Days Out · Films · Life · Theatre Stuff

A lovely weekend.

I know it’s Wednesday and technically a bit late to be talking about the weekend, but my weekend didn’t end until Monday so here I am today.

This weekend I went to London with my mom, my friend Emma and her mum. We met up and spent most of Saturday in theatres, first watching Matilda and then The Audience.

MatildaEmma and I saw Matilda last summer and both fell in love with it instantly. It’s a lovely retelling of the Roald Dahl book, Tim Minchin’s songs are brilliant and the children are all excellent. As we were walking out of the theatre we knew that it was going to be a great show to take our mothers to see – we loved it and surely they would too. Interestingly when the four of us chatted about it over dinner afterwards, neither of them enjoyed it to start with but as the show progressed they did see what we’d seen in it and did really enjoy it.

TheAudienceThe Audience appealed to all four of us, we all have a strong interest in politics and so a play about the Queen’s weekly audiences with the prime minister sounded right up our streets. Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth was excellent, as were the various actors playing prime ministers – there were a couple who seemed like slightly odd casting until we saw them appear and realised how good they were. The play is really interesting, witty and at times most poignant – it exceeded my high expectations.

After a delicious brunch at Brown’s on Sunday we all parted company and I went to visit lovely friends Liz and Mark. Thanks to the very nice weather we had delicious BBQ cooked by Mark, and Liz had baked a very tasty gluten free carrot cake. There was lots of chat about books and writing, and we watched Chronicle and John Carter both of which I really enjoyed. A perfect ending to the weekend.

Days Out · Films · Geek Stuff · Theatre Stuff

A varied weekend.

This weekend was pretty busy, with a cinema trip and two theatre visits, all for completely different things and all utterly brilliant in their own way.

LincolnFor starters came Lincoln. Whilst I enjoy films I have a huge number of gaps in my film knowledge / experiences, so this was my first ever experience of seeing Daniel Day Lewis in a film. I was very, very impressed by him and by the film overall. I hadn’t read much about the film but had seen mentions of “Sorkin-esque moments” – having finished watching The West Wing last week I was thrilled by the similarities between the two, I hadn’t expected the film to focus so strongly on the political machinations of passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The story the film tells is hugely interesting and I was impressed by the way I was still tense and fretting over the vote even when I knew the outcome.

MNGThe middle piece of weekend entertainment was the local pantomime put on by the Monday Night Group. They put on a panto every year and raise thousands of pounds for local community groups. The show was very entertaining, it was a little odd seeing people I’d been at school with and not seen for more than 10 years appearing on stage, but they were all very good. The panto was Jack and the Beanstalk, they put in lots of modern twists and references and had more audience participation than I can remember seeing at any other pantomime. There were plenty of youth groups in the audience meaning the laughs were loud and long – everyone left having had a brilliant time.

RockyHorrorLast but by no means least was a trip into Birmingham to see the 40th anniversary tour of The Rocky Horror Show. I’d seen the film many years ago but never seen the stage show, whilst I was really looking forward to seeing it a small part of me was also wondering what the experience would be like. We didn’t dress up, the combination of it being a matinee (albeit one that started at 5.30pm) and the middle of winter made the idea of costumes unappealing – having now seen the audience and the wide variety of costumes we will definitely give it a go next time, though we will also choose a performance in the summer! The show was brilliant, every member of the cast was excellent, and the audience was an absolute hoot. I had no idea about the level of audience participation – when the whole place joined in with The Usherette singing Science Fiction / Double Feature it was a bit of a surprise, so when they all joined in with the dialogue it was a real surprise. The high level of interactivity meant that it was one of the funniest theatre experiences I’ve ever had.

I think this is one of the most varied weekends I’ve had in quite a while. Next weekend has some range to its plans already but I don’t think it’s going to match this one!

Book Stuff · Days Out

Rowling, Cumberbatch and the great Cheltenham walk out.

On Saturday I spent a lovely afternoon and evening at The Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse listening to two of Cheltenham Literature Festival talks. We began by listening to J.K. Rowling in conversation with James Runcie, and then listened to Benedict Cumberbatch in conversation with Louise Brealey.

J.K. Rowling was there to talk about her new book The Casual Vacancy. Relatively early on in the talk they checked how much of the audience had finished the book that had only been released 10 days before, about 15-20% of us raised our hands so she was careful to not give anything away. She was wonderful to listen to, interesting and inspiring from start to finish. She talked about how she came to write The Casual Vacancy, and the strong theme of morality that runs through it. I am not always a fan of author readings but listening to Rowling read was wonderful, the scene she chose absolutely sprang to life. The Q and As that ended the session were generally well thought out and Rowling’s answers were always full and interesting, she was generous in her advice to the various writers who asked for it, and I think the whole room was excited to hear her say that the next project she expects to complete will be a book for children.

Benedict Cumberbatch was there to talk about Sherlock, and the creative process in bringing the character to the modern screen. I loved that he was interviewed by co-star, and journalist, Louise Brealey – it really did feel like we were listening to two friends chatting. They covered a lot of ground in the time they had, talking about all of Cumberbatch’s recent projects including them not being able to talk about the third series of Sherlock. It was also an opportunity for him to clear up some of the comments that he’s been reported to have made over the summer – about Elementary and his friendship with Jonny Lee Miller, and about “posh bashing”. It was clear that he’s learned more lessons about dealing with the press and sadly will be more guarded in the future. The questions asked by the audience were again generally thoughtful (we’re used to the questions posed by the audiences at conventions that tend to be littered with inanities such as wondering whether the panel would “prefer to fight a horse sized duck or five duck sized horses”) and it was nice that some of them were posed to both Cumberbatch and Brealey. The session was sponsored by the Radio Times, they have the full audio of the panel here.

The one thing about both sessions however that was far from positive in my opinion was the rude behaviour of a proportion of the audience. Both times people got up and started to leave during the session, they were off to join the queue for the signing that came after the talk. Once one person decided they needed to go and get their place that was it and we watched more and more follow suit. It was most distracting to us sitting in the audience, I know that I missed things in both talks because of it, and I can’t begin to imagine how it must have appeared to the people on the stage. James Runcie made a point of telling people that there was no need to leave and start queuing as Rowling was going to be signing for however long it took to make sure everyone who wanted their copy of the book signed was seen yet still they streamed out. The same happened for the second talk, Cumberbatch stayed for a couple hours after signing despite the talk not finishing until gone 10pm.

One of our group who only came to the first session ended up talking about this with someone who had walked out, she was told that lots of people only buy tickets in order to attend the signing part of the event. Now whilst that wouldn’t be my idea of money well spent I can understand that for other people it would be. To me though if people are only buying the ticket for the signing then them going in for the first part of the talk and then walking out is pretty inconsiderate.

I’d love to know what other people think about this, were we wrong to find this rude? Would you get up and walk out of a talk just to get closer to the front of the signing queue?

Days Out · Libraries

Gone camping.

Library Camping that is. Today is the first UK Library Camp

Library Camp 2011 is a place for anyone interested in modernising and transforming libraries of all kinds to ask, connect, consider, converse, convince, create, debate, deliberate, disagree, discover, discuss, dream, enjoy, examine, explore, invent, investigate, laugh, learn, listen, plan, plot, question, reflect, relax, share, talk, teach, theorise, think, wonder …and to eat cake!

Library Camp will run as an “unconference” where participants decide on the programme at the beginning of the event, working on the principle that the sum of the knowledge, experience and expertise of the people in the room is likely to be greater than that of those on the stage at traditional conferences.

My usual preferred sort of camping looks like this

Picture from LowJumpingFrog

The lake is optional, but the campfire and guitar are pretty essential for me. The two couldn’t be more different, and if I’m perfectly honest I’m pretty nervous about today’s sort of camp. There are going to be lots of people I know off Twitter to meet, which is exciting but scary (what if they all expect someone different to me?) and the current suggested sessions sound really interesting but I worry that I’m going to be doing a lot of listening without having much to contribute. I’m sure that once I’m there it’ll all go smoothly and I’ll have a great time, it’s been reassuring to see other attendees tweeting about similar nerves over the last couple of days. However it goes you can be sure I’ll be blogging about it in the next couple of days.

Days Out · Theatre Stuff

Theatre thoughts.

I love going to the theatre. I always have, whilst I’d enjoyed going to see local pantos I think my love affair started when I went to see Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the London Palladium at the age of 8. My parents took me and my brother out of school for a couple of days and took us to London so that me and my mom could go to the theatre and I could see my then idol Jason Donovan in the flesh. I was completely wowed by the whole thing and I’ve been loving the theatre ever since.

It was pointed out to me recently that I’ve been to see some great things at the theatre in recent months and I realised that I haven’t blogged about any of them, so here’s my whistle-stop tour of the good, the bad and the ugly of my theatre trips this summer.

Macbeth – Everyman Theatre, Liverpool.
We booked to see this for the opportunity to see David Morrissey doing some Shakespeare. He did not disappoint, he was commanding and just downright excellent, he sported his beard very well and was very good at emoting the manpain that the role requires. Sadly he was the lone highlight of the show, the rest of the production ranged from being not very good to being dreadful – the three witches in particular were a real disappointment.

Much Ado About Nothing – Wyndham’s Theatre, London.
The casting for this play was announced on the day I moved back to Aberystwyth for the spring semester. The day passed in a flurry of texts, emails and tweets as plans to see it were made, our group ended up being sixteen strong! We all arrived full of anticipation and excitement, but unfortunately left at the end feeling a little underwhelmed. David Tennant as Benedick was fantastic and absolutely stole the show. Catherine Tate as Beatrice however seemed to suffer from some odd directorial decisions which was a real shame. The direction throughout was at times strange, including the addition of a couple of sequences that only acted to confuse the story rather than help it.

The Merchant of Venice – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.
If the first two parts of my summer’s theatre attendance failed to live up to expectations then this completely exceeded them. I studied parts of the play for my GCSE English, but couldn’t remember very much about it so it was like seeing something completely new. We’d seen and loved Rupert Goold’s Romeo and Juliet for the RSC last year so had high hopes for what he would do with this. The decision to move it to a more modern Las Vegas setting was excellent and made for a thoroughly entertaining evening complete with Elvis impersonator! We walked out of the theatre at the end with huge grins on our faces and a real desire to watch it again – we’re keeping everything crossed that the RSC will transfer this to New York in the same way that Romeo and Juliet did, and then there’ll be a rapid scrabbling round for a way to fund the trip!

Pygmalion – Garrick Theatre, London.
This trip was a proper girly weekend, complete with mothers. I was really looking forward to seeing this, I’d seen My Fair Lady on stage a couple of times so I was curious to see how this would compare. The production was excellent, both Rupert Everett and Kara Tointon played their parts brilliantly – I was particularly impressed with Kara who I only knew from her Strictly Come Dancing appearance. The costuming was beautiful, at various points our little group all gasped as Kara appeared on stage in yet another wonderful outfit. The section at the end which is just Eliza and Henry talking was a real example of direction at its best. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

The Syndicate – Minerva Theatre, Chichester.
The final trip this summer was to Chichester to see Sir Ian McKellan as a mob boss. For years I have wanted to see Ian McKellan on the stage, and he was every bit as wonderful as I’d hoped. The play started in a relatively grizzly manner (I know a lot of people who would have been trying to subtly not watch what was going on) but then settled into a slightly odd plot that didn’t quite seem to know what it was trying to be. The cast was split with a few stand out performances and the rest pretty poor, the worst being two actors who played roles in the third act in the style of a comedy double act of the type last seen in working men’s clubs in the 1980s.

One Man, Two Guvnors – NT Live.
I wasn’t entirely sure whether to include this, but then realised that the whole point of the excellent NT Live scheme is that it allows people to watch National Theatre productions who are unable to get there in person. I didn’t know a thing about the play when I sat down to watch it, and I think I’m glad because it meant I had no preconceived ideas about what I was going to see. The play itself is brilliantly funny, and the cast pulled it off perfectly. There wasn’t a weak performance, but especially good were Daniel Rigby and Jemima Rooper. Then of course there was James Corden, star of the show and former History Boy showing once more just how very talented he is. I can not remember a time when I last laughed so hard or long, it was certainly the most fun I’d had in a theatre in a very long time.

Phew, so I think that’s everything. Whilst there have been high points and slightly lower points I really have had a fabulous few months of theatre going. We’ve already got our next couple of trips planned, I can’t wait!

Days Out · Photography

Out and About : Nant yr Arian.

What? Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre

Where? Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth

How much? Free entry, car parking is £1.50

When? Open all year round (apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Red kite feeding takes place at 2pm (3pm during British Summer Time).

There’s no Gallery prompt this week so I thought instead I’d take the opportunity to blog about my trip to the nearby forestry visitor centre to watch the red kites being fed. I recently bought a new camera and helped a friend to pick a new camera so we thought it would be an ideal time to try them out.

Feeding time.

We arrived at Nant yr Arian at about 2.3o giving us enough time to walk down to the lake side and around to the best vantage point to watch the feeding. There were thirty or forty people already mingling around, I spent a lot of time ogling other people’s cameras – lots of people were clearly there to take pictures.

We were aware as 3pm approached that the red kites were starting to circle over head, first the odd one and then a few more. We noticed the ranger appear on the other side of the lake, as soon as she started throwing the food out the skies filled with birds all swooping to get their share. It was an amazing sight, I switched between taking photos and just standing there watching the spectacle.

Always time for tea.
After the feeding slowed down to an occasional opportunistic swoop we carried on walking around the lake. We did the Barcud trail, a circuit approximately 1 km in length with only gentle slopes and a fairly even surface (the Forestry Commission website says that this is suitable for wheelchairs). We stopped at various points round the lake to take more photos, we also visited the kite hide and watched the late eaters from only a few metres away.

When we got back to the start we walked back up to the visitor centre and stopped for a very welcome cuppa. There’s a lovely big balcony area where you can sit with a drink and gaze out over the beautiful landscape – it was the perfect end to a really enjoyable afternoon.

Days Out · Theatre Stuff

Out and About : Frankenstein.

What?Frankenstein.
Where?The National Theatre, London.
How much? Tickets range between £12 and £45 for adults, discounts are available.
When?The play runs until 2nd May 2011. It is sold out but returns and day tickets may be available.

Over the last few weeks I have seen Danny Boyle’s version of Frankenstein twice. Once at the National Theatre and once via NT Live at my local cinema. The theatre visit came first, as soon as I got home from it I booked my cinema ticket to see it again.

The current production of Frankenstein has some very attractive features. The first of these is the fact it is the brainchild of Danny Boyle. He was directing for the theatre before he moved into tv and film so it’s a return to his roots. The second appealing factor was that the script was going to be telling the story of the creature, returning far more to Shelley’s original novel. Finally the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller as the two leads, alternating playing the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature each night was intriguing.

A Tale of Two Creatures
When I saw Frankenstein at the National Theatre Benedict Cumberbatch took the role of Victor and Johnny Lee Miller played the Creature. The NT Live broadcast that I watched had them playing the opposite roles, so Cumberbatch was the Creature and Miller played Victor.

I enjoyed both performances thoroughly, though I would have to say that I preferred the first time that I saw it. I had expected this to work better, both actors were playing the roles that were the more obvious choice for themselves. I did find it interesting that the NT Live broadcast was live in the evening on the same day that the recording had been made for the transmission on the 24th March when the actors played the opposite role. I wonder whether it was hard to switch roles between the two performances – on the days when they normally do a matinee and evening the actors play the same role for both performances.

A Light and Sound Show.
Two of the most effective parts of the play for me were the use of light and sound. There was a lighting feature that hung above the stage with hundreds of light bulbs of all shapes and sizes hanging from it. These were used to punctuate the performance, flashes of light moving across the board in a range of colours and intensities to match the tone of what was happening down below on the stage. There were times when I found myself wondering how a simple looking piece of electronics could have such an effect.

Underworld provided the fantastic musical soundtrack to the play. From the eerie tones that accompany the build up to the beginning of the play to the joyful accompaniment of the Creature’s exploration of the world the soundtrack was stunning throughout. I have found myself humming parts of it at the most random of times, I’m thrilled it has now been released to buy.

Oh no they didn’t!
The only real criticism I could give to the production comes with the script for the minor characters. The scenes when the Creature learns from DeLacey were wonderful but they were interspersed with scenes featuring DeLacey’s son and daughter-in-law that sounded like something from my local pantomime. Elizabeth also suffered from the scripting, she had some weak lines to deliver and was clearly capable of more. This was a real shame as the plotting of the entire play was excellent and the dialogue given to the leads was far far better.

I thoroughly enjoyed this take on Frankenstein and I hope the National Theatre will be releasing the NT Live versions to dvd so I can enjoy it for years to come.

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Days Out

Out and About : Llanerchaeron.

What? Llanerchaeron.
Where? National Trust property approximately 5 miles outside Aberaeron.
How much? Adult £7.10, Child £3.60. Family tickets are available and reduced admission is available if you use a green method of transport.
When? The property is now open Wednesday – Sunday and will be open 7 days a week from 4th April.

Over the weekend I was entertaining a history loving friend. When I was searching for things to do in Ceredigion I discovered there was a National Trust property hidden away. We both love exploring old properties so I knew it was definitely a way for us to spend an afternoon.

The history bit.
Llanerchaeron is a minor gentry estate that dates back to the 18th-century. The house was passed down through the generations until it was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1989. When they took the house on it was in a poor state so they undertook the necessary restoration work and have returned it to its wonderful original state. In addition to the villa itself there is a courtyard that was used by the service staff with outhouses on the three non house sides of the square that were used for purposes including laundry, cheese storage and meat curing.

Walking round the house we were met at regular intervals by National Trust volunteers. They were all brilliant, they knew lots about the house, the contents of the rooms and the people who had lived in them. Some of the people we spoke to had been with the property since it had first been acquired, they were able to tell us about the restoration work – something we found fascinating.

A tranquil inspiration.
My favourite part of the house was a sitting room on the first floor. This circular room was decorated in a beautiful pale green and felt wonderfully calm and tranquil. Through the window you could see lovely views of the Welsh countryside. There was a desk against one wall and a couple of comfortable chairs. I could instantly picture myself working in this room. The lady who was the volunteer working on the first floor told us that it was a room that the ladies of the house used both for writing and for sewing. Whilst she was telling us about this I began to be able to picture the ladies and now feel tempted to write their story.

More to see than the house.
In addition to the house we were able to explore the walled gardens. At this time of the year they’re getting everything ready, many of the beds were clearly ready for things to be planted in them. I have been told that during the summer months the beds are always full, and the fruit and vegetables that they grow are available for sale. We also had a pleasant stroll around the lake, it has an island in the middle that made us both think of Swallows and Amazon.

We didn’t venture any further than this, but a short walk on from the house and gardens is the Home Farm complex – a working organic farm complete with animals.

I really feel like we uncovered a gem in Llanerchaeron. The house is beautifully restored and the volunteers are very knowledgeable and friendly. I shall certainly be visiting again next time someone comes to visit.

Days Out · Geek Stuff

Out and About : Doctor Who Experience.

What? Doctor Who Experience.
Where? Olympia, London.
How much? Adult – £15 off peak prebooked, £18 peak prebooked, £20 on the door. Child £12.50 off peak prebooked, £14 peak prebooked, £15.50 on the door. Family tickets are also available.
When? Until 4th September 2011.

When you’re in London celebrating a 31st birthday as a group of geeks what more appropriate way could there be to spend an afternoon than at the new Doctor Who Experience at Olympia?

From the time we got off the tube at Olympia the anticipation began building steeply, the route to the experience entrance is marked out by posters bearing cybermen. As the event has timed entry slots there was no queuing to get in, we simply went into the building and after taking the lift to the correct floor entered the first room.

The first room acts essentially as a holding room where you wait for the next entry to the walk-through experience. There’s plenty to see and look at, exhibits included Liz 10’s costume, a Silurian display and artefacts from the House of Calvierri. Whilst we were having a look we were aware of the number of children also milling about, and found ourselves wondering whether they would impact on how we were able to enjoy the walk-through – at the Doctor Who Exhibition housed at nearby Earls Court we had all had similarly unfortunate experiences.

Wide eyed wonderment.
The walk-through took about 20 minutes, you begin by watching a wonderfully edited together montage of clips from series 5 (we won’t get into an episode numbering argument here thank you very much) before walking through the crack from Amy’s bedroom into a museum. As you’re looking around the security system is taken over by the Doctor who is stuck in the spare Pandorica and needs help. These clips with Matt Smith guide you through the walk-through, I don’t want to reveal the path it takes, but be assured it will make even the casual fan’s heart sing.

All of our fears about having children with our party were completely unfounded, if anything having young fans getting completely swept up in the experience (one got scared to the point of having to leave the walkthrough) added to the buzz. There was a real sense of camaraderie between our group, everyone had such a great time.

Time to add a little detail.
After leaving the walk-through we found ourselves in a more traditional exhibition that did bear some resemblance to the previous exhibition at Earls Court. There were some exhibits that we had seen before but these were accompanied by many new items. The first section dealt with the Doctor himself, each of his incarnations was represented by his most iconic costume. We also visited a room devoted to his companions, and one dealing with enemies through the ages (in this area there was a lovely mix of classic Who and nu-Who). There were special areas offering screenings, workshops on how to walk like various monsters and a mock up of the art department.

My favourite part of the exhibition was the interior of the TARDIS that had belonged to the Ninth and Tenth Doctors. You could get up close and personal with part of the central console, and all the supporting struts were in place. Playing on a screen at the side of the exhibition was the regeneration of the Tenth Doctor into the Eleventh Doctor. We did spent a few minutes watching the Tenth Doctor say goodbye and all felt that tell tale lump returning to our throats.

“You’ve got a little shop. I like a little shop.”
When we’d finally had enough of the exhibition we made our way out into the shop. Whereas the shop for the Earls Court exhibition always felt a little like an after thought this one was filled with things I found myself being tempted by. There was enough space to walk round without the fear you were going to knock something off a shelf or step on a playing child – another improvement from previous exhibitions.

We all had a thoroughly good afternoon and based on all the smiling faces we were seeing so did everyone else who was there. If you’re even vaguely interested in Doctor Who I would recommend it as a worthwhile visit.

Days Out · Geek Stuff

Out and About : Cardiff International Comic Expo.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been trying to find my way into the somewhat confusing world of comics, I’ve been reading things that have been made into movies, found a few webcomics I love (though sadly I discovered two of them mere months before they finished for good) and followed recommendations lovely people on Twitter have been giving me. When I heard there was going to be a new comic expo in Cardiff it sounded like a great opportunity for me to go and pick up some new titles and explore a bit more.

Keeping to a budget is hard.
My first walk around the expo left me feeling a bit overwhelmed, there were tables full of colourful books waiting to be bought and I hadn’t heard of most of them. Behind each table sat someone who had a role in creating the books, the idea of speaking to one of them and revealing I knew nothing was more than a little scary. Knowing I had money saved specifically to spend in this room encouraged me to take another walk, and eventually I stopped at the Corvus Press table. They were selling issues #0 and #1 of The Baker Street Irregulars and sat behind the table was inker Patrick O’Connor. He was wonderfully friendly and I ended up walking away with both issues. Buoyed by the fact I’d managed to navigate a conversation I carried on and managed to spend the rest of my budget with relative ease.

In addition to the Baker Street Irregular issues, I bought Hero 9 – 5, Breathe and The Young Sherlock Holmes Adventures from Markosia, Arthur The Legend from Dalen and 10thology a collection of work by all Welsh creators. Expect to see reviews for all of these popping up over the next couple of months.

Whilst wandering around and trying to stretch my budget to its fullest I managed to nearly get run over by a Dalek on three separate occasions. Luckily for me they were in a good mood and didn’t appear keen to exterminate anybody.

Talks, talks and more talks.
In addition to the sales side of the Expo there was a full schedule of talks and panels. This was much more familiar ground to me, they tend to make up half of each day at the sci fi conventions I attend. I got organised before getting to the expo and had a list of the talks I wanted to go to, every one sounded good but I picked the ones I wanted to see the most.

Sidekickcast’s Secrets and Lies Live was the first panel I attended, a news quiz pitting a team of writers against a team of artists and both of them against the audience. It was a great start to the day, I laughed most of the way through it and Paul Cornell lead the writers’ team to a resounding win.

Matt Savage took the stage next, he’s a concept artist who has worked on films including The Dark Knight and X-Men: First Class, and Doctor Who – he was responsible for the redesign of the Daleks for the relaunch in 2005. He was a really interesting person to listen to, having pictures of his art to accompany what he was saying made for a really interesting panel.

Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton’s panel was excellent, fielding questions from the floor for the majority of the time they both proved to be really interesting to listen to. The discussion on how the comics industry is struggling to attract new young readers was of particular interest to me, the points they made have kept me thinking long past the event.

Mike Tucker and Mat Irvine took to the stage to talk about their time working for the BBC Special Effects unit. They have recently released a book chronicling the work the unit did over its lifetime, they talked through some of the photos that made it into the book and some that they’d had to leave out. The allotted 45 minutes flew by on this panel, I would have happily sat through another 45 minutes at least.

Creating Who? was the final panel and the one I’d been looking forward to the most. My ultimate dream would be to write tv tie in novels, particularly for one of the family of Doctor Who programmes. This panel was all about writing for Doctor Who outside of the tv programme and included comics’ writers and artists and Big Finish audio adventures’ authors. Sadly for me the person I was most looking forward to hearing from, Justin Richards who is Creative Director of the BBC Books range, was unable to attend. The panel was interesting, but ultimately a disappointment for me.

Looking forward to 2012.
I had a brilliant time at Cardiff International Comic Expo and I was thrilled to see them already advertising next year’s expo. I’ll definitely be booking my ticket.