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The day I met David Tennant…

The day I met David Tennant…

Geoff Marshall with some dude

Geoff Marshall with some dude

It was all Geoff‘s idea, Yer Honour…

Y’see, he’d recently come back to the BBC after two years in America fraternising with our American cousins – and even worse, American ACTORS. And it had all rubbed off a bit on him. The endless video posts, the sheer confidence in walking up to strangers – and yet still enthusing about Doctor Who, music and the Pet Shop Boys.

He then told me that he knew that David Tennant was going to be on BBC Breakfast on 31 December, and he was determined to get an autograph with him – by essentially lurking down the labyrinthe corridors of BBC Television Centre until he bumped into him. But he needed some help. A wingman, to help pass the time. Did I want to do it?

Strange as it may seem, I didn’t jump at the chance. Ever since I started working professionally within the media industry I’ve never asked for an autograph – mostly because you can’t interrupt an interview with Ben Elton, Alicia Silverstone or Glenn Close to ask for an autograph. That just wouldn’t do. Plus, I’m usually hyperaware that in the highly unlikely event of any problems, my face will be the ones that the security guards remember for reasons I’ll go into in another post … Although when I was younger, I’d hang around stage doors (well, it was double Physical Education on Wednesdays) and I managed to co-opt Stephen Fry into saving my University projects. Twice.

This time, I reasoned, I wouldn’t be there for work, and besides, it’s David Tennant. The night before he hands over the TARDIS keys. So I brushed up on the do’s and don’t of approaching a celebrity and waited…

The next morning, I arrived at the ye early time of 8am, and joined Geoff thereafter as we kept moving from point to point on the hear-out for a Scottish accent, while trying to avoid the cleaners who kept asking if we knew where we were going.

And then we went back into main reception – where usually only taxi drivers and runners are – and there he was. Already patiently signing autographs for a few kids, while a harassed BBC runner hovered behind him, eager to move him into his warm dressing room. But oh no, we were between him and the main doors. Geoff asked him whether he could stop now or on the way back, and David, being the understanding man he is, said he’d be a while in the studio and best to do it now.

Geoff managed to persuade him for a photograph. Unfortunately, it was an iPhone – and have you ever tried taking a pic on an iPhone in a hurry when you’ve never used one before? Your fingers are everywhere except where they need to be! So after three blurred shots of Geoff with David Tennant, he made his apologies and ran into the studio.

Throughout it all, David seemed slightly stressed – well, you would be if you’re dashing into a TV studio to address the nation – but a thoroughly decent chap nice enough to stop for autographs on a cold Thursday morning when he didn’t have to.

Anyway, that’s enough from me. Watch Geoff’s video of this momentous occasion (via Facebook alas!)…

The play's the thing…

The play's the thing…

About a decade ago, I had my first experience of Hamlet, via Kenneth Branagh’s full-length sumptious cinematic adaptation in glorious 70mm. I remember at the time, thinking the following:

– blimey, 70mm is gorgeous
– I can’t follow everything that’s going on, but I can follow enough to get by
– how many phrases from the English language were plucked from this ?!
– If Ophelia isn’t the archetypal Doctor Who companion, I don’t know who is…
– Kate Winslet. She’d make a great companion (she wasn’t the all-conquering Titantic heroine she is now)

Fast-forward to this weekend, and we three (times two, making six) ended up voyaging from various corners of the UK (and one eBayer from Bermuda) to the twee country town of Stratford-upon-Avon to see a RSC production of Hamlet, with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart leading the cast.

The Courtyard Theatre space After all the hassles of buying the tickets and getting there, getting into the play was one huge anti-climax. It was a relatively small venue in a quiet part of Stratford’s riverside, and we just showed the usher our tickets and entered a stunningly stark place, with mirrors acting as a theatre backdrop. No props, no set dressing, it was a real courtyard, with the actors entering and exiting the stage through corridors amongst the audience, and I loved the idea.

Unfortuanately, as the play progressed, they brought in a prop here, a set dressing there, until by the end the small space was festooned with props and things, which somewhat spoilt it. The ananachronism of it all – helicopters, guns, notepads, condoms – didn’t help either. Why use a gun to shoot someone when at the end you end up with a fencing fight?

I’m not too sure what I was expecting – probably epic acting histronics, but I didn’t really get the whole experience. It’s a production I think I admired more than I liked or loved – I certainly didn’t come out of it gabbling or loving it. One of my party left after thirty minutes, saying it was the worst production she’d seen. The rest of my party seemed to love it, although one of them was more star-struck than anything else.

A signed Hamlet programmeNot being a Shakespearian acolyte, it was to be fair a little hard for me to seperate the actors from the production. For the Tennant fans, there was a fair amount of TimeLord/Tennant-esque dashing around the stage like an epileptic gazelle. Oh, and he wore alternatively a tuxedo, and then a student-esque T-shirt. He’s certainly a very very skinny fellow – I need his thyroids. He strangely lacked stage presence – there was one speech where I totally lost interest and had no idea what he was talking about, and he pretty much mumbled his way through To Be or Not To Be (oh baby can’t you see, we’re gonna make it to the toooooppppp) For the Stewart fans, despite looking a lot like Professor X, he seemed far more convincing and Shakespearian actorly than Tennant. Of course, afterwards there was a mad rush for autographs, although I elected to have a pint instead until other members of my party came back.

Since I haven’t been to the theatre in eons, I also forgot that theatre tends to bring out the maudlin and confused in me, mostly because there’s no filter between me and the actors, like you have in cinema and television. Then again, I love stand-up comedy, where there’s no filter at all. I’m still trying to process that particular thought, but then again: “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

John Barrowman's taking his tablets…

John Barrowman's taking his tablets…

If you held John Barrowman’s first single in your hands, and saw it was a cover of the screeching karaoke classic All Out Of Love, you’d expect it to be a diva-ish affair with soaring vocals, and huge production values.

Prepare to be disappointed. He does have an orchestra behind him, but judging from this video, it has none of the passion and drama that you’d expect from Mr. Barrowman. He must have been taking his Hyperactivity tablets… I won’t even comment on the irony of having the out-and-proud Barrowman’s exclusive video debut next to a picture of a “Gay Dalek”…

Oh, and David Tennant as a bespectacled geek.

Will the David Tenannt love affair please just stop?

Will the David Tenannt love affair please just stop?

ok, it was fine to suddenly have the Doctor played by a charismatic actor who could effortlessly charm the pants off everyone – even my little sister – and make everyone fancy him.

It’s fine to have David Tennant as the Doctor, a man so “nice” and charming that even his self-filmed DVD extras are good quality video. So seemingly open that he films his family watching the Doctor Who Christmas Special. How meta is that?

But surely, when an actor playing a Time Lord is raised to tabloid-level fodder with papparazzi stalking him for the Daily Mail just so you can see his topless body relaxing on the beach, enough is enough?

Wait… where have you all gone?

Perversity of Doctor Who fans

Perversity of Doctor Who fans

Not had time to blog yet, but it comes to something when a man who’s barely hit twenty – so was about five when the original TV show last aired – calls the producer behind Doctor Who 2005 a “fat Welsh turd” who’s “raping Doctor Who”. How nice.

Shall I invoke the spirit of William Shatner in saying “it’s! just! a! tv! show!” ?

btw, exit Christopher Ecclestone. Enter David Tennant. Shame, my flatmate was about to get his application in.

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