Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Doctor Who Season Premier Live Event

Always when I've got prior plans!

BBC America sponsored a free, early screening of the Doctor Who season premier at a local movie theater this evening. On hand to discuss the show were members of the cast, including the new Doctor, Matt Smith, and some of the creative team. Did I mention I had prior plans? Well, I did. So I couldn't attend. I could, however, spend some time chatting with a few of the fans who lined up around the block to get one of the 300 or so available seats.

For the rest of us, the new season of Doctor Who, starring Matt Smith, airs on BBC America on April 17 at 9 p.m.

If you'd like more information on Doctor Who fandom in New York City, check out

1. Tim Grogan and Anthony Burdge

Matt Smith is going to be here tonight. What do you think of the new Doctor?
TIM He's amazing. I think he's reminiscent of the earlier Doctors, and does a great job of drawing on their personalities. It's a nice bridge between the new series and classic Who.
ANTHONY He's really conveying the idea of an old man in a young man's body.
TIM New blood is always good for the series.

Matt Smith as the new Doctor.

Do you have a favorite Doctor?
ANTHONY I like to say my favorite Doctor is the one I'm watching currently!
[Anthony Burdge is an editor of the book The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who, which is available through Kitsune Books,]

2. Jody Harkavy

How do you feel about these types of fan events?
I think they shold be done more often! It's nice to get these out of the conventions and into new places. If they want to make the show as mainstream as possible, they need to create this kind of publicity. Doctor Who isn't just science fiction, it crosses so many lines and can appeal to so many people. Get it out there!

3. Jared and Matt

You said you've only been a fan of Doctor Who for a short while. What brought you to this event?
JARED It's a fresh start, a chance to get into the new season. Plus, I can see the Doctor in person, which is cool. I figured it'd be a good way to get things going.
MATT I'm really looking forward to hearing the Q&A with Matt Smith. I don't think I'll be asking any questions, but it'll be interesting to hear what some of the more experienced fans ask him.
JARED Plus, our cable provider in New Jersey doesn't carry BBC America.

What took you so long to get into Doctor Who?
JARED I caught some of the shows on PBS when I was younger, but I just never really had a chance to watch it.
MATT I had a misconception that it was cheesy science fiction with bad makeup and costumes. Then I started watching it and realized it was great. Now I'm a fan.

4. Chris

You said you've been a fan since the mid Seventies. How does Matt Smith hold up as the new Doctor?
Let's put it this way: "Tennant who?"

That good, huh?
Every actor brings something new and special to the Doctor. I loved Tennant, but I think Smith is even better. Tennant thought the Doctor was crazy, but Smith knows he is.

What do you think of this screening event?
It's great, there needs to be more of them. There's a huge fanbase out there, people who love the show, who're willing to spend $25 on action figures, who will go to these types of events. You couldn't have pulled this off in the Seventies.

5. Su Walenta and James Ottaviano

You seem to be having fun! 
SU Of course! I live nearby, this is practically my front yard. I'm a Doctor Who fan from way back, before most Americans knew what the show was, and if the Doctor is coming to my front yard, I'm going to meet him!

How did you become a fan so early on?
SU My ex-husband was British and I discovered the show living in the U.K.

What do you think about the way the fan community has grown with the new series?
SU I'm a little torn. I love seeing all this enthusiasm, and it means the show will continue to air for a long time. It's great seeing so many younger people getting into Doctor Who. But I miss it being a smaller, more tightly-knit community sometimes -- it was like a secret we all shared. But overall, it's wonderful!

I see you have a pretty impressive sonic screwdriver from the Tom Baker years. Where'd you get it?
SU My sweetie made it for me!

You must be Su's sweetie. Tell me about the sonic screwdriver.
JAMES About a year ago, Su took me to a party where I met a friend of her's who was into Doctor Who. That was my first exposure. Then, about four months ago, I saw the Doctor Who Christmas episode online. Su asked me to download more episodes, and I got to really know the series. I'm a machinist, and Su asked if I could make the Tom Baker sonic screwdriver. It didn't look too tough, so I found as many photos as I could and built it.

They're great!
JAMES It's all machined metal. I'm finishing one from David Tennant's Doctor, too. It'll have all the glass and lights when I'm done. It's been fun -- I feel like I get to be part of the adventure.
[For more information on James Ottaviano's hand-made sonic screwdrivers, check out]

A fan named Ryan models the Tennant-era sonic screwdriver.

Crowds on line!

Where the magic happened.


  1. Indeed, you are there. You were there. So how was it?

  2. pretty rad, posted something on my own blog:

  3. Very cool. I'm supremely jealous.

  4. Thanks for the interviews Doc, I'm really looking forward to the start of the new season. I was a big fan of Tennant and hope it doesn't disappoint. See ya in a month!

  5. Sounds like it's going to be a great season; everyone had good things to say about Smith, so I've got high hopes. See you at Botstock!


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