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April 19, 2017

Diamonds and Pearls

Steven Moffat once warned me of the level of difficulty it takes to get a job working on Doctor Who. I was showing him a WIP of The Future Needs Us spec trailer outside the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

6-7 months later I saw and heard him share insight about his career progression and the writing process at the BFi Radio Times Television Festival. That really was among the best of the Sunday panels; one particular thing that stood out was the story of when after becoming a big name in children’s television writing with Press Gang, Moffat felt the time was right “to apply to the Doctor production office…they axed it that day.”

Someone I know took a trip to the Doctor Who production office on the day Peter Capaldi announced his imminent departure on live radio.

To quote Frank Skinner, “That is bad luck. But I love a happy ending.”

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In Doctor Who Magazine issue 511

I arrived just in time.

And what a fabulous start to the series The Pilot is. I could watch Peter, Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas read the phonebook or go on country walks and it would still be entertaining. Both Mum and me watched it live – as it should be – and were so moved by the scene towards the end where genre-savvy Bill Potts prevents the Doctor from wiping her mind. She touched a nerve. He got fatherly and super protective.

Bill and Doctor mindwipe

Holy Capaldi.

We had a preview of this episode looooooong before the press launch, Television Festival and air date. We had many photo ops and first glimpses and cwtches on the day they shot the immortal line…

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She’s not wrong…

Highlights of the Television Festival over the weekend (8-9th April):

• Discovering the photocall area…

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It took a moment to recognise Aidan Turner. He smiled and winked at me then came said hi and took a selfie that broke Twitter

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• Hearing Jenna Coleman say my name, and while signing my Series 9 box set, she goes, “when did PC sign this?”

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• Making a young fan’s wish come true Who by chance had stumbled upon the event

• The panels…

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Poldark panel

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Victoria panel with Jenna, Tom Hughes and Daisy Goodwin

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Giant Peter

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Doctor Who panel

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Sound of Sherlock panel with David Arnold, Michael Price, Sue Vertue and Mark Gatiss

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• Bumping into Elaine Collins who recognised me from the Handel Coram concert; she wished me goood luck on my next project

• Seeing the S10 trailer (not mine) and the Pilot clips in IMAX

• Hearing Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi’s thoughts on cyberbullying:

• Thanking the Doctor Who panel for 4 magical years (the time the Capaldi era and my freelance career have been side by side) and for being part of my creative journey; announcing I’m making a short film for Christmas; asking them what movies Series 10 pays homage to

That bit and the full panel:

• Meeting fellow cosplayers and Twitter fam

• People congratulating me on my BBC commission; Brian Minchin confirming Peter has seen it

• Seeing Tom Hiddleston very briefly in the BFI bar

• Moffat pointing right at me and responding to my “humdinger” of a question and ending the Q&A session with an awesome answer

Following the Festival, I travelled once more to London for another day of sun and the amazing 3D installation at Southbank.

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Production value for a birthday project went up as I shot some guerilla footage for my greeting among a few who sent in good wishes for Peter on Good Friday. The video also includes a very special message from a previous incarnation…keep watching…

Rachael Talalay made sure the video reached the guy…

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And he did…

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My life is basically Doctor Who at the moment and will be for a while. Better get started on that film project. The fandom and the Capaldis are counting on it. I’m not nervous at all.

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The Last Doctor