Well, I haven’t been posting much the last couple of days, but that’s only because we’ve been having such a great time! After getting our friend’s passport sorted (he was able to get a new one at the embassy on Friday – whew!), we’ve been enjoying the city! We didn’t have anything in particular planned for Friday, but we ended up going to see the old BBC Television Centre building, which was really cool. It’s a very significant building for many BBC shows including, of course, Doctor Who. The BBC actually sold the building in the recent past and nothing has been done with it yet, but it was still cool to see the outside. A first in all the years I’ve been coming to the UK!
Remember the police box at Earl’s Court that Scott and I went to in September? My friends and I stopped by there on Friday, too! Being Doctor Who fans, everyone was excited to get a picture with it. 🙂 And what was even more cool was the fact that we saw other people taking pictures with it, too! There were at least three other groups taking pictures of it in the 15 minutes or so that we were there. We even asked one pair of guys if they were going to the Doctor Who Celebration as well, but they said they weren’t. Don’t worry though – they were going from the police box to another location in London where some Doctor Who has been filmed, so they were having a great fan experience anyway!
We also spent some time in Covent Garden on Friday. Covent Garden is full of neat, one-off shops (as well as bigger ones, like the Apple Store), restaurants, and of course, street performers. You definitely need to come here when you visit London! Although I’ve been a few times before, it was neat to see it at night and decorated for Christmas. Since I’ve never been there at this time of year before, those were firsts for me!
Shaun had a great suggestion of visiting the big Forbidden Planet store in London, so we did that and it was a lot of fun! I’d been to the one in Dublin before, but the London location was new to me – it’s huge! Tons of merchandise, books, DVDs, and more from all sorts of shows, like Doctor Who (obviously), Buffy, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, and tons more. If you’re into anything even remotely related to those shows, I highly recommend a visit to this shop the next time you’re in London.
What’s that, you say? You want a few pictures? Ask and you shall receive!
It was while we were at Forbidden Planet that I saw something pretty cool. The Doctor Who merchandise section there was totally mobbed – so many people buying so many different things! Based on the fact that a few of them had suitcases, I can assume at least some of them were visiting for the 50th anniversary. Seeing all of them made me realize how far things have come with Doctor Who and reminded me what an important role it’s played in my life. I started watching it on Iowa Public Television when I was about five years old because one of my brothers watched it. I was immediately hooked, but only really knew it as a show on PBS. I didn’t know any other fans (aside from my brother) and just assumed it was something I would watch in reruns forever on my own every Friday (later Saturday) night. It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I found like-minded people, thanks to the magic of the interwebs. This fan group, UNIT, was based in Iowa and was just starting up as an email list, but we quickly started having in-person gatherings 2-3 times a year and they kind of blew my mind. There I was, meeting new people I had previously only known online (not an easy thing to do, considering I was much more of an introvert at the time) and talking about my favorite show! But Doctor Who was just the common thread that brought us together. I built friendships with many of those UNIT members and still talk to some of them today! I went to my first convention with UNIT friends (the first ChicagoTARDIS in 2000) and the rest, as they say, is history. I started going 2-3 conventions each year after that, meeting more and more friends at each one, including people from other countries, which led me to take my first international trip (to the UK, of course) in 2003. That’s when the travel bug bit me! And here I am, 10.5 years on from that first trip, spending time in London for the 50th anniversary of the show I’ve loved for so long, with friends I have met entirely because of Doctor Who. It’s those friends that make trips like this so special and it’s also why Doctor Who will always be so important to me. I’ll still be watching it on the 75th anniversary and even the 100th, if I’m still around in another 50 years. 🙂 Long live the Doctor!
So I suppose you want to know about how the 50th anniversary celebration went, right? Well, stay tuned for my next post to read about it. In a word though, it was…FANTASTIC!