Posts Tagged ‘bbc’
Blue Peter is moving to the CBBC channel. It will no longer be on BBC1. Adults secretly still watching will have to tune in to a children’s channel. Well, we did it anyway for The Sarah Jane Adventures and will do so for Wizards vs Aliens, right?
Anyone who knew me as a child knows that one of my major special interests (a feature of autistic spectrum conditions) was Blue Peter. Everywhere we went, I would look in charity shops and car boot sales to increase my collection of Blue Peter Books (what they call their annuals) and associated memorabilia. I watched the programme obsessively, had a Blue Peter diary made by Letts and regularly wrote to Jim’ll Fix It to ask if I could be a presenter for the day. OK, being wobbly wouldn’t have helped me get through the famous audition process, which involves (or did) interviewing somebody while bouncing on a trampoline, but it was my dream for a long time. I even went to a CBBC open audition when I was 19. Not for BP, for the “broom cupboard”, but I was dreadful.
I didn’t have many friends when I was young. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that I have Asperger Syndrome. I was lonely and miserable and having a difficult time at both home – my father was an abusive alcoholic – and at school, where I was bullied. I wrote letters to my favourite programme, Blue Peter. It didn’t hurt that it also had links to my other favourite, Doctor Who, and still does.The first Blue Peter badge I won was the Green badge, for writing about the environment. I was a keen environmentalist as a child, having the Blue Peter Green Book, and I collected large numbers of aluminium cans to be recycled for charity.
Then I won the Blue badge. I sent in pictures, stories, ideas for “makes”. I wrote near-constantly to the BP office. I was miserable. They responded. Not just with form letters, but with help and advice. They made me feel appreciated, like somebody was listening. They knew I collected memorabilia, so sent me signed photos of new presenters and pets, old promo cards for previous presenters, any booklets they had lying around. It was amazing.
I won the Silver badge because I ran a Blue Peter Bring & Buy Sale with my mum, and covered every surface with the stickers they sent. My sister won a badge herself, but mostly the family used mine to get the two of us and other children into visitor attractions for free. That element of the badge has always been open to abuse, especially once grown-up winners were able to sell their badges on Ebay, and these days children have a photocard to present as well as the badge. We went to the Yorvik Viking Centre what felt like a million times. Beamish. Loads of places. The BP office sent a booklet with all the places we could go, in the days before many museums had free entry.
When I was perhaps a bit too old to watch the programme, at 14, I won the Competition badge, which was then as it appears above and not the new orange design. I was a runner-up in a design competition. I had been away on a German exchange with school and had a rotten time, but came back to find the badge and our family’s first computer. The latter changed my life, the former was the last link to my childhood. I couldn’t win any more badges. In those days, there was no purple badge for reviewing the programme, and I had missed out on any of the special “birthday” badges for programme anniversaries. I stopped sending letters some time after that. I was too scared to take their advice of phoning ChildLine, but I knew they wouldn’t keep sending a teenager stickers and long letters. A few years later, my father threw much of my memorabilia into the fire, including two of the badges, and later still the remaining badges were stolen off a jacket at a gig. I still have the books.
What about the Gold badge? Well, it remains my goal… When I was regularly writing to the programme, the only people who appeared to get one were departing presenters, Olympic athletes and people who had done amazing things like save lives. I knew I hadn’t done anything as good as that, I wasn’t exceptional. I wasn’t a hero. But these days, Gary Barlow has one, David Tennant has one…maybe I CAN do enough to get one. It would mean more to me than any other honour. I don’t want to be an OBE or Dame; I don’t need a medal or any other award, whatever I do. I just want a Gold Blue Peter badge.
Thank you to the BP office from 1987-1995 for being so kind to a lonely, autistic kid. I will never forget you.
On Tuesday, I went to London. I am an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society, and their latest campaign, the Undiscovered Workforce, is about adults with autism and employment. I have Asperger Syndrome and do not have a job. Neither am I on benefits. I was invited to a reception at Parliament to launch the campaign.
The reception was held in Dining Room A at the House of Commons. I got there early, and was treated to a short tour by Anthony of the NAS, who used to work for an MP. I also got to see the Queen’s new Diamond Jubilee stained glass window, for which all the members of the Commons and Lords chipped in. Just like a birthday club at work. Apparently Her Maj did not bring buns in for everyone, but we spotted where the red carpet had been and chairs from her morning speech (school assembly, come on) were being cleared away.
When we got into the room, information packs, canapes and drinks were available, but I was more interested in the comfortable green leather chairs with House of Commons logo. Sadly, it would have proved impossible to stuff one in my handbag to take home. Soon, peers and MPs began to arrive, along with other people with autism, employers and more NAS staff. I met a lot of very interesting people and spoke about my experiences.
I met with my MP, Rachel Reeves, recently – details here – to discuss this very campaign, and she came to the reception. We had a little chat about furthering the campaign in Leeds and had some pictures taken, both officially and by her team.
With Rachel Reeves (photo courtesy of Rachel’s Twitter):
I was introduced to a Guardian journalist, and was interviewed briefly – apparently she will be back in touch – before being asked if I minded being filmed for BBC Breakfast. No guarantees that it would be used, etc. Four of us spent quite a long time outside the Commons, as nobody could film in Parliament, first being interviewed and then doing what I call a “Phil and Kirstie”. This is fake but purposeful walking down the street, to use as a kind of framing device.
Of course, having spent ages doing the Phil and Kirstie, that bit wasn’t used and nor was most of what we said. But despite the pressures of time on Budget Day, we still made it onto telly on Wednesday morning. I was asked if I wanted to do the live on the sofa bit, but I hadn’t got any more nice clothes with me or my hair stuff for the next day, so to be honest (and shallow) I turned it down for that reason. Fellow person with Asperger Syndrome and London dweller Katherine did a great job.
While we were out of the room, I missed being able to natter with plenty more MPs attending the reception, such as Louise Mensch. Damn. I also missed the speeches – the text of Lord Freud‘s speech can be found here.
On our return, I did get to meet NAS President Jane Asher, and thank her for the role that her book Quick Party Cakes played in my childhood, and for her performance in The Sarah Jane Adventures. We talked briefly about Lis Sladen, and a family anecdote surrounding a mix up between Janes Asher and Austen, and she was absolutely lovely.
Yesterday I went to the Hayward for the Joy In People exhibition by my favourite artist, Jeremy Deller. I had a whale of a time, and bumped into Jeremy as he was scurrying around checking everything was OK. We have met before, and it was great to chat again. Photography was forbidden in most areas, so I didn’t take many. The exhibition lives up to its joyous, humanist title. I did see the David Shrigley exhibition that was on at the same time, but that mostly left me cold. I’m not keen on his sculptures and the whole layout of the exhibition left me with unpleasant sensory triggers. Liked some of the pictures, though.
Interviews with KB are a rare pleasure. This is from last night, for the Front Row programme on BBC Radio 4.
Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures has died at the age of 63.
The photograph above was taken in November 2008, when I finally got to meet Lis. She was every bit as wonderful as you’d expect. My friend Steve and I were lucky enough to win a competition where we were able to listen to Lis read from Sarah Jane books, with a meet and greet afterwards. I don’t regret a second of the unabashed fandom. I don’t do heroes as a general rule, but Lis Sladen was my heroine. An absolutely beautiful person and great actor.
Elisabeth Sladen, 1948-2011. MY Sarah Jane. Gutted.
CRUCIAL, people, CRUCIAL. Give it up for the Easy Crew, wicked. iPlayer, back to back and ting.
Hopefully back to blogging next week – there are various things I want to write about, but my health hasn’t been great and I’ve been very busy with OU work.
I wrote about Pulse before, and it finally screened on BBC3 last night. It’s up on iPlayer until the evening of the 10th of June, do check it out if you missed it. It combined my love of horror, sci-fi and, well, Casualty and Holby City nicely. Plus a callback to my younger self’s X Files fandom. The pacing was a bit off for me in the first half, and I’d like to see more character development from the off, but otherwise it was brilliant and I really want to see how it would play out as a series, it was really intriguing. The problem with pilots versus a normal first episode is you have to try to cover so much ground, cramming in as much of the premise and characters and intended tone as possible, and they rarely tend to be entirely satisfying for the normal viewer as a result. I would prefer to see a REAL first episode of Pulse and a full series. If you enjoyed it as much as I did, do TELL the Beeb on the blog – they won’t know otherwise. Oh and “like” the Facebook page.
I’ve never been BBC3′s biggest fan. Indeed, until a couple of years ago, there were precisely three shows I watched on there with any regularity, one of which got moved to a bigger channel (Torchwood) and one of the others (Pulling) got cancelled. The third show? Doctor Who Confidential, because who can get enough of Effects Supervisor Danny Hargreaves? Not me, I tell you, especially when he’s wearing shorts.
Odd proclivities aside, I only started to trust the channel as the home of anything other than short-lived comedies and ill-conceived documentaries when I decided to tune in to the pilot of a show written by someone who’d written for Doctor Who. Yes, well done there, spot a theme? Toby Whithouse wrote the episode ‘School Reunion’, featuring the return of one Sarah Jane Smith, so I trusted him to come up with something half decent. I watched the other pilots in pilot season out of curiosity, but while Toby’s pilot, for Being Human, utterly gripped me from the off, the rest were usual yoofy telly fare. I fit the channel’s age demographic, but “stuff too shit for E4″ doesn’t appeal.
Back to Being Human, then. If you haven’t seen the show by now, which has had two brilliant series and is now filming a third, go and Google it. It’s fantastic. But its pilot wasn’t initially chosen to go to series. One of the others, Phoo Action, got the nod. It was rubbish. However, lots of people had seen and loved the Being Human pilot, like me, and were talking about it online. Campaigning for it to be made properly. It didn’t look hopeful for a while, and then the BBC relented. They made some changes from the pilot, as is normal, but all to the good and we got our show. I can’t wait for series 3.
Now the Beeb are doing another pilot season on BBC3. They want it to be a testing ground for exciting new drama. If people watch in the same numbers that they do Being Human, this might actually happen and they’ll stop sending airheads to developing countries and making terrible sketch shows. Sometimes good, sensitive (but also appropriate to the age group) documentaries do turn up on there, it’s not all bad.
One of the shows in the 2010 pilot season is, you guessed it, written by somebody who has written for Doctor Who. In the interest of full disclosure, he is also a friend of mine. Regardless of these two facts, based on description, cast and trailer I would always have tuned in for…
Pulse is a medical horror drama (not like those Point Horror books I read as a teen, I promise), written by Paul Cornell. It stars such talented actors and top totty as Claire Foy (Little Dorrit), Stephen Campbell Moore (History Boys, Ashes To Ashes, my dreams…), Greg Chillin (nasty Owen in Being Human) and Ben Miles (Coupling) and promising gore, scifi, thrills and humour from the off. It will be shown on BBC3 at 9pm on June 3rd. Next Thursday.
The thing is, it’s a pilot. There’s no guarantee it will become a series. I want it to be, I need more good homegrown telly in my life and we need to nurture interesting drama. I trust Paul Cornell as a writer to produce something I want to watch. Did you see ‘Father’s Day’ or ‘Human Nature’ and ‘The Family Of Blood’, all episodes of Doctor Who? He wrote those. Drama might be expensive to make, but it’s my favourite type of television, so. The only way Pulse can become a series is if a) lots of people watch it and b) they tell everyone they like it. Online reaction got Being Human made. So count this as doing my bit, to get you to watch the pilot of Pulse. If you like it, tell people. Tweet, blog, whatever.
Here’s the trailer:
Stanley Chow is a very clever, funny man.
But sadly I’ve had to take down the picture that was here, because it was a bit naughty and I don’t want anybody getting in trouble.
The Beeb have apologised for the Graham Norton banner during Doctor Who, phew, and it won’t be happening again.
So see my previous post, here, for brilliant and legit work from Stan.
There’s been a lot of blether this weekend over the BBC’s decision to trail Over The Rainbow during the climactic final moments of this week’s Doctor Who by means of an animated banner featuring Graham Norton.
Complaints are no doubt piling up in the audience log, even though the Doctor himself clambered over the end of Total Wipeout. Timing could have been better, of course, and Norton has form in this area thanks to a screw up during the airing of the very first episode (‘Rose’) of the Who comeback in 2005 that led to a feed from his mic (he was hosting the live show Strictly Dance Fever that evening) spilling over the opening minutes.
All this doesn’t change the fact that the illustrations and animations used are pretty damn ace and were garnering plenty of compliments before the moment of doom. Animation by family favourites Aardman Animation, illustrations by the reliably brilliant Stanley Chow.
Check out his Doctor:
And his Thierry Henry:
Warning, warning. Fannish stuff to follow, in depth. I got to go to the launch of Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, thanks to the wonderful Culture Vultures – the much shorter article I wrote for them is here – and had a lovely day out in Sheffield.
The day started with three of the official new series Daleks (yellow – Eternal, red – Drone and white – Supreme) and one unofficial one (black, homemade by a bloke in I think Wakefield) terrorising the front of Sheffield railway station.
Nick Briggs was hiding behind a little tent with his Moog ring modulator and microphone, doing what practically amounted to Dalek stand-up for a couple of hours (picking on members of the crowd, taking the proverbial out of the community support officers) as people ran up and had their photos taken with the Daleks, tickled their plungers at the insistence of the Radio Sheffield DJ hosting the event, and chased the cheeky pepperpots as they scooted around in the sunshine. “We have replaced all the footballs in Sheffield with Dalek drones controlled by radio signals direct from our home planet – and now… Sheffield Wednesday are doomed!”
Sadly Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were trapped out in LA, due to the restrictions on flights caused by the Icelandic volcano, but we did get at least one reasonably accurate cosplay Eleventh Doctor and no less than TWO cold-looking cosplay Amy Ponds. Commitment to the cause. But no ginger hair, real or wig, on the Amys I saw. More Dalek photos here: Daleks In Sheffield.
Those of us who were going to the launch were directed towards a big green double decker bus, ticked off a list and handed laminates as we got onto the bus. Bottom deck, alas, the top was full of jammy kids who’d got the day off school to write about the event for BBC School Report. Our laminates each featured one of the new classes of Dalek – Eternal (yellow, this was me), Drone (red), Scientist (orange), Strategist (blue). No Supremes, alas, with or without Diana Ross. This was to divide us into groups for the rest of the day, so they could fit us all in to some of the smaller spaces at Sumo Digital, the developers, where the launch was held. We were also given confidentiality forms to sign, though thankfully restrictions were minimal. I sat with my new friends, Matthew Reynolds from Digital Spy and Mark Johnson from Spong. Matthew was a fellow Eternal and Mark a Strategist.
When we arrived, we went into the main room, where there was a table laden with tea, coffee, cans of pop, fruit, biscuits, chocolate biscuits… No time was wasted in hanging around, however, as we got a few quick intro speeches, then we were told the plan for the day. This I will go through in the order my group experienced. Each group would get to play the game for about 45 minutes (split into two rooms, with a PC each, so no sharing), attend a Q&A with various people involved in the project, be given a tour of each stage in the development of the games, watch the next episode of Doctor Who early and see a seven minute segment of Doctor Who Confidential that concerned the games. With a break for lunch in the middle. Whew!
Starting with the game, then, as my group did. Bear in mind, only the first game, ‘City Of The Daleks’, is at a playable stage right now, and it is still in alpha testing, not beta testing or final code. They warned us a) it was subject to change, particularly the difficulty level and b) there might be bugs. The initial screen is not dissimilar to a DVD menu – you choose which “Episode” (game) you want to play, whether you want to start with Act One, Two or Three (sections of the game), continuing your previous game or from the Start (if you select this, it warns you will wipe out previous progress if you have played before). If you begin at the beginning of ‘City Of The Daleks’, as I did, Amy and the Doctor run into the TARDIS, which is pretty cute to watch. The pair have a series-style bantery conversation about The Beatles, where Amy claims “There’s no such thing as a sexy drummer”, the Doctor reels off a list of cool things about the Sixties (ah, cultural references for all the family) and bam! They step out into London in 1963. Except it all looks a bit wrong – this is recognisably Trafalgar Square, but it’s deserted and everything’s broken.
There are fires, cracks, holes, and debris everywhere. It IS 1963, insists the Doctor, but something has disrupted time. In the debris on the ground is a newspaper…Daleks! But this is “impossible”, he says, they’ve never been able to disrupt time like this before. The Doctor needs to fix it, but before he can go any further, a young woman appears. And does a runner down a manhole. Argh! This is where the game proper starts, as the Doctor you have to follow her and find out what’s happening. But it’s not that easy, the surface is treacherous and many routes are blocked. Plus, there’s a red Dalek right there… Move the mouse and you turn the Doctor around and can look at the whole area. Hold the right mouse button down and you can move forwards. Amy will give you hints if you face her and click the left button to “talk”. You can also pick up collectables and find out facts about objects, history etc. If you press the middle button of the mouse (there is a keyboard alternative for those without a middle button), you can view and use items from the inventory – you get the sonic screwdriver to get you started, but as in the programme proper, it can’t get you in and out of everything. There are deadlock seals, there are restrictions and an internal logic so there is a consistency about what it can and cannot do and in what circumstances.
When you reach something you need to get over, sadly you cannot press a button to jump (fun as a boingy Mario Doctor would be). Instead, you stand in front of it facing straight on and click, and the Doctor will smoothly climb or jump up or down for you and pull himself into place. It’s a very natural-looking movement. The Doctor and Amy both walk like their real life counterparts. They have the same gestures and tics. It’s very well observed. Especially as both actors have such distinctive movements. There are some restrictions on how advanced the graphics can be, given that the games are developed for entry level computers from 3 or 4 years ago in order to increase accessibility beyond gamers and those with the latest tech, but the characters look a lot better in action than in the screenshots released so far.
The actors’ voices sound natural, possibly slightly heightened for audio, but generally it is as like an episode of the series as possible. The music is by Murray Gold, the lighting is designed to look like the show’s lighting (heightened realism, with extra colours), and the cutscenes (like in-game movies, basically non-interactive segments that contain dialogue, information etc outside the gameplay itself) are written, directed and played like they would be in live action as part of the TV show. You are the Doctor (and sometimes Amy) the rest of the time, there’s no larger-than-life pointing at the screen and asking for your help like in ‘Attack of the Graske’, it’s fairly immersive for all ages. I found my adrenaline pumping quite often. I was being filmed, by I think Doctor Who Confidential, as I repeatedly died on-screen. Apparently they found my reactions amusing. It’s very addictive, even when you die. A lot.
In what I am informed by the more regular gamers is stealth gameplay, you have to avoid the Daleks by sneaking past them while they are not looking. With a bit of creative licence, you can see where they are looking as a green “scanner beam” moves around the ground with their gaze. As many of the intended players will not be experienced in this kind of gameplay, the strong visual cue makes it more playable than if you had to watch the eyestalk movements very closely and hide at the same time. There are walls, sandbags etc to hide behind, but you do have to run out at some point, not all hiding places are safe and timing is all.
When you’re not running around, hiding from Daleks, using the sonic or interacting with other characters (there are multiple choices of questions you can ask in some situations, as well as just getting hints from Amy), there are short puzzle games, increasing in difficulty as time goes on, that you need to complete to proceed. Thankfully, the puzzles are more cerebral than reliant on fine motor control (I’m dyspraxic and have cerebral palsy), controller mashing or arcane knowledge. Think Professor Layton. I got the hang of rewiring a fuse, for example, quite quickly, but removing a Dalek component took real thought and lots of “deaths”. There are no timers on the puzzles or levels, and from what I can gather no limit on lives. Otherwise non-gamers and those at the younger and older end of the spectrum might just give up in frustration. The idea is that three generations of a family can play together, with different members of the group chipping in, so it aims to appeal to hardcore gamers, kids, parents, grandparents all at once, using different elements and styles of gameplay. Oh, and the games count as canon.
For those not embroiled in fandom and its terminology – canon (if there is such a thing in Who, Paul Cornell says not and UNIT dating gives everyone trouble) means these stories officially count as part of the overall Doctor Who timeline, events can be referred to in future and while not playing will not spoil enjoyment of the main show, those who do choose to join in will notice extra detail in the programme. The game designers were consulted when, for example, the new TARDIS set was created, and the final design of parts of the programme incorporated elements required for the games. Each episode of the game is intended to take about two hours to complete and have as much “story” as a normal 45 minute episode of the TV series, with the gameplay taking place in the places where the TV editing would make cuts – it does the detail, and every bit of the action, where the show on television has to keep leaping on.
As a non-gamer testing a near-final version of the game, I was a bit rubbish and had to be helped out on several occasions by Anwen Aspden from BBC Wales Interactive in order to see more of the game in the time available, otherwise I’d never have got on to Act Two. Anwen was brilliant at steering me through without laughing at me too much, and is obviously passionate about the games. Unlike the games journalists, I never got as far as the titular City of the Daleks, Kaalann. I did look over and see how stunning it looked on screen, mind, as well as enjoying the matte paintings of the city when on the tour later. Phil Ford said in the Q&A that he took some pleasure in naming said city, as it hadn’t been named before. Nick Briggs leapt in before I could to mutter that it DID have a name – Dalek City. Of course. This goes right back to the first Dalek story, ‘The Daleks’, in 1963. Both names are rubbish, I’d rather call it “Alan”.
I also got to enjoy some bugs of my very own – apparently the ones I discovered only I have managed to trigger so far. The Doctor got himself underneath a taxi, that wasn’t supposed to happen, and it looked at one point like Amy had fallen down a hole and only her head and neck were above ground. Sadly not features of the finished game. Unless they decide that my experiences were better than the intended version.
All too soon, we were hauled back out into the main space for our group’s crack at the Q&A. The panel were: Charles Cecil (consultant, adventure games bigwig, created the Broken Sword series), Barnaby Edwards (Chief Dalek Operator in the series, several voices in the games), Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Daleks in both series and games, plus other parts in the games), Ian Tweedale (got the game commissioned, Interactive Editor at BBC Wales), Sean Willard (creative director at Sumo), Phil Ford (writer of the first three games/episodes, head writer on The Sarah Jane Adventures, co-wrote the Tenth Doctor special episode ‘The Waters Of Mars’ with Russell T Davies, also wrote the spin-off animation ‘Dreamland’ and ‘Something Borrowed’ for Torchwood series 2).
Here is the audio for the Q&A (MP3):
Download link from 4shared
I will try to get a transcript up soon, it’s just a lengthy process as it’s 40 or so minutes long. Lots of interesting stuff in there about interactive fiction, gameplay, other games being developed by BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm of the Beeb) for the Wii and DS etc.
After that there were some individual interviews – I’d asked all my game-relevant questions and thought it best not to e.g. grab Phil to squee about Jo Grant turning up in The Sarah Jane Adventures when he was so busy, or to ask Nick about Big Finish or the future of the Cybermen. Then lunch, and on to…
The Tour! Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos or video on the tour of the studios. Completely understandable, as there was a lot of sensitive information around. I wanted to nick the photocopies of sketched storyboards, mind. I’ve included pictures where available from the official BBC Doctor Who website. We were split further into mini groups, which meant I ended up as the only adult in a group of young teens, and my group was shown around by a legend in his own right, Pat Phelan.
The most exciting bit for me, bearing in mind I know a bit about computer animation and I was in a group of kids, so everything we were told was simplified more than if I’d stayed with the other group of mostly games journalists, was the very first bit. We spoke to the concept artist and a level artist. The concept artist showed us Skaro! And he found out while we were there that the BBC liked his art so much, they weren’t just going to use it in-game, but from now on that’s officially what Skaro looks like in the show (in the same vein as the matte paintings of Gallifrey in ‘Gridlock’ informing what was also shown in ‘The End of Time’).
Skaro! Or more specifically, Kaalann in Skaro.
He also showed us attempts at half-human, half-Cybermen creatures and, whisper it, because they weren’t supposed to tell us but he accidentally said the word and anyway I recognised them even when redesigned, mats of a Cyber nature (old school fans will understand this). Shhhh! Don’t tell the Beeb I know! I’m guessing they will turn up in the Cybermen episodes of the show, even if it’s not until next series. My hardcore fan heart raced when I saw them. However, there was a whole page full of different designs and he wouldn’t tell me which one was the final, approved version. My other favourite bit of art was the Librarian Dalek, which consisted of a huge, bronze-coloured version of the new organic-looking Dalek eye.
The Librarian Dalek
Frankly, I could have taken all of it home and put it on the wall. The ice world for the Cybermen in the next episode of the game is beautiful.
We went through all the other stages, including character design (lots of photos and video were taken of the Doctor and Amy, so they could be Rotoscoped, then sculpted in the software and given a “painted” skin), animation, level design, putting the elements into the game engine and so on. All interesting stuff. I enjoyed watching the “sandbox” part of the tour – the programmer here creates loads of different fake environments to run the characters through, so he can see how they behave when colliding with objects, running over different surfaces and through small gaps etc, so they can make adjustments. Also the final stage of the tour, where lead designer Will showed us how he takes all the feedback from testing and all the elements of the game and basically makes it playable, making adjustments of positioning, hints and difficulty and so on and so forth.
After the tour, we were taken into a conference room with comfortable chairs and a big screen to watch the newest episode of the show, ‘The Time Of The Angels’ a few days before it hit the nation’s TV screens. I loved the episode, and River Song again (though I don’t intend reviewing it here), but the kids in my group were not gripped at all. They stuck to doodling and filling in their feedback forms. Enjoying a day off school more than Doctor Who fandom, really. When the episode finished, we saw a seven-minute segment of that episode’s Doctor Who Confidential, where we were shown more footage of Matt Smith being photographed and videoed for reference for his in-game character. Lots of funny walks, head-slapping, falls and air guitar. I’m sure that man is made out of Plasticine and pipe cleaners. Also we see Matt and Karen mocking each other’s movements, the former calling the latter a “gangly fox”, and informative bits from the rest of the game team.
Then it was over, sob! Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you more news about the game in future. Thanks to Premier PR, The Culture Vulture, the BBC and Sumo Digital for making it happen. The first episode of Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, ‘City Of The Daleks’, will be available for free download for PC and Mac from the BBC website on 5th June. The downloads will be about 250MB each and use a similar downloading process to that used by the BBC iPlayer – which is so popular amongst Who fans that the first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who on television have been downloaded over 1.5million times each.