Invasion 2007

Invasion VII took place on March 17th 2007. This was a Doctor Who Convention and I was there, courtesy of the organisers, to spend the day with The Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, and see just what a convention like this entails and what is involved for the actors who take part.

This event was sold out so if you're thinking of booking for any future 10th Planet events then book early! Click on the link for more information on Invasion and to see what else these guys organise.

The whole event ran very smoothly and I was impressed with the friendliness of the staff, the actors and the fans alike. It was very well organised and the only slight downside to me was that the venue was a school rather than an hotel - however it didn't detract from the experience in any way and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.

I have focused on Paul's day, but many of the actors had 'coffee lounge' events and there were various stage appearances by other actors as well as dealer rooms where you could buy just about any Doctor Who product it seemed - a lot of which appeared in people's photographs!

Paul's first event of the day was the coffee lounge. Eleven people had purchased a ticket to spend an hour talking to him. It was very informal and gave them a chance to ask questions on any subject.

When we arrived, everyone was seated and waiting. Paul took a seat, said hello to everyone and asked "What are we going to talk about?"

 No-one was very forth-coming with their questions so Paul commented that it was like his first day at school and told everyone a little about his secondary school. He was munching away on blueberries whilst he talked and someone asked if he ate a lot of fruit - the conversation then changed on to food and Paul talked about someone he'd once met whose job was to collect up bad eggs and went on to explain how they end up in our food chain!

From then on the conversation flowed more smoothly as people relaxed, coffee and biscuits were handed round and a wide range of topics were discussed. Paul talked about his love of the theatre and how he enjoys it very much but has a problem with remembering lines and has sufferred from episodes of stage fright in the past. He is currently filming 'True Dare Kiss' in Manchester so talked a little about that, the Manchester weather and the state of the televison industry with the advent of multi-channels. He spoke very highly of Sylvester McCoy and said he'd seen him in a play, 'The Warp' that Sylvester had been doing at the Everyman in Liverpool when Paul was 17 years old. After watching him he'd thought "they get paid for doing this?!" Within a few months he and his brothers had joined the Youth Theatre group at the Everyman. He stayed on the subject of McCoy to tell a tale of when they'd been in Vancouver and had been out drinking. On their way back to the hotel, they had the misfortune to meet up with a group who were obviously spoiling for a fight. Sylvester McCoy suddenly produced some spoons and started to play them - on himself and then on the main protagonist. This diffused the situation nicely and the guys started asking where they were from etc - Paul commented that, unlike McCoy, he doesn't have the charm to pull off a stunt like that!

He then briefly went on to discuss certain aspects of his career - that no actor goes in to a job thinking it's going to be bad, but that the longer you go on for, you end up doing something that turns out to not be as it was portrayed for one reason or another. Someone then asked Paul how much time he had wasted on Alien 3, as most of his scenes ended

up on the cutting room floor. Paul explained that he doesn't see it as wasted - to work on a film such as that, and on Empire of The Sun where his part also ended up being cut quite a bit, was excellent in terms of knowledge gained. As he rarely watches his own work it doesn't matter to him whether he's in the finished product!

The session finished with everyone being able to get autographs and photographs before they left.

10.45am ~ Photography Studio

After a brief respite in the green room it was time for the photography studio - Paul was ushered (along with Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Trevor Martin) to the main photo shoot. Here, fans could have their photo taken with all four doctors.

This was a great opportunity for the fans and many of them took it. As they appeared in the room, they all approached it very differently though - some were very nervous and hardly uttered a word, others had lots to say. Some came with props they had bought in the trading rooms, some arrived in full Doctor Who costume and there were fans that were adamant they were going to stand next to their favourite Doctor. All were warmly greeted by the Doctors - in fact one very nervous fan was greeted by the comment "Trust us, we're Doctors!" this was a very good humoured part of the day and was enjoyed by actors and fans alike. The first 50 could also collect their photos after lunch to have them signed in the afternoon. Finally the queue ws closed and there was just one last photo for 10th Planet, each actor had their photo taken on their own (these were then printed and given to them later in the day) and there was another brief interval before the stage talks.

On Stage Talks ~ 12.00pm

After a 10 minute break the Doctors were back, this time on stage and interviewed by Steve Hatcher.

(L to R) Paul, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Trevor Martin

The stage talks were incredibly interesting. All four actors talked about their roles in Doctor Who as well as various aspects of their career. Trevor Martin talked about his experiences playing the Doctor in the 1974 stage play. Peter Davison and Colin Baker had a lot of stories to tell with jokes scattered in along the way and were well worth watching!

Paul commented that Doctor Who moves with the times. He didn't know why they'd asked him to play the part initially, but then started to see the possibilities in the role. His main thoughts on being offered it though were of his family. His boys were only young and the contract was possibly for 6 years, which would have meant relocating to Canada.

He discussed the Doctor Who audios and said he really enjoys doing them and there may be more. When his son was mentioned (Jake played the role of Ganymede in Immortal Beloved) Paul said he'd got involved because he'd gone with Paul to do work experience at the BBC and ended up in the audio! Paul also talked about his heroes (Sylvester McCoy, James Fox, James Mason and Bill Hartnell were all mentined), 'True Dare Kiss' and Gypo.

Questions were then opened up to the audience. During this section, Steve Hatcher suggested the 8th Doctor should reappear in the new series which earned a huge round of applause - Paul was then asked if he would have appeared in the new series if he'd been asked and was again applauded for answering yes! Time ran out before the questions did and the actors left for a well deserved lunch break.

On Stage Talks ~ 2.00pm

Their second on stage talk was led by Charlie Ross (Big Finish and stand-up comedian). It took the same sort of format as the first talk and a lot of the same things were discussed, but it was a different audience, so no problems there!

One of the first questions Charlie asked was "which is your least favourite question?". Paul's reply - "Was that a wig?"! So, at least that one never came up later in the autograph sessions! He talked more about 'True, Dare, Kiss' in which he plays a 'randy carpenter with a penchance for sisters'! Sounds like it'll be an interesting drama.... He was asked if he preferred TV or theatre and said that he has issues with remembering lines, so TV is better in that respect, but the social and rehearsal aspects of theatre are very enjoyable to him. As they were all discussing times they had forgotten lines, or actors they knew who had, Paul did suggest that if song words were forgotten you could always blame it on the microphone not working - he then demonstrated just how to do

that! The discussion went on to music - Paul plays drums, piano and guitar and has quite diverse listening tastes, from opera to jamaican reggae, 60's music and 90's dance music.

Questions were then opened up to the audience once again.

The first person asked "If any of your careers took a nosedive, would you consider doing Celebrity Big Brother?" Paul became very animated at this point and insisted he would do BB one day and that he would win it. He is determined to get in to the house, so watch this space! They then discussed Celebrity Fame Academy (Paul would be Paul Robinson) and joked about making a band called 'The Four Doctors'. Charlie suggested Paul could be lead singer as he is good looking and edgy, however Paul felt he would be better suited as a drummer, the 'Ringo' of the group. He then regaled the audience with some drummer jokes before the second session concluded.

Autograph Sessions ~ 3.15pm

Paul messing around (right) before smiling nicely and posing with Sheldon (Doctor Who Online) for the camera! (below)

Signing Doctor Who memorabilia - the queue outside the window isn't getting any shorter!

This final event of the day was a chance for the fans to get autographs, and in some cases photographs, of the Doctors.

The queue was pretty long outside the room Paul had been allocated by the time he arrived. The signing started and the fans arrived with books, audios, photographs (taken earlier in the day or at other events - in some cases from films that Paul had been in other than Doctor Who), posters, Doctor Who cards

and some Withnail and I memorabilia too.

Most had a couple of things they wanted signing along with questions they wanted to ask, photos to take or just a hand shake. The session went on without the scheduled break as the queue didn't appear to be shortening and it was gone 5.30 by the time everyone had left.

The final signing of the day and Paul's still smiling!

Thank You.....

To Paul and Derek from 10th Planet for letting me attend and to Sheldon for letting me use his pictures (which were much better than mine!)

[Home] [Joe] [Paul] [Theatre] [Film] [Television] [Music] [Audios] [Dr Who] [Withnail and I] [Photographs] [Bristol Silents] [Mark] [Stephen] [Coming Up] [Latest News] [Contact]