“I made a studio outside my bathroom”: how Doctor Who lovers decided to lock | TV & radio


Tthe hashtag varies. The stories could take place in the future, the past, on Earth or far, far in the universe, but one thing is constant – Doctor Who fans turn to tweet along episodes alongside the people who have written, directed and performed in their.

Who themed watchalongs were created by Doctor Who magazine Emily Cook. She says the idea came to her in bed one morning when the UK was on the brink of foreclosure. “I was thinking about the state of our world and how life was going to change dramatically,” said Cook.

“I often use television, especially Doctor Who, as an escape, and I needed a pick-me-up. I suspected that other people would be in the same position, so I sent a tweet saying that I’m going to watch The Day of the Doctor this day this time, why don’t we have a joint viewing experience ? “

Former Steven Moffat showrunner saw the event going on and made contact. “Steven’s involvement has taken him to another level,” said Cook. She has since organized watchalongs, including contributions from writers Russell T Davies, Neil Gaiman and Richard Curtis.

Watch Russell T Davies’ tribute to Elisabeth Sladen.

The BBC was without intervention. Aside from the strange encouraging message from Chris Chibnall and the ad machine, Cook was left to fend for himself. “They love the fact that he’s an organic fan,” she says.

Fandoms being fandoms, there has been high-profile, moody media criticism, but the overwhelming response has been incredibly positive, says Cook.

“Many people say that these events help keep them sane. To begin with, I thought to myself: it’s a nice thing to say, but I didn’t really realize it. I think what they mean is that this is a really strange and scary time; people are isolated and insecure from the world and have nothing to hope for. People say it’s good to have something in the newspaper that they know they’ll enjoy – and that they can do with other people. “

While Cook is the Tim Burgess of the Doctor Who world – singer Charlatans hosts Twitter listening parties – her task has been helped by the willingness of some of those involved in the show to generate new material. Chris Chibnall wrote short story, while Jodie Whittaker filmed herself at home in costume a sketch on the self-isolation of an army of Sontarans, with a reassuring message for young viewers of the show. There is also a new BBC website – Staying in the Tardis – providing educational resources and activity ideas for young fans trapped during the pandemic. This weekend, a new mini-episode written by Moffat with Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas will be released.

Another former showrunner, Davies, has also written new material, including a moving coda for the spinoff series The Sarah Jane Adventures. In it, key cast members presented a tribute to the beloved Elisabeth Sladen to close the series after her death from cancer in 2011.

It’s not just the people directly involved in the series who have had a wave of creative activities related to locking, but the fans too. Matthew Rimmer created Time Scope, an unauthorized anthology of short stories, poetry and works of art. He is raising money for the charity Scope, which has a black hole in its finances due to the closure of its stores.

Yaz (Mandip Gill), the doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) in Doctor Who

Yaz (Mandip Gill), the doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and Ryan (Tosin Cole). Photography: James Pardon / BBC

A fan for almost 30 years, Rimmer says the level of interest in the anthology was far beyond what he had expected. “The anthology includes contributions from 95 people between the ages of 13 and 90,” he says. “The fans submitting their material said they were grateful for this creative outlet as a distraction from the locking blues. It was a huge learning curve to put it in place, but the kindness of strangers on the Internet and virtual friends exceeded my expectations. “

Far from television, there are still many new Doctor Who being created – and a Time Lord who can defeat Daleks and Cybermen will not be out of step with the complexity of remote recording.

Big Finish, which has been producing audio pieces featuring original members of Doctor Who for more than two decades, has released a new story – Shadow of the Sun – starring Tom Baker that was recorded under locked conditions.

Nicholas Briggs, creative director of Big Finish and the voice of the Daleks on television, says, “It is a pretty weird experience to do it that way. It’s all new, and yet strangely very similar. Registering people with them is almost just an extension of our normal work practice. “

This imposed new technical demands on the actors involved, with Louise Jameson, who played Leela on Doctor Who in the 1970s, revealing that “I created a comedic makeshift studio outside the door of my room. bath. I use a laundry basket, a hat rack, a duvet and foam rubber to soundproof everything. “

Big Finish has also experimented with live shows, broadcasting some of its audio stories on YouTube, with actors and writers, including the eight Doctors, Paul McGann, tweeting and chatting. He also produced a weekly series of “lockdownloads” of free audio books.

In all of this, the feeling of unity among Doctor Who fans is clear. As Cook says about TV shows: “This is a time when our viewing habits are so different. The idea of ​​saying, “We’re all going to do this at the same time,” really gets people excited. “


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