The continuing adventures of a woman trying to achieve forty things before she hits the grand old age of forty, although not necessarily in the right order...
Number 1: Appear in a Doctor Who story (achieved – sort of)
I’ll start this with a huge THANK YOU to the charity Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), my friend Rebecca and everyone at Capital Sci Fi Con for helping me tick off one of my biggest life goals.
It’s a long time since I started my forty things for forty list. Basic Maths will reveal how close the deadline is. There’s no way I’ll achieve it all in time, but it’s been fun trying. I’ve learned new skills, visited exciting places and enjoyed time with friends old and new.
Having been a Doctor Who fan since the age of 9, which is ... no way I’m telling you how many years ... the first and most important goal was always going to be: ‘appear in a Doctor Who story’.
It’s also one of the trickiest. You can’t phone up the BBC and say ‘hello I’d like a spot on one of your most popular franchises. Yes I’m a serious actor / writer type. No I’m not just a massive fan. Yes, I am currently wearing a long scarf. Wait! Don’t put down the phone ...’
Until Capital Sci Fi Con, the closest I came to achieving my goal was listening to Dr Who audio adventures. Several feature McGann’s Doctor and his companion Charley. An even closer match is the Tom Baker story featuring ‘Charlotte from the village’: like me she’s from a village in Devon and is a Bowie fan.
Close, but not actually me. As a last resort, I started writing my own Who novel.
Then came Capital Sci Fi Con. For anyone who hasn’t been, it’s an IMMENSE event, organised by fans, for fans, for the charity CHAS.
I arrived to a queue around the block. The last time I attended a conference I was 14 so it was ... a while ago. My friend and I were pretty much the only females there. What is lovely about Capital Sci Fi Con is that fans represented all ages, genders, backgrounds and abilities. There were families; couples; friends; hobby groups. It makes for a wonderful atmosphere. Welcoming, friendly and inclusive.
And the costumes! My word. So much effort, detail and love had gone into them.
In terms of the event itself, I could go on for pages about how well organised and fun it was. I can do more of that in my TFN column. For now the main goal: appearing in a Doctor Who story.
I took the opportunity to be photographed with as many monsters, actors and robots as possible in my ‘lash-up’ costume. (Classic Dr Who for me involves some sort of velvet / hat / boot combo.)
I got menaced, threatened at gun point, mock throttled, hugged and fought things off with a light sabre. I struck a Doctor pose inside the TARDIS doorway. The hilarious Terry Molloy (Davros) stuck my Davros figurine up his nose. He probably increased the value by £200.
The final shout out, though, goes to the wonderful Julian Glover. He’s been in Indiana Jones, Game of Thrones, James Bond, Blake’s 7 and pretty much anything you ever enjoyed watching.
For me, he will always be Skaroth (Count Scarlioni) in City of Death. Famous for its Paris location and witty dialogue, mainly courtesy of the wonderful Douglas Adams, City of Death is a classic ‘70s Who story about an alien stealing the Mona Lisa.
I approached Mr Glover a little nervously and explained what I’d like him to do.
There’s a favourite exchange in City of Death between the Count (spoiler- he’s an alien) and Countess Scarlioni:
“My Dear, he’s not as stupid as he seems.”
“My Dear, nobody could be as stupid as he seems.”
It’s one of my favourite exchanges. I have to stop myself adapting it as a retort whenever people say they’re ‘not as stupid as they look’. You lose friends that way.
To cut a long story slightly more mid-length: Mr Glover agreed to be filmed delivering the lines with me. He did it beautifully and didn’t bat an eyelid.
To be fair, for an actor on the sci fi conference circuit, it’s probably not the weirdest thing he’s been asked to do.
Thanks to everyone at CHAS, Capital Sci Fi Con and especially the beautiful Julian Glover, for making my nine-year-old self’s dream come true.