I knew going into this week that I’d only be able to get away early to see one of the Doctor Who events in the city this week. I didn’t hear about the Apple Store event until much later, so the choice was between the Monday event at the Paley Center and the Wednesday event at the Cinema. I decided a ticket in the hand was the safest way to go (especially since leaving early didn’t mean I’d get there in time to have a good chance of a ticket), so I went for the Monday event, where you could claim tickets in advance. (Later I would get an offer from a friend to hold my place on Wednesday, but given that when Wednesday came, they gave the tickets away at 5pm and I ended up working until 8pm, I don’t think that would have worked.)
Now I’ve been sharing Doctor Who viewing with two friends of mine. One couldn’t make it, but the other could, which worked out well, since I could only get two tickets. What follows is the tl;dr version of our trip.
We headed up by train (she listened to music, so I started The Adventure of the Diogenes Damosel, a Bernice Summerfield audioplay from Big Finish, only realising later on that I think I skipped an audio in the series AND that it’s linked to the Doctor Who New Adventure novel The All-Consuming Fire which I bought on a whim at Gallifrey One earlier in the year), and then walked to the theatre. I decided to take no chances and used Google Maps on my Pre to figure out the route.
When we got around 6pm there I spotted some of the DWNY crowd hanging around outside. We went in to pick up the tickets, and Steven Moffat (new showrunner, replacing Russell T. Davies) was being interviewed and/or photographed by the press. The Paley Center was very strict on the no camera rule. My friend and I hung around outside until we heard that Karen Gillan (Amy Pond, the Doctor’s new companion) had appeared, and then shifted in to the lobby with the rest of the crowd. My friend is a bit shy so we sort of lingered in the background. Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor) appeared shortly thereafter. I can now say that I stood about six feet from him. Though that is not as good a story as the photograph with Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor) at NY Comicon last year or Gallifrey two years ago when Steven Moffat was nice enough to sign all of my Press Gang DVDs even though there was a limit of two or three items and I had a conversation with Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) about cream cheese and didn’t realise it was him until later or about staying across the hall from Katy Manning (Jo Grant, a Third Doctor era companion) last Gallifrey. :)
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. We were told to start heading into the theater (after they checked our bags, this being NYC). We sat towards the back on one side – some of the seats were being held (presumably for upper level donors and press). Once the room was full, someone from the Paley Center came in to announce the program. They had a slide with a twitter hashtag up, but I couldn’t get a reliable signal, so I stopped tweeting around the time the show began.
This was the third time I’d seen The Eleventh Hour, so I knew what was coming, but it was still lovely to see it on the big screen with lots of other fans. I’m not going to comment on it here for fear of spoilers, but I will say that if you haven’t seen it yet, you won’t be disappointed. There is one spoiler in the discussion of the Q&A below.
Once the lights came up, we moved on to a Q&A with someone from Entertainment Weekly, whose name I’ve forgotten, but who proved his credibility by bringing along the Dalek voice changer helmet he got for his 40th? birthday.
There is a short clip from the Q&A here
He introduced Steven Moffat, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan and after a few quick setup questions, he asked for questions from the audience.
Most of the questions were in the form of “share Doctor Who credentials or lack thereof, say how great Matt and Karen were in the episode OR reference favorite Steven Moffat episode (all the episodes he wrote during the Ninth and Tenth Doctor eras were name-checked), ask question” and most of the questions were the sort they’ve been asked a million times before and you can find the answer in any interview.
Interesting questions (at least to me), probably not in the order they were asked (note that these may contain spoilers for the first episode as everyone had just watched it):
Newbie asks for a quick summary of the show. Big laugh from the audience. Steven Moffat asks if newbie remembers when Kennedy was shot (Doctor Who started airing the day after), then gave the canned “madman running around in a blue box through time and space” answer.
SPOILER One of the DWNY members asked about the fish custard (after telling Steven Moffat that Paul Cornell (who has written Doctor Who episodes and books) said hi, and getting a snarky comment about twittering in return). That scene was based on the entrance of Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh. And this whole paragraph will make no sense if you haven’t seen the episode.
Someone actually asked about the whole “geronimo” thing and whether it was related to “geronimo”‘s special meaning in Coupling. You could tell who had seen Coupling by the scattered hysterical laughter. Steven Moffat had this stunned expression and it was clear this hadn’t occurred to him. He hurried to explain that he’d only put it in once, but Matt was the one who kept saying it.
Other notes: Karen Gillan is very tall. Matt Smith’s hands do not stop moving.
There was a reception immediately following, but my friend wanted to head home, so I grabbed a cracker and we left. Later I found out that the three of them had come out to mingle, though as far as I can tell, the autographs and magnets were limited to the other two events this week.
Still, it was fun and I was glad I went. And it gave me an excuse to become a member of the Paley Center and I’m looking forward to attending other events there.