on the planet! Traveling through timezones, meeting crazy fans, lack of rest – this is Whovian history in the making and everybody is very excited.

Clara, be my pal. Tell me, am I a good man?

Clara, be my pal. Tell me, am I a good man?

Red carpet treatment

Red carpet treatment

If you have missed first part of our review from the red carpet, please click on the link below. Doctor Who fans are incredible and we had buckets of fun chasing after cosplayers to take their pictures!

http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/doctor-who-season-8-premiere-in-cardiff-part-one/

Now, the second part is where things are getting truly interesting. As you know, we had to split up to fully cover the event. Mal was assigned to keep an eye on the main door to St David’s Hall and Rita went to check the entrance to the red carpet area along with other journalists. This strategic move allowed us to notice everything worth knowing about. It can be a hard thing to work alone – even the Doctor needs companions to help him! At least every previous reincarnation of the Doctor did. The 12th Doctor doesn’t seem to need companions or assistants at all. He has carers so he doesn’t need to care!

Daleks arrive in cloud of smoke

Daleks arrive in cloud of smoke

Dalek chasing the BBC cameraman

Dalek chasing the BBC cameraman

Stop filming and run or you will be exterminated!

Stop filming and run or you will be exterminated!

At 10:30, Malicia witnessed the sudden arrival of two Daleks in a cloud of smoke that scared the children nearly to tears. The Daleks were soon followed by Cybermen and the full invasion began. It is worth noting that both Daleks were radio controlled, while hired actors were dressed in metal suits. Doctor’s enemies paraded up and down the street, trying to exterminate passer-byes or strangle the photographers and BBC workers. One Cyberman got into a short row with a police officer. He was not pleased and didn’t take kindly to being pushed around. The machine was threatened with pair of handcuffs and confrontation seemed unavoidable. Luckily for everybody involved, the BBC Radio Wales presenter Jason Mohammad was able to separate them and Cyberman returned to its routine patrol. To lighten the mood, Jason announced that he would be interviewing the stars and running a Q&A session after the premiere of “Deep Breath” episode. His revelations were received with huge applause and cheers from the public.

Police officer is warning the Cyberman to behave

Police officer is warning the Cyberman to behave

The invasion continues - Cybermen arrive

The invasion continues – Cybermen arrive

Cyberman is looking around - you will be upgraded or deleted!

Cyberman is looking around – you will be upgraded or deleted!

Cybermen ready for action

Cybermen ready for action

We have to tell you more about Jason Mohammad. He is an incredibly energetic person and a brilliant commentator. He was practically all over the place – interviewing fans and guests, cheering and dancing, braking up fights between Daleks/Cybermen and journalists. Jason has joined BBC in 1997 right after graduating from Swansea University in broadcast journalism. He worked for BBC Wales Today as a reporter and hosted a number of successful radio shows for BBC Radio Wales. Since 2013, he is the host of Final Score on BBC One, snooker commentator and presents a daily morning show for BBC Wales Radio. He has also been featured on Doctor Who twice: in “Christmas Invasion” and “Voyage of the Damned”. He is the right person for the job then!

Jason dancing on the red carpet

Jason dancing on the red carpet

BBC Crew taking pictures of Mini TARDIS

BBC Crew taking pictures of Mini TARDIS

Mini TARDIS has been featured on Doctor Who Facebook page

Mini TARDIS has been featured on Doctor Who Facebook page

You can learn more about him at:
Jason on BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/4msqlXLpFWdFmjTJZ07yygn/more-about-jason
Jason on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonmohammad

Reporting from red carpet is not only a privilege but a real adventure as well. The best part of the job was hanging with the other photojournalists from every respectable newspaper in the country. The journalists are a crazy bunch, we tell you. They carry at least 30 kilograms worth of equipment (at least two Canon or Nikon cameras with tele-lenses), backpacks willed with different filters, additional lenses and external flashlights. It seems that the bags and cameras weight nothing – they move around at the speed of light, joke, laugh out loud, tease each other mercilessly.  They are not afraid to lay flat on the ground just to get a good shot, a rare dedication for the job. And while they work their hardest to catch every moment, they still find the time to have fun! Daleks are trying to exterminate the audience? All cameras ready, but the photogs (a slang term describing a photojournalist) were screaming their best advices to the crowd how to fight off the monsters. “Hey, give the can a healthy boot!” – a smiling 10 year old girl tried to kick the Dalek to the loud approval of the people and hit home. “For the Doctor!” the journalists were triumphing and we were clapping with them. The girl was declared a hero of the day and would be featured in the press! Does anybody want a selfie with a robot? There is always a right moment to get the smartphone out of the pocket and take a picture. Cyberman is chasing you? Let’s hide behind the cameras and pretend you are not there. It was a pure joy watching them work and play. Carpe diem, tomorrow you might be dodging the bullets in Gaza…

Ready, steady, shoot!

Ready, steady, shoot!

Waiting for the arrival

Waiting for the arrival

Here they come!

Here they come!

It’s true that time does go fast when you are having a ball. We haven’t been watching the clock but suddenly we realized we were running late. The description on our tickets said that film premiere would start exactly at 12:15 but the stars have not arrived yet. One look at the BBC crew was enough to confirm that we were correct. Nervous looks, endless phone calls, whispers – and then at 11:45 a black car showed up. Journalists threw themselves to get the best places, public went wild – they have arrived!

Peter Capaldi approaching BBC crew for an interview

Peter Capaldi approaching BBC crew for an interview

Interview is about to start

Interview is about to start

Interview in progress

Interview in progress

Fans are the most important - the new Doctor started signing autographs straight away

Fans are the most important – the new Doctor started signing autographs straight away

Where are you from? Poland and Malta? Malta is a beautiful country! Mr Capaldi signing picture for us

Where are you from? Poland and Malta? Malta is a beautiful country! Mr Capaldi signing picture for us

Peter Capaldi emerged from the car first, casually dressed in Hugo Boss dark navy suit and a shirt. Jenna Coleman appeared seconds after him, wearing a stunning red dress from Peekaboo Vintage Red Maxi line. She was followed by Samuel Anderson in an elegant three piece grey suit.  Sorry girls,  if you are thinking about purchasing a copy of Jenna’s dress, we have a bad news for you! It has been sold out completely and apparently, Jenna could keep the last dress the famous London boutique had on stock.

And here it is! Signed photo from Doctor Who World Tour

And here it is! Signed photo from Doctor Who World Tour

Peter is not on Twitter or Facebook but you can follow BBC to learn more about him and the  new series: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p021r78j
Peter has a long entry on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Capaldi

Mental note to ourselves: bring earplugs next time we are about to attend a red carpet event! 10.000 screaming fans can severely hurt your hearing. It ‘s impossible to describe what was happening when Peter Capaldi rose his hand in a greeting and smiled. It was like a bomb has exploded somewhere near us and the shop windows started to shake! Thousands of hands holding posters, autograph pads, magazines, t-shirts and million of other items were thrown out in his direction, melodic chanting “Peter!Peter!” filled the air. You could have seen the shock on actors’ faces when they saw the crazy crowd. Rita has been standing right next to the barriers and noticed that Steven Moffat, who left the car as the last person, looked around and whispered “WOW!”. Lots of visitors were expected to attend the premiere but the real number of fans surprised everybody.

Steven Moffat being interviewed ans Samuel Anderson walking right behind him

Steven Moffat being interviewed and Samuel Anderson walking right behind him

Samuel Anderson  as Danny Pink on Doctor Who world Tour character card

Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink on Doctor Who World Tour character card

Samuel Anderson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theblackpaddy
Samuel on Instagram: http://instagram.com/theblackpaddy

Peter, Jenna and Samuel quickly recovered from the astonishment. They posed for the obligatory portraits and spoke to BBC reporters about their first impressions of the opening day. Peter was first to approach the fans saying “Who wants my autograph?” and he laughed with delight as people used all kind of tricks to get his attention –  from climbing the barricades, shouting utter nonsense (like “I love spaghetti!”), waving flags and declaring their feelings to the Oscar winning actor. We are sure that Mr Capaldi must have signed more than 400 autographs during his walk on the red carpet.  He kept signing during photo-shoots and interviews, stopped to talk to kids and even signed a Big Issue magazine for a vendor!

Jenna interviewed for the first time...

Jenna interviewed for the first time…

And for the second, all in about 10 minutes!

And for the second, all in about 10 minutes!

Jenna signing autograph for us as well - we were lucky!

Jenna signing autograph for us as well – we were lucky!

Barely visible autograph, but at least we have it

Barely visible autograph, but at least we have it

Please visit Peekaboo official website at: http://www.peekaboovintage.com/
You can follow Jenna on Instagram: http://instagram.com/jenna_coleman_
or Twitter (we recommend both!): https://twitter.com/Jenna_Coleman_

Jenna coleman as Clara Oswald on doctor Who World Tour character card

Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald on Doctor Who World Tour character card

We have already mentioned that Jenna Coleman looked like Disney Princess in her beautiful long red dress. Following Peter’s example, Jenna greeted her fans waving her hand in true royal fashion and then posed for photographs along with Peter, Steven Moffat, Samuel Anderson and solo. In real life, Jenna looks even prettier than on screen but it must be noted that she is very tiny! Karen Gillian, the actress playing Amy Pond, a ginger haired Scottish companion to 11th Doctor, was incredibly tall. In contrast, even wearing golden high-heeled shoes, Jenna barely reached Mr Capaldi’s shoulders. Her delicate frame might look worrying but it is not stopping her from doing her own stunts on the show. Jenna spoke to the press and signed couple of autographs including our own.

Red carpet Rita

Red carpet Rita

We haven’t been able to reach Samuel Anderson to get his signature as he was quickly moved away from fans and spent a long while talking to the press and TV crew. We think that BBC producers were a bit afraid that fans could start asking him questions, but if that’s the case, it was unnecessary caution. There was absolutely no time to ask questions and it was too loud to hear any answers! Also, the probability that the actor would like to share any secrets with us at the red carpet  is minimal. We thought that once the guests are seated inside, we would have a chance to approach him, but we couldn’t see him anywhere. Oh well, there’s always another time. Samuel Anderson will play a recurring character named Danny Pink, a teacher at famous Coal High School and a colleague of Clara’s. Some sources are claiming that he will join the TARDIS duo in their travels, but we had no official confirmation for that. We will have to wait and see.

And here's another picture of a Dalek - just because we think they are cool

And here’s another picture of a Dalek – just because we think they are cool

The stars spend nearly 40 minutes greeting the fans. Finally it was time to go. As VIP ticket holders, we had the chance to walk the red carpet ourselves and we have used that opportunity to take some pictures. In the lobby, we have been greeted by BBC workers that directed us to our seats. Thrilled to the core we have made our way up the stairs but that’s a tale for another day!

Please return tomorrow as we still have some excellent news to share!
Till we meet again!

Your Whovians,

Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Doctor Who Season 8 premiere in Cardiff – part one

Hello sweeties!

What a day! What a crowd! What an experience! Doctor Who Series 8 World Premiere in Cardiff has been a huge success! We have just returned from the capitol of Wales and we have to update you straight away. Please excuse this short review but we are barely alive. It’s been 12 hour marathon for us, but we will remember this day for many years to come.

This was our first ever red carpet event. We set up very early, at 7:30 in the morning and we arrived at Saint David’s Car park around 9:30. Saint David is not only a cinema/theatre – it is a huge shopping centre with multiple shops, restaurants and a car park that looks like a futuristic abandoned industrial complex. Going to level four on foot in a spiral staircase is enough to give you a major vertigo. Now try that in a car  – Rita felt like on a roller-coaster. A great idea is to dedicate a whole level to blue badge holders – somebody who thought about that should receive a pay raise. The car park was perfect for such a big event. There was nearly 1000 free spaces available when we arrived and you didn’t have to fight for a spot to park your vehicle. The spots are also bigger than normal and we could  fit our large car without any issues. The only downside is the price. 6 hours will cost you 18 pounds. Ouch!

The Hayes closed off to normal pedestrian traffic

The Hayes closed off to normal pedestrian traffic

St David’s Hall was located only 5 minutes away so we had a leisurely walk into town. We were very lucky with the weather. Previous days have been cold and rainy but we had a true summer sunshine and clear, TARDIS blue skies. The whole street leading to the theatre has been barricaded off as announced the day before on the organizer’s website. People were already taking places along the red carpet and a large crowd was packed near the entrance to the building. The TARDIS was parked in the middle of the street, but sadly it has been placed behind barriers and fans had to stay at least 2 meters away from it. We had no problems with the security measures but kids were devastated. It would have been better if there was a staff member near the blue box keeping an eye on it instead of a 3 feet metal barricade. One teary 4 year old was asking why somebody has put the TARDIS in jail and his poor mom had no answers to offer. Talking about security, the even has been protected by regular police officers, private security companies (we have seen at least three different uniforms and badges), BBC security staff and St David’s Hall guards. There were no incidents or any aggressive behaviour – Whovians showed up in peace and everybody had fun. Whole families arrived to celebrates. We have seen hordes of teenagers, young adults, newly born babies dressed as the 10th Doctor, two year old girl wearing Cyberman mask (she didn’t want to be photographed) and fans well into their 70’s eating ice-creams and waving American flags. The love for Doctor Who has no boundaries. Your age, nationality, country of origin, religion  – nothing matters. Fans came from Jamaica, Canada, USA, Iraq, Maldives, Japan, China and all over Europe (Poland, Germany, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Holland and Norway). We are sure even more countries were represented in Cardiff, but we only had the pleasure to speak to fans from the mentioned places. Can you imagine a conversation regarding Doctor Who Experience between Iraqi couple, two German tourists, yours truly, an American, a Canadian mother and a Chinese student? We have used several kinds of English (American English, British English and Engrish), a mix of our native languages, gestures, body and sign language and we all understood what the other person meant. Fantastic!

TARDIS ha been arrested

TARDIS ha been arrested

To fully cover the event, Mal and Rita decided to split up and each of us covered the other end of the show. Mal was located by the main entrance and kept an eye on everything/everybody going into and out of the building. Rita moved about a lot – she first walked up and down the street talking to people and taking pictures of cosplayers. Later, she found a comfortable spot by the journalists stand and witnessed the arrival of Peter Capaldi, Steven Moffat and Jenna Coleman at 11:15. To learn more about what has been happening on the red carpet before and after the stars arrival, you will have to wait till tomorrow. Right now, we would like to show you some of the best Whovian costumes. Forget the haute couture fantasy fashion shows at Comicon last month. Doctor Who addicts rule and we have lots of pictures to prove it. Take a look at some of the best costumes in time and space!

1. Monica and Bill

Monica and Bill came all the way from the lovely state of Iowa. They haven’t slept much. They flew from Iowa to Chicago, then to Ireland and finally to Cardiff. We have spoken to them around 10:00 am and they were on their last legs but excited and happy! This American couple is married and had Doctor Who inspired reception. Monica has two rings in TARDIS blue: her engagement ring and her wedding band.

They will spend their honeymoon in Cardiff and they started off with Doctor Who premiere! Monica is also a big  Sherlokian fan. Her mobile phone is SHERLOCKED (fans of the TV series will understand). Congratulations to the happy couple and may your journey together be a good one!

Monica and Bill showing off pictures from their Doctor Who inspired wedding

Monica and Bill showing off pictures from their Doctor Who inspired wedding

2. Nadine

Nadine is probably the most professional cosplayer we have ever seen. Not only she was dressed in the exact replica of Amy Pond’s policewoman kissogram costume from “The eleventh hour”, but she gave us her business card where her profession is stated simply as “Whovian”. Pretty neat! We cannot give out her email address but it contains references to both 10th and 11th Doctor and simply rocks. If you’d like to send some fan mail to this red haired Irish beauty, please direct them to us at rdabrowicz@yahoo.com and we will pass them on!

Nadine was picked from the audience and had a chance to ask the cast a question after the premiere of “Deep breath” episode. She also encouraged Peter Capaldi to  say “Judoon Platoon on the Moon” (David Tennant’s favorite quote from “Smith and Jones” episode). the audience gave both a standing ovation!

You can follow Nadine on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SheldineCooper

Nadine posing as Amelia Pond

Nadine posing as Amelia Pond

Amy Pond and UNIT officer

Amy Pond and UNIT officer

3. UNIT officer

We don’t know the name of the UNIT officer pictured below but his costume is probably far better than the original UNIT uniforms used in the show. The soldier was accompanying Nadine and together they created a lot of buzz! Thank you kindly for allowing us to take the picture, sir!

UNIT officer

UNIT officer

4. Fan in a red shirt

Not many people feel comfortable giving out their names to a stranger with a camera phone in hand. We can understand this but it’s a bit of a shame not being able to tell you who those fans are and what they do. An old red t-shirt that says “Trust me I’m a Doctor” was truly unique among hundreds of other Doctor Who related shirts. (Luckily, it was a Doctor Who premiere and not a Star Trek one. Otherwise the red shirt would be somewhat unlucky – Mal)

Trust me I'm the Doctor

Trust me I’m the Doctor

5. The 11th doctor

We have met this 11th Doctor twice. First time he was on his own, posing for pictures and pointing his sonic screwdriver at other fans. The second time we saw him, he was with a group of friends that included Amy Pond and Clara. Unknowingly, we asked him to pose for us at both occasions. You deserve a cookie for your patience!

First encounter

First encounter

And second meeting

And second meeting

6. Boys in fezzes

No, this is not a name for a Whovian boy band (although it is an cool idea) but a nick name we have given to two teenage fans that arrived to the premiere with their fathers. They introduce themselves to us, but we have lost a piece of paper with their names written down.  Sorry about that guys. Please look at their arms – those brave boys have faced a whole army of Silence on their own!

Fezzes are cool

Fezzes are cool

Fighting the Silence

Fighting the Silence

7. The 5th Doctor

Dressing up is not only for the kids. Anybody can look good in Doctor’s clothes, especially if the costume is adorned with a fresh celery stalk from nearby grocery store! The Doctor can regenerate into any age: from incredibly young 11th Doctor, middle to late 30’s (9th Doctor, 10th  Doctor) to an older incarnation (the present 12th Doctor). Age is just a number and the gentleman on our picture had been working on the costume himself and greatly enjoyed the experience.

Peter Davison would be proud

Peter Davison would be proud

8. Lake Silencio Amy Pond

This version of Amy Pond has been a companion to 11th Doctor from picture number 5. She is dressed in a costume from Lake Silencio saga as shown in  two first episodes of the 6th season – “The Impossible Astronaut” and “The Day of the Moon”. Amy’s arms are covered with pen marks (number of Silence she encountered) and she has been frantically looking for her daughter. We wish we could tell you her real name as the lady was very kind and even re-created Karen Gillian’s famous “running” pose for us.

Lake Silencio Amy

Lake Silencio Amy and the Doctor

Amy smiling at the camera

Amy smiling at the camera

9. Anna

Anna came to Cardiff with her mom who was kind to allow us to take a picture of her daughter. Looking like small version of River Song (or rather Melody Pond before she regenerated for the first time), Anna was wearing Doctor Who cardigan, Cyberman t-shirt and held a big TARDIS notebook in her hands.  She also helped us look for interesting costumes by pointing out two Doctors standing at the other side of the street. Thank you Anna!

Anna  and her TARDIS diary

Anna and her TARDIS diary

10. The Two Doctors

Spotted by Anna, The 9th Doctor and 11th Doctor were very happy to pose for a picture. They arrived to the premiere in hopes of seeing Peter Capaldi and wanted to wish him good luck in the role of beloved time traveling Time Lord. Their wish soon became a reality as Peter stopped next to them and even complimented the leather jacket!

Best friends and Two Doctors

Best friends and Two Doctors

11. The New Doctor

After arriving in Cardiff, we quickly noticed that nobody has been dressed as the 12th Doctor! We have seen at least dozen of 11th Doctors, several 10th and 9th Doctors. Many girls were dressed as companions (the beloved ginger Amelia Pond was a fans favorite) or TARDIS in Idris form (from “The Doctor’s Wife” episode). However, nobody seemed to dress as Peter Capaldi! We were really thrilled when this young man passed us by wearing  a 100% Rebel Time Lord T-shirt. We still cannot believe he was the only one! Come on people, we want to see more suits and Dr Marten’s next time!

100% rebel Time Lord

100% rebel Time Lord

12. TARDIS is a lady

The 11th Doctor used to called his precious time machine sexy when they were all alone.  Many female cosplayers chose to dress as the blue box in her female form, but this young lady was very original. Her TARDIS dress was in fact three piece costume that consisted of white undershirt with a collar, blue dress with a belt and Time co-ordinates pattern and matching cardigan. We have met her in a queue for an autograph from Jenna Coleman.

TARDIS Dress

TARDIS Dress

13. The fabulous 10th Doctor

The last but not least! Our lucky number 13  belongs to 10th Doctor. We have met this gentleman inside St David’s Hall right after the premiere. He gladly posed for a picture, regretting that he left his long coat and his sonic screw driver in the cloakroom. Oh well, you cannot have everything, but we have to tell you that he looked really well. And his hairdo was exactly like David Tennant’s. This is  something that cannot be easily copied. Much respect to you Doctor!

Look at the fabulous hair - it's the10th Doctor!

Look at the fabulous hair – it’s the10th Doctor!

All right Whovians, the bed is calling us! It’s been a manic day and we barely can look at the computer screen.
Please be back quickly as we have some fantastic news for you!

Hang in there and have sweet dreams!

XXX
Tired but very happy
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz