Sunday, February 19, 2012

Big Finish day review

So last weekend Brian from British Invaders and I met up again and travelled to Barking Abbey school for Big Finish day 2. This convention was a co-production between Big Finish and a convention company called Tenth Planet. The impressive guest list for the day was headed by Tom Baker who was right up there on the Brian Blessed scale of eccentricity and anecdote. He started the day off with a panel with Louise Jameson who played the companion Leela to his Doctor in the 1970s. Once again there were plenty of questions but they were mostly just prompts for Tom to tell stories about the fun he had while playing the Doctor, and the enjoyment he was getting out of reprising the role for the new Big Finish stories. I got a chance to ask him about the scariest monster in the series and he launched into a discussion about how many of his fellow actors thought it was him!

Along with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson there were several other big name actors doing panels and signing autographs. From Doctor Who there were Anneke Wills (who played Polly), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Terry Molloy (Davros) and Lisa Bowerman (Bernice Summerfield). Then there was Paul Darrow who played Avon in Blake's 7 and David Warner who has played bad guys in Star Trek, Time Bandits and Tron as well as taking on the role of Steel in the Big Finish Sapphire & Steel stories. Brian had been to a performance of Taming of the Shrew at the RSC during his trip and had fun discussing the theatre with David Warner who had started his career there.

However my own personal highlight was meeting Shane Rimmer who was in Doctor Who with William Hartnell back in the 1960s, appeared in several James Bond films and was in one of our British Invaders gems, Alternative 3. But for me he will always be the voice of Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds. He was there with his wife promoting his autobiography From Thunderbirds to Pterodactyls which I bought. He signed the book and a picture of Scott Tracy for me. He also recorded a voice memo on my phone which you can download and listen to here. It was fantastic to meet him.

After lunch Brian and I joined the only big queue of the day which was to meet Tom Baker and get our Big Finish CD covers signed. Once again he was on great form, it turned out that the reason that the queue was moving slowly was that everyone was getting a Tom story. Brian got a discussion about Canada and also persuaded Tom to record a British Invaders bumper on Brian's pocket audio recorder. Because people find it difficult to spell my first name I had written it on a card for Tom to dedicate his autograph for me, however Tom couldn't read my writing. When I explained that it was a doctor's handwriting he asked if I was a medical doctor. I said that I was but that I was just A doctor while he was THE Doctor. He then started to tell me all about his GP who sounds like he has his hands full with his famous patient, and then after signing my CD he said "Well goodbye, Doctor." Awesome.

Finally, we finished off the day by recording a brief interview with Nick Briggs who is an executive producer, director, writer and actor with Big Finish as well as providing the voices for the Daleks, Cyberman and several other monsters in the new Doctor Who. We'll probably put the interview in an upcoming bonus episode.

Big Finish day was great fun and if you get the chance to go next year you should go for it. Next up is the Doctor Who Experience.

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