April 1, 2014 by Tony
Tomorrow evening we’ll be bringing a brand new season of the Ubuntu Podcast to your ears. After an extended winter break, we’re ready to dust off our microphones and mixers, fire up our laptops and dive head first into the new season. We’ll be streaming the show live at 2030 BST so you can listen and even participate through the IRC channel. Visit the live page on the website to find out more.
As we did last year, we will be releasing new episodes for download every week. If you can’t wait for that, listen live on alternate Wednesday evenings for about an hour. You can check the recording dates on our website or add them to your Google calendar.
The show will be much as you know and hopefully love it: A mix of discussion, interviews, news, silliness and cake. It would be great if you could join us at 2030 BST tomorrow (Wednesday 2nd April) for the first live show of the season!
March 25, 2014 by Tony
I’ve wanted to visit Bletchley Park for years. It is where thousands of people toiled twenty-four hours a day to decipher enemy radio messages during the second world war, in absolute secrecy. It is where some of the brightest minds of a generation put their considerable mental skills to an incredibly valuable purpose. It is also where modern computing was born, notably through the work of Alan Turing and others.
So I was very pleased to be invited by my friend James to visit Bletchley as part of his stag weekend. After years of neglect, and in the face of demolition, the park is now being extensively restored. A new visitors’ centre will be introduced, and more of the huts opened up to the public. I have no doubt that these features will improve the experience overall, but there was a feeling of Trigger’s Broom as I looked over the huts closest to the mansion house. Never open to the public before, they looked good with new roofs and walls. But perhaps a little too clean.
And it really is only the huts closest to the house that are being renovated. Others are used by the neighbouring National Museum of Computing, small companies and a huge number are still derelict. Whilst I hope that the remaining huts will be preserved, it would be great if visitors could see the huts in their current dilapidated state too. The neglect of Bletchley Park is part of its story, and I would love to explore the derelict huts as they are now. I would love to shoot inside them – so many ideas in my head for that!
Most of the people working there were aged between eighteen and twenty-one, so you can imagine how much buzz and life there was in the place, despite the graveness of the work being carried out. Having visited the park as it is today, I wish that I had been able to visit it during the war. To see people walking around the huts, efficiency and eccentricity hand-in-hand, to know the import and intellect of what was being carried out, and how it would produce the technology that we all rely on every day, would have been incredible.
March 11, 2014 by Tony
In 1991 I had some photos published in Doctor Who Magazine. Fast forward 23 years and 293 editions and it’s happened again.
I was asked to photograph Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Daleks, Cybermen, Judoon and more, executive producer at Big Finish and all round good egg) interviewing David Graham. David was one of the voice artistes who created the Daleks’ grating staccato delivery back in the 1960s. He has had an amazing career, appearing on screen in Doctor Who, The Avengers, The Saint and plenty more. He was also the voice of Parker and Brains in Thunderbirds, and is Grandpa in Peppa Pig.
So on a Monday morning back in January I found myself stood outside David’s flat in a rather nice area of London. Nick and David were already mid-interview (I was bang on time of course! They must have started early) so after David had made me a cup of tea I sat quietly a took some candid photos of them chatting. Then we carefully re-arranged David’s furniture to create an impromptu space for photographs and I broke out the speed lights and softbox. Figuring out how to make the available space work is something that I have learnt from my wedding photography. I think the photos capture the gentle good humour that was bouncing between Nick and David. Nick’s write-up of the interview is a funny take on the morning. It’s fascinating to read his take on the conversation.
You can read the interview and admire the photos in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, which is a Dalek special. It’s at newsagents now, or available online: Doctor Who Official Magazine issue 471 (April 2014) – Dalek Special
Thanks to Tom Spilsbury and Nick Briggs for asking me to take the photos, and the DWM team who made them look fantastic. It was a very enjoyable way to spend a morning!
February 24, 2014 by Tony
I spent nearly 7 hours in the same cinema seat this weekend. The BBC and the BFI were celebrating the return of several missing episodes of Doctor Who to the archives by holding a marathon screening at the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square. All twelve episodes of “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” were shown back-to-back, with only two short comfort breaks. That’s a lot of Doctor Who, even for me.
The panel after the screening was expertly moderated by Toby Hadoke. Deborah Watling and Frazer Hines were joined by Ralph Watson, who played Captain Knight in “The Web of Fear,” the role that was originally going to be played by Nicholas Courtney before he was promoted to play the Brigadier. Ralph was certainly talkative and brought some fresh stories and recollections, particular about his working relationship with Douglas Camfield. Michael Troughton was also on stage to reminisce about his father’s dual roles in “The Enemy of the World” and his visit to the London Underground set with the yetis.
I think the BBC and the BFI were using this event to see if there is sufficient interest in screenings now that the anniversary year celebrations are over. I hope they are convinced, although I would happily settle for a single six episode story rather than two! It was great to geek out with James from the Doctor Who Podcast again.
The Prince Charles cinema, which is slightly smaller than NFT1 at the BFI Southbank, is a great choice of venue for this sort of cult screening. However, the availability of cinema snacks, combined with the duration of the screening, meant there was a lot more rustling going on than at the BFI. But I can live with that if I get to see more Doctor Who on the big screen.
February 19, 2014 by Tony
I was rather excited to receive my box set of Doctor Who: Dark Eyes 2 today. Not just because it’s the follow-up to the BBC Audio Drama Award-winning first series. Here’s the splendid artwork that accompanies the 4 CD release:
You see the photographs of Nicola Walker from Spooks on the box, album art and even the disk itself? I took those! Thanks to the design wizardry of Damien May they blend seamlessly with the photographs of Paul McGann, Ruth Bradley and Alex Macqueen in costume that they already had. It’s tremendously exciting to see one’s efforts printed on an actual BBC authorised CD.
Nick Briggs (Executive Producer and voice of the Daleks) asked if I could attend the recording session at the studio to photograph Nicola, Alex, Ruth and other cast members. Not knowing exactly what I would encounter when I got there, I tried to cover all the possibilities. I ended up shooting using off camera flash to get the dramatic lighting suitable for the covers and album art, and natural light for the more straight-forward shots. It was fascinating to see how a complex audio drama is recorded, and yes, the lunches at the Big Finish studios are every bit as good as they are made out to be!
See, that’s my actual name! In the same listing as Terry Nation and Ron Grainer. I never thought I would see that happen.
I can see more of my photos of Ruth (below), Alex and Nicola in issue 60 of Big Finish’s free magazine, Vortex. Dark Eyes 2 is available now from bigfinish.com. I suppose I better go and listen to it now!