Doctor Who Thank Yous and Flag-Waving

Before I post my review of Asylum of the Daleks, I want to take a moment to get flag-wavy and thank some people who deserve more than I can give them: just a thank you on a blog.





First off, a big, big thank you to Mark Askwith, the hard working interns and staff of the SPACE Channel, and the hosts of InnerSPACE (Teddy, Ajay and Cynthia) for organizing the Asylum of the Daleks prescreening event that I got to attend in Toronto last weekend.

I am extremely lucky that Mark and the SPACE team count me among the mega-fans and the knowledgeable commentators who deserve to see various shows in advance. I love receiving my press packages (even if they sometimes include bloody severed thumbs) and I am pleased that they respect and value my reviews and opinions enough to invite me to prescreen their new shows and episodes.

I count myself lucky every time Mark asks me to do some on-camera for him, because it means that I get to share my thoughts with fans all across Canada, and all across the world. It means that he and SPACE value my thoughts and opinions enough to share them, and that is humbling and an honour.

The pre-screening for Asylum of the Daleks was done the Saturday night of Fan Expo, at the Bell Lightbox theatre. The review screening was really neat because we had a private theatre to ourselves (eighty lucky fans, some press, and the SPACE team). The popcorn SPACE provided was tasty, and being able to watch the live stream of the New York City pre-screening Q&A with Matt Smith and Karen Gillian was a real treat.  When the host asked if there were any questions, everyone in Toronto shot up a hand, even though he couldn’t see us.

I especially loved that Steven Moffat himself sent a special video plea to the fans to keep The Secret that the episode we watched had just revealed. The upshot of the message was that if you’re a real fan, you will let other fans enjoy the startlement and joy of learning The Secret via the episode, just as we have. And the man is right, right, right.

And then he started fanboying his own show, which was completely adorable and honestly, very moving. If the creator feels passionately about the show, passionate enough to gush, then how can we, the fans, do anything less than keep The Secret, too? (Sue Vertue, your husband is ridiculously adorkable. You are a lucky lady.)

So those of you looking to scour this post for spoilers? Ain’t happening. I’m not ruining The Secret for you. I want you to experience the “ah-ha!” moment that I did.

Folks, you may not know it, but a lot of hard work goes into negotiations, discussions, marketing, set up, delivering the episode, and the anti-piracy efforts when SPACE puts on an event like this. The BBC is rightfully very protective of its star property, and it is always a lot of work (not in a bad way, just a lot!) to get a special treat like this to come together. I think every Canadian Doctor Who fan should thank the people involved with this from both the BBC and SPACE for everything they do. Because they work their asses off to gift you with this.

If you really love Doctor Who and you are a real fan, please, please watch the show when it airs on SPACE/the BBC/BBC America/BBC Australia/your local channel and don’t pirate it, don’t download it, don’t spoil it, and don’t leak it.

My fellow Canadians: The more eyeballs that watch the show when it airs and the more support we give SPACE, and Doctor Who on SPACE = the more chances we the Canadian fans will get to have galas, Q&As, specials, extras, and events. If there’s enough support, enough ratings, and enough letters, it’s possible that SPACE might even be able to run events in cities outside of Toronto, and that would be so cool.

Basically, the more you show you love the show by supporting SPACE, the more treats the BBC may let SPACE share with Canadian fans.

Secondly, I want to thank Steven Moffat and the producers, heads, creatives, directors, and everyone at the BBC for sharing Doctor Who with us. We Canadians love the show, we genuinely do, and being able to have it air on television in Canada is a thrill for us (especially since Sydney Newman was a Canadian bloke!) I can’t wait until you film an episode here, and I always love every episode, no matter how academic I might get about it. I know it’s a lot of hard work on your end, too, and a lot of worry; a lot of long hours on sets and in front of scripts, at computers and behind cameras. I want you to know I appreciate it, and I appreciate the chance to be included in the history-as-it-happens of such an incredible, record-and-boundary breaking programme.

Thirdly, can I just say that the cast and crew of Doctor Who are seriously a class act? I am impressed with every Children in Need short I see, every charity event, every interview and appearance on chat shows. This series’ principals are really impressing me. Matt, Karen and Arthur go so far above and beyond what is expected of them as contracted actors. They are kind and interactive with their fans – they come out to parties that people never expect them to actually attend, they do way more appearances than probably allows them to get enough sleep… it’s just incredible. Like personally handing out donuts to fans who have been standing in line for hours for a premiere. Or working extra time at the Proms and being so interactive with the kids in the audience. Or showing up at Who parties at Comic Con, just for the fun of it. Or doing celebrity bowl-offs. Or recording tracks as “Karen and the Babes”.

And Moffat? Wow, sending private video messages around to screenings to beg people to keep The Secret, or doing Skype interviews with SPACE, or interacting with folks on Tumblr and Twitter…

My fellow fans, you realize that they don’t have to, right? That there’s nothing in their contract that states that they owe us anything more than to show up on set, create the show, and go home at the end of the day? That this – what they do, what they give us – is above, and beyond, and probably emotionally and physically exhausting for them and yet they do it anyway because they love Doctor Who, too?

The creators are fans, just like us. They grew up on Doctor Who, just like us. The show means as much to them as it does to us. And that is phenomenal. That is incredible. And we are damn lucky.

Because what other show has the people who used to hide behind the sofa from the baddies now rolling around in the carapaces of the baddies? What other show has allowed a ten year old Scottish boy to say, “I’m going to play the lead character one day”, and then do it? What other show has a young boy, a young girl, a young writer-waiting-to-happen watched with awe, and then grown up to write on? And more than one writer, too?

As Tom Baker once said, Doctor Who as the best fans in the world. And the most amazing part? After fifty years, those fans are now the ones making it.

BBC: Bring it on. We’re with you, and we love it every bit as much as you do. You go, guys!

SPACE: Keep it coming. We’ll be at every party, every event, every screening, and we will support you.

Fans: wave your banner, be respectful of the creators and fellow fans, and support your show by watching it as it airs on your local station (or buying it on iTunes or as DVDs) instead of pirating it.  If you love it, spend money and your viewing time on it, so they can keep making it.

Everyone: Let’s be awesome! And let’s show the universe how we’re all Bigger On The Inside.

My review of Asylum of the Daleks will go active on SUNDAY MORNING to avoid spoiling anything.

JM FreyDoctor Who Thank Yous and Flag-Waving