Sadly the studios, currently used for Weekend Kitchen, are due to be demolished later this year, leaving only a fraction of the site still standing.
The event was organised by DWAS - The Doctor Who Appreciation Society - and was a lot more low key compared to a majority of the glossy events that are staged these days.
Don’t get me wrong - I PREFERRED this to the glossy events as it was a lot more intimate, you you got see every part of the days events and damn it, they kept to their published timetable.
The spin on the day was the production side and how the behind the scenes events shaped what we saw on screen, with a heavy bias towards the classic rather than new series.
We kicked off with a one-on-one interview with Philip Hinchcliffe, who produced the first three years of Tom Baker’s era.
PHILIP HINCHCLIFFE interview
Philip’s interview was very insightful and interesting, as he had taken over from Barry Letts to launch the Tom Baker era. Much of his first season had already been planned out for him, with the inclusion of crowd pleasing foes such as Sontarans, Cybermen and of course the Daleks.
He made a conscious effort NOT to plunder the back catalogue and use all new adversaries, to the extent that a planned return of The Master in what became The Talons Of Weng Chiang was vetoed.
At the end of the interview, DWAS presented Philip with a well deserved award for his contribution to the development of Doctor Who.
TERRANCE DICKS interview
Next we had a double act in the form of Derrick Sherwin and Terrance Dicks, who had been consecutive script editors spanning the latter days of Patrick Troughton and the whole of the Jon Pertwee eras. Terrance also wrote for the Tom baker era too.
What emerged the strongest was the creation of UNIT and how it was a long-term plan to help trim the budget.
Intended to appear first in The Invasion, UNIT were retrospectively added to The Web Of Fear. Their invention was specifically intended to act as a foil for The Doctor and to reduce his lines and scenes to make it less of a burden for the lead actor.
Like Philip, Terrance and Derrick were presented with awards for their contribution to the production of Doctor Who.
We then had a break to get the first of the autographs and photo opportunities.
I took along a River Song diary I now use for autographs, and found that there was 'no limit' on the number of items you could get signed, so long as it was within reason.
So I got Philip as well as visual effects expert Mike Tucker, composer Dominic Glynn, and script editor Andrew Cartmel.
I also grabbed a quick - and it was quick - photo op with firstly Graeme Harper, then with Terrance and Derrick together.
It was then back into the viewing theatre for the next one-on-one interview, with director Graeme Harper.
GRAEME HARPER interview
Graeme gave an absorbing interview about his time not only on the classic series, directing Peter Davision in Caves Of Androzani and Colin Baker in Revelation Of The Daleks, but also working on the new series where is helmed the return of the Cybermen in series two.
Next up was special effects guru Mike Tucker, who is one of a select few who has worked on both the classic and new series.
Since Mike was principally involved with the Seventh Doctor era, you can read more about his interview here:
Then it was time for another break, during which I got Terrance’s autograph on my photo with him; as well as Graeme's on his photo with me and in my River Song diary.
Colin seems to know me pretty well now, as he pipped up, “Here comes the tailor!” when I stepped up for the shot.
Back in the viewing theatre we were treated to a double act of Dominic Glynn and Andrew Cartmel who sparked well off each other.
DOMINIC GLYNN and
ANDREW CARTMEL interview
Both had been relatively young when they worked on Doctor Who, and they had similar stories of unsolicited approaches to JNT to get their jobs.
COLIN BAKER interview
He talked at length about his pre and post Doctor Who fame and looked back on his time with sometimes mixed emotions.
You can read about Colin’s interview here:
With the main programme over, it just remained to get Nicholas Briggs to scribble in my River Song diary and for Colin to sign the photo I had with him, as well as two shots from meeting him in LA earlier this year at Gallifrey One.
This was the first DWAS event I have actually been to, and I must say it was very well planned and executed.