Thursday, 1 October 2015

Interviews Interviewing The Whovians by DJ Forrest

Interviewing The Whovians by DJ Forrest

If someone called you a Whovian, it wasn’t because you had a passion for upright vacuum cleaners, it would be for your love of Doctor Who, and everything within it. 
Recently, I had the opportunity of interviewing Rhys Jones, director and executive producer of a new web series The Whovians tv.  

Hi Rhys, can you tell me more about The Whovians.  Is it a fly on the wall documentary or a fictional series?

Rhys: It’s a fictional drama set in the real world, not a fly on the wall/reality TV, but hyper reality.  The Series is about four friends living in Cardiff, they became friends because they are all Whovians.  It’s a series about 20/30 something’s and all that can happen in life, their loves and losses, surrounded by fandom.  The Episodes are set at Comic Con, queuing for a book signing, partying before the finale and many more.

How long are the episodes and are they weekly or daily?

Rhys: Web series, can be completely open to time and release but ours are 20 minute episodes and we will be releasing each episode weekly, starting at the halfway mark of Series 9 of Who on October 31st.

Will there be a second series?

Rhys: It all depends on how the first is received, but ideas/plots are floating around. 

The Whovians - was this an idea that you and Craig Handley came up with together? How did you two meet, were you friends before the project?

Rhys: Craig came on board just as we were about to start shooting - we met from us posting an advert looking for crew. We instantly clicked and he has proven to be an Epic member of our team and to be honest an all round legend. Showing passion and love for our little show from day one.

The original idea was to make a short film based on an idea I had back in 2005, I was walking through Cardiff August 05 and came across the BBC filming the Christmas Invasion. What caught my eye were people camped out behind the barrier – sat on deck chairs, flasks, note books and cameras. All known by name to the security and the friendliest of people you could hope to meet, so passionate and full of character. So I wanted to make a short film about these fans and fandom.

Jump a ‘few’ years later – I had two friends who are incredible writers, Terrance Edwards I knew from School and Matthew Ford from University. I sat them in a room and introduced them and the web series was born, Episode 1 became a version of the original short film idea. While Terrance and Matthew became co-Executive Producers with myself.

Joining the interview I also had the opportunity of speaking to three of the cast, Victoria George-Veale, Ben Wilson and Matthew Doman. 

Hi Victoria, thanks so much for the interview, it means such a lot.  You have appeared in two Doctor Who episodes, Robot of Sherwood and Mummy on the Orient Express, which was an awesome episode and a bit creepy, who were you in the episodes?

Victoria: The characters I have played in Doctor Who are the maid in the Mummy on the Orient Express (you can spot her walking along the train carriage in the opening). I thoroughly enjoyed filming this particular episode - the set was wonderful! In the Robot of Sherwood I play the sexy peasant, the merry men's lady.

You play Steph in the web series, how different is it playing a 'fan' of Doctor Who, after appearing in two actual episodes of the series, and what is the background of your character Steph?

Victoria: Playing the role of Steph in Whovians is a great way of really expressing my interest in the Doctor Who series. The fact that there are just SO many DOCTOR WHO fans, especially in Wales, who are truly head over heels about the series, and the programme means so much to them, it's an honour to play one of them!

There have been many hours of shooting Whovians (I remember one particular weekend where we filmed the entire Episode 1 and the whole of Episode 6 alongside a scene from Episode 2 over just 2 days!). It was a lot of fun as we all have many jokes and laughs together, both on and off set.  I think it's safe to say that we all felt very proud when that particular weekend had been wrapped!

As you've worked on WHO and played a fan of Who, how big a fan are you of Who?

Victoria: As regards to being a fan of WHO myself - I have always been interested and intrigued by the different plots and twists/turns towards the end of episodes. The bond and connection between the Doctor and Companion is always such a warm and heartfelt aspect of the programme. It brings a sense of security to a very much horror filled series!

Who was your first Doctor, and what are your earliest memories of the series?

Victoria: I'm not entirely sure on the sector who was my first Doctor but I do remember the first Doctor of my generation who I REALLY enjoyed watching every week....that's David Tennant. All of the Doctors are fantastic and certainly place their own unique stamp on the character, however, since watching David's first performance as the Doctor, he completely captured my attention and I honestly felt "safe" with him (as a public viewer/fan of course!).

I viewed a drama a few months ago which was based on how the programme of Doctor Who began. It was extremely interesting!

Which monster scared you the most?

Victoria: As far as monsters go - I have to say that the scariest moment for me was actually when I walked back onto set for the Mummy on the Orient Express and wasn't aware of the Mummy standing onset right next to me on my right. The set was quite narrow and confined so there wasn't a lot of space to move around in, so when I walked onto set and suddenly saw the Mummy to my right a few inches away from me.....I actually screamed out loud and a few crew members laughed!!! I don't think I'll ever forget that moment!

When I first heard mention of Ben Wilson and saw his profile photo, I was certain I’d seen him before, and so when I read his profile details, I just had to know which episode of Torchwood he had appeared in. 

Ben:  I was an extra for series 1, episode 8 "They Keep Killing Suzie". It was shot in June/July of 2006 so almost a decade ago now (yes it's been a while haha). It was a nightclub scene shot in Church Street in Cardiff City Centre and involved the Torchwood team searching the club for a character called Max. I was one of the *ahem* ravers although I don't think I made the final cut sadly. It was a long, humid, sweaty 10 hour shoot with smoke machines going off constantly. I recall it being one of our better Welsh summers at the time so understandably, the heat was unbearable a few hours in and there were a lot of grouchy extras come the evening. Still it was a fun experience and I remember being the only extra who recognised that the actor who played Max (He's simply listed as Shend on the wiki) was in Red Dwarf VIII... I think he was touched I knew such a dorky fact.

How big a fan are you of Who?

Ben: I'm probably one of the black sheep of the cast in that I'm not a hardcore Whovian in reality. That is not to say I don't have immense respect for its legacy and fan base. I get it, totally I do. I'm a huge Batman & DC Universe geek so I understand the love for and passion people have for something such as this.

What are your earliest memories of Doctor Who?

Ben: My earliest memory has to be of Sylvester McCoy as he would have been 'My Doctor' due to my age. I've been watching old school Who on and off on the Horror Channel the past few months with a housemate and would have to say I love John Pertwee. His Kung Fu mastery is a wonderful thing to behold.

What was your scariest moment of the series?

Ben: Scariest moment? Peter Davison regenerating into a very greasy looking Colin Baker... Yes I went there!

Hi Matthew, thanks for the interview.  You're playing a character who is a fan of Doctor Who in the web series, but you've played monsters or a monster in Doctor Who the series, which monster was it, and how long can the prosthetics take to put together, how long are you in the make up chair for?

Matthew: Hello DJ, you're welcome, thanks for asking.  Well, I've been on Doctor Who since David Tennant's first series where I did the Cybermen. Since then I've done about 30 or 40 monsters I think... that includes Live performances (3 Proms, road shows and promo events). I also helped launch the world tour in Cardiff and London and was interviewed on the BBC World Wide production Doctor Who World Conquest and have just finished work on the new series.

The longest prosthetic was for the Whispered, which was 4hrs.... Those were VERY long days!!! Ha ha ha

The character you play in The Whovians, is he a fan of monsters and aliens or is he a fan of the Doctor's or Doctor Who as a whole? Can you tell me more about his background, without giving too much away?

Matthew: My character is very.... Very…. I'd say his greatest love is the Doctor Who Universe as a whole rather than a particular individual or feature. He is very convinced though.

As you've worked on WHO and played a fan of Who, how big a fan are You of Who?

Matthew:  Well when I first started working on Who I wasn't a fan, because the last episode I remember was the special weapons DALEK one in the 80's! Since working on it though I have become a fan and got into it quite a lot. You kind of naturally fall into it when you interact with the fans in conventions as they love it so much.

Which monster scared you the most?

Matthew: Monsters which scared me the most? Well I never was THAT scared of monsters, I always felt a certain affinity with them. Perhaps I always knew that I was going to play them!!!

Thank you to Rhys Jones, Victoria George-Veale, Ben Wilson and Matthew Doman.  Also special thanks to Craig Handley, camera operator on The Whovians and Justin Walters.

So there you have it.  Don’t forget to watch the first instalment on 31st October!

Photographs/stills courtesy of Whovians TV/Rhys Jones

 Doctor Who stills property of ©BBC Doctor Who 1963

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