Series 2: Shoot Day's 13 & 14

Series 2: Shoot Day 13 & 14 6th & 7th August, Location; Gloworks Studio, Cardiff Bay

From working with raging demons, to a whole new challenge: Possibly the busiest two days of

filming on series two of Whovians. Last year, thanks to the cast, crew, plus a small band of extras, we

managed to get away with filming our very own fake comic con. This time, we’re doing it again, only

bigger, better, and with added Dalek. For series one, the comic con was used for Liam (Andrew

Machin)’s episode, Geek in Silver, awkwardly and squirm-inducingly highlighting how different Liam

and his father, Lloyd (Scott Dolan) are. Series two, the comic con is being used to showcase all the

curious, insane situations the Whovians cast and crew found themselves in when attending

conventions.

We started early on the Saturday. Not out of choice (I reckon I speak for everyone on Whovians

when I say we all like our lie-ins!): Ben Wilson – who plays Andrew – celebrated his birthday a few

days ago and was given surprise tickets to a festival, meaning he had to have all his scenes filmed

and be up-and- out-of- here by 13:00 at the latest. So, off we went, filming the important, heart-to-

heart scene between Andrew and Bradley (Rob D. Mealins) before the cosplayers arrived. And

arrive, they did. To name a few, we had Black Widow (Nicole Stanbridge), Umbrella Corp soldiers

with their own guns, armour, and even pyrotechnics in the boot of their car (Umbrella Corp

Swansea), Barf from Spaceballs (John Wheeler), and Ash from Evil Dead (Ainsleigh Barber, who stepped in right at the last minute to help us out).

There have been some odd, surreal moments whilst filming Whovians, but today has to be up there

with the most insane: Rhys Jones (writer/director/exec producer/Stanley Kubrick-wanna be)

directing a Dalek. When Rhys and I wrote this episode, Rhys came up with a scene involving Terry

Nation’s icon. It was left in the script, call outs and advertisements sent out, but no one on Whovians

expected it to happen. This was until Glyn Williams messaged back saying that he has his own Dalek

and is more than happy to let us use it. The Whovians production team Facebook group very nearly

broke.

So, there we are, Dalek on set, with Rhys yelling instructions like, “Move eye stalk!”, “Extend

plunger!”, “Move ray gun!” So spot on and accurate is Glyn’s Dalek that, in a scene filmed right

outside the BBC’s Roath Lock, the security guard at the studios came out to check we hadn’t broke in

and pilfered it.

We had numerous guest actors on the day: Stephen Lurvey, as legendary monster actor and drama lovey Ian Charles Stuart, and Jes Hynes as comic book artist, and all-round sleaze, Frank Gibbons. Both are totally different, larger than life characters; Jes and Stephen giving everything to make sure that,

once you see Frank and Ian, you’re unlikely to forget them any time soon. Both crew and extras were

sniggering between takes.

Another guest star and massive supporter of Whovians: Carwyn John. Mastermind of Margam

Castle’s Heroes and Legends convention, Carwyn was asked to play a version of himself at our fake

con, overseeing things, hosting our cosplay competition, and trying and failing to keep Bradley in

check.

There’s that saying in life, and I’m paraphrasing: “It’s the things in life you never think about, which

creep up on you.” It’s annoyingly true, and with today’s filming that’s exactly what happened when

one of our crew collapsed and got sent off to hospital in an ambulance. Thankfully, they’re okay

(sorry to panic you!) and are making a steady recovery, but it sure puts the wind up you when a crew

member is stood up one minute, then on the floor, in-and- out of consciousness the next.

This proves what a dedicated team we have on Whovians: It wasn’t funny at the time, but while I

was in the ambulance with them, said crew member gripped my hand and made me swear not to

stop today’s filming (it was very much like something straight out of a war film). This is while that

person is in a massive amount of pain. It’s safe to say that cast and crew go that extra distance on

Whovians. They’re like Olympic gold medallists, digging deep to be the first to that finish line.

Saturday’s shoot was exhausting and tough at times, with some of our extras being there for over

eight hours. Thank you to everyone, cast, crew, and extras alike, who stuck with us, making sure we

got everything we needed. From being hours behind schedule, we managed to pull it back so we

only overran by an hour-and- a-half. That’s down to everyone who was there on the day.

Sunday, usually a day of rest, but not when you’re part of Whovians. After a well over eleven hour

shoot yesterday, we cracked on with the remainder of the scenes for episode one’s fake Comic Con,

starting off in a gent’s loo. This scene involved our Bradley (Rob D. Mealins), plus Aidan Artymiuk and

is based on an experience Rob had when he was recognised while at the loo. We’ve embellished

somewhat, so what we have is an odd, borderline bizarre couple of minutes thanks to Rob and Aidan

who, laughs-wise, bounced off each other. Hats off to Aidan for travelling the furthest distance of

any cast member, coming all the way from Glasgow to film his scene!

Some pearls of wisdom to any aspiring low/zero budget filmmaker: If you’re filming in a toilet, don’t

be there for long. Two actors, director, sound, plus a guy on clapper and you’ve got yourself a mini

heatwave in a very tiny space. On the plus side, it’s great for sound, with heaps of reverb for your

dialogue. Swings and roundabouts!

Far from being scared off by yesterday’s drama and long hours, Nicole Stanbridge, John Wheeler,

Umbrella Corp Swansea, and Rebecca Ashley Meyrick all returned to get their cosplay on. Also

returning was a familiar face from the first series, Judge Pal. He’s a friendly, chatty chappie, but you

wouldn’t know it from the spot on costume and practised grimace. Another extra from series one;

Deadstar Publishing, who binned off their Sunday and brought along their own stall, comics, and

merchandise (Deadstar Publishing definitely don’t do predictable. Case in point: One of their books is

about a group of ass-kicking, superhero dolphins).

We had some new faces amongst our extras today, including Martin Ford (technically not new; he

ditched his ravenous demon impression for his best fez-wearing Eleventh Doctor), and Superhero

Patrol. No word of a lie, Superhero Patrol were wonderfully bonkers. One minute, there’s Deadpool,

half-an- hour later, Darth Vader marches in, complete with creepy breathing effects. Minutes go by

and in walks Captain America with Spider-Man by his side. You can tell they love what they do; the

detail in their costumes is film studio standard and they were great around our VIP guest stars:

Megan and Ieuan Lloyd, Rhys’ niece and nephew.

Megan appeared last year in episode five as the girl who loses her balloon up a tree, enlisting

Bradley and the Doctor’s (AJ King) help. Megan returned once more, alongside her brother in his

onscreen debut. Some parents, when coming up with costumes, cut up a pair of curtains and, there

you go, it’s He-Man. Megan was a Dalek, complete with whisk, plunger, and mini torches for eyes,

while Ieuan was Falcon, with wings, goggles; the whole outfit. A ton of effort went into their costumes

and they looked great, Ieuan delivering his dialogue in one take. Ieuan was near enough buzzing, getting

to meet Superhero Patrol’s Spider-Man (AJ Morrissey), who spent ages chatting with him.

Sunday was a much calmer shoot, with a lot less drama. Cast and crew were all shattered towards

the end, having done some long hours over two days (particularly Rob D. Mealins who, if he messed

up a line, or if a shot wasn’t quite right, went straight back into doing another take), but we did it,

we wrapped. The biggest chunk of filming in one weekend is in the can, and that is down to the cast,

crew, and extras all chipping in and being above-and- beyond committed and professional.

Thank you to everyone who gave up their time that weekend. Having seen the raw footage, it has

been more than worth it. The first episode of series two is going to produce plenty of laughs, along

with some awkward, shuffle in your seat moments.

Matt

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