Doctor Who – A Great Success!

Saturday 16th November, saw the culmination of all our hard work to bring together the Dr Who: The Science Behind The Scenes event, and what an event it was! 500 whovians of all shapes and sizes (including a surprisingly hilarious Davros and thoroughly terrifying Scarecrow!) came down to campus for a great day of Doctor Who fun and even a little bit of learning!

The Engage UCLan team spent a frantic Friday beforehand manhandling a fabulous TARDIS (kindly loaned by Adam Bird, son of Janet Bird, Futures Award Project/Course Leader) that was suffering slightly from the effects of 2 years resting in a back garden as a home for compost and dog food! But happily the ministrations of a couple of lovely (if slightly bemused) builders brought it back to life and it spent the day of the event in prize place under the glare of a myriad of flash bulbs.

The TARDIS under going some minor surgery!

The TARDIS under going some minor surgery!

The TARDIS with all of it’s new friends – from the left, Jenny Bennion, a Sontaran (not a baddy), Tania Callagher, a fantastic Dalek that turned up in someone from Fulwood Academy’s car boot (and is available to rent to raise funds for a 3D printer), Stephen Gallagher, the terrifying Scarecrow, Davros, Jo Heaton, Robert Walsh and another member of the Hyde Fundraisers.

Highlights of the day included – well everything really!

Prof Paola Dey kicked off proceedings with a great talk on whether Doctor Who could be considered a modern doctor, and excatly how would he get on in the modern day NHS! One attendee commented that “It was humourous and informative. Great

Dr Andrew Ireland then gave a fantastic talk looking at how the special effects have changed from when Doctor Who first stared in the 1960’s to the modern day, and how this has affected the programme. Andrew is quite obviously a big DW fan (he even did his PhD in Doctor Who!) and that really shone through his lecture – he even brought his wonderful home-made K-9 along, who apparently thoroughly enjoyed his day out too!

We then had the lovely Dr Ian Turner from the University of Derby who arrived dressed as the Matt Smith Doctor and talked us through the Science of Dr Who, including a great fun quiz!

Another highlight was the Q&A Session with Doctor Who screenwriter Stephen Gallagher, who told us all about how he got into writing in the first place and had one of the best answers to the question of ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ I’ve ever heard – it involved crackers and a saucer of milk! He then generously gave even more of his time to signing autographs and having lovely personal chats with a great queue of his fans.

Stephen Gallagher during his Q&A

Stephen Gallagher during his Q&A

The sessions then concluded with Dr Sarita Robinson talking about The Psychology of Doctor Who. The whovians amongst us (now) know that the Doctor has 2 hearts, but Sarita told us all about what might be going on in his head, followed by our amatuer physicist James Davies giving us an overview of whether the Doctor’s time travelling antics were actually possible? Ping Pong balls and Grandfathers were all included here!

Apart from the sessions we also had the brilliant Hyde Fundraisers in attendance. This fantastic group travel around SciFi events dressing as Doctor Who (or other) characters, all to raise money for Children in Need. Not only are their costumes fantastic, but they really stay in character and interact with the audience. A particular favourite was Davros, Lord of the Daleks who when having photos would exclaim “Make sure you get my best side”, “Which side’s that?”, “My dark side”!

Davros having his dark side photographed!

Davros having his dark side photographed!

So to conclude, a day of brilliant Doctor Who fun was had by all. We set up a great dialogue between our academics and the community and managed to inform, educate and engage people along the way. Even if it involved being chased down a corridor by an evil Scarecrow!

See. They're really scary!

See. They’re really scary!

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