Block 2, Episode 4 - Glo Works, Cardiff bay, 8am - 6pm
We've had a couple of big shoots throughout the production so far but this has been one of the major ones.
Episode 4 is mostly set within a comic con. So, what do you do if you can't get to one to film in situ? You fake it. The con is on, indeed.
We have to give huge thanks to Gorilla Media and the GloWorks building in Cardiff Bay who have been supporters of our project from the very beginning and who allowed us to use their location as our convention centre.
One scene was set in a market hall, and so required a lot of props. I packed up my entire Doctor Who DVD collection (classic and new) and another box of associated props and T-shirts which were used in the background of one shot, and Matt brought down a lot of props to use in another. We were also very lucky to have Deadstar Publishing who came along and set up their stall in the background to really sell the market hall, so a huge thank you to them for that.
So we had the props. Next we needed the attendees. We had a wide variety of background artists and some amazing cosplays- we had anime and video game characters, comic book heroes and villains, denizens of Middle Earth and even a Time Lord- so a huge thank you to our background artists: Zoe, Tony, Isabelle, Alaska, Kevin, Sarah, Claudia, Freya, Rosa, Carwyn, Connor, Philip, Dionne, Tyron, Alveena, Sasha, Summer-Rose, Dominique and David.
A special mention must go to executive producer and episode writer Matt for making a cameo as Superman.
Episode 4 is heavily focused around Liam and his relationship with his family. Liam is attending the con and he's got a very special costume. We want to keep this under wraps until the episode airs, but to give you some idea, this is our director's reaction when he saw Andrew in costume for the first time:
For all the humour in the episode (and there is a lot), it's also a deeply emotional and at times very poignant story and Andrew managed to convey all that even in a slightly ridiculous costume. During one take, I had to excuse myself as I found myself becoming very emotional.
Shooting his first scenes for Whovians was Scott Dolan, who is playing Liam's dad Lloyd. Lloyd is a very different character to Liam and the father-son relationship between Andrew and Scott was really good to see and it will be great to see this relationship develop over the other shoots.
Another member of the guest cast was Hannah Celyn Griffiths, who is playing Jen, another con attendee who meets Liam there. Hannah was just brilliant throughout the day and is responsible for one of my favourite moments of the day- a very simple two word line that just made me grin. She was also excellent in the more serious scenes. It was a wrap for Hannah as cast at the end of the day, but she will continue to work on the series as part of the team.
We started with the bigger shoots that required most background actors and then pared down to more intimate scenes requiring less cast and crew as the day went on, with the final scene shot being between Andrew and Hannah in a corridor. Who would have thought the final shot of the Episode 4 shoot would be of a door handle?
It was a long and tiring day with a lot to organise and manage. However, we weren't quite finished. We also needed to sneak in a very short scene for Episode 3 involving Ben's character Andrew and his workmate- Matt wasn't the only executive producer making a cameo that day...
We must sound like a broken record, but there aren't words to express how much we appreciate the hard work, effort and patience that our cast and crew put in, especially on large shoots like this. We do want to give a special vote of thanks to Ellen Thomas, who plays Olivia in Episode 2, for acting as a camera operator throughout the day and also getting some brilliant behind-the-scenes footage.
The two-week shut-down was one day closer, but there was still one more afternoon of shooting to go before the break.