So, it turns out that I never did report on John.
However, I have seen the first episode of Torchwood, series three.
How do I even BEGIN to describe one of the most amazing days of my life?
(Feel free to skip through this - it's EPICALLY long and really quite strange in parts.)
I spent all day in London; got up at a ridiculous hour of the morning to catch the bus in. I love taking the bus, because I've taken the M4 route up there so many times (me and Mum used to travel up there when I was younger), that I recognise everything out of the windows when we're approaching London; Windsor Castle to the right, the blue-roofed mosque to the left, and the beautiful statue of the boy and the dolphin near Earl's Court. Sadly, the Earl's Court TARDIS seems to have vanished, and I never found out what it actually was! Shame. Maybe it'll turn up in Cardiff one day.
Anyway, the tube was a bit of a disaster; I knew which way I was going and got there without a hitch, but I'd forgotten how horrible the underground really is; loud and hot and claustrophobic and, well. Underground. No natural light; I'd hate to do it too often.
First destination was the National Film Theatre, where the episode was being aired, and I've just realised that I have no photos, which is deeply irritating because that place is plush! When my Dad was a BFI member it was a grotty old place; it's incredibly fancy in there now; shiny floors and carpets and an incredible bar inside with sofas dotted around. The outside is brilliant, as well; there are huge chairs made out of fake grass, and a multitude of shops. It's lovely and I'd love to go again.
The second destination? Well.
I had to! I was in London; how could I not? I managed to miss it the first time, actually; I found the right road and went halfway up before looking back at the roofs of the houses and realising I'd walked straight past. I found it and had what's known as a geekgasm. Because it's the house from Spaced!
Photos taken with permission from the girl who answered the door; she said I was very sweet for asking, because apparently no one ever does before they start snapping photos of the house from the outside.
I really wanted to sit on the wall (a la Daisy and Tim; God, I'm sad), but there was a little too much shrubbery in the way.
Seeing 23 reminded me of something brilliant Simon Pegg said in the DVD commentary for Spaced; "We told interviewers that the house number was 23 because we wanted the house to be in its 20s too, in tandem with the characters, but in reality it was just bollocks!"
It's the front door! Where Brian answers to the agents! And Daisy and Tim get stuck outside in the freezing cold and nearly kiss! And...okay. I love this show; could you tell? This was my warm-up squee for later...
After bidding a fond farewell to the house, I meandered around Central London for the rest of the day; going from Trafalgar Square up to Westminster and to Buckingham Palace (getting increasingly more morose at the utter closed-off nature of Parliamentary buildings and the ridiculously ornate nature of Buckingham Palace. I'm not getting into my political beliefs now, but it was a little irritating seeing it.) I parked myself on the monument rather than looking at the Palace, and wrote for about an hour and a half (having to stop several times to take pictures of tourists, bless them, and send Twitter innuendos to Lucy, who was on the train up.)
Too hot, and with a thumping headache and Diet Coke on my shirt (my doing entirely, that last one), I headed back to Victoria, from there to Waterloo, and met Lucy for the first time.
I'll admit, I was a little nervous; I'm not always great with people I don't know that well, and I was a bit twitchy, but there was no need; at the risk of stroking her ego, she is lovely. Really easy to talk to, and she made me laugh a lot; and she has the Harwood's theme as her ring tone! Woman of taste, that one. We bonded over pain relief, oddly enough, and soon enough Tara was with us; hat firmly in place and talking about how, since she hadn't eaten, was going to snack on a tin of custard during the episode. I am not making that up; she had a tin, complete with opener. That's my girl.
Tara and Lucy got on straight away, which I was hugely relieved at; I hate introducing people to other people! I have a very irrational fear of awkwardness, so I'm glad that was averted. And here is a picture of the lovely ladies at the BFI:
It was at this point, that the squee started.
You know (or maybe don't, which indicates that you're far more rational than me) the kind if you're a fangirl and there's something so brilliant, so exciting, so imminent approaching, that it affects you physically? Your stomach won't stop tickling, you can barely sit still, every other step you take goes a little off because there's this continual realisation that you're on your way to something amazing. My hands were shaking; I was that bad, and I kept making tiny little squeaking noises. I know I'm obsessed, I do; but it was the most incredible feeling; adrenaline and anticipation and happiness all rolled into one. I'd never take drugs, but if I did, I imagine they'd have a similar effect.
Tara was used to it. She's seen it many times before. I'm not entirely sure what Lucy thought, though.
In we went; me squeeing all the way (not that loudly, but still fairly prominently); we met a couple of guys with Bring back Owen and Bring back Tosh T-shirts on, which I absolutely loved, and we got chatting as we went in; the ushers gave us our promo postcard (which I think I may have made an embarrassing noise at), and then we settled down to stew in our own excitement, in seats quite insanely close to the front. It was incredible.
Eventually, the stage door opened and, in my own words, "Oh my God. It's John's Mum. And Dad. And sister." Then, about two minutes later, in comes John Barrowman himself; in grey and pink, looking absolutely wonderful, as always; hobbling on two crutches with a massive cast on his leg. It was lovely to see him up and about.
He was followed by Caitlin Moran and Euros Lyn (I think), and then James Moran (which made me grin like a mad thing, because I'd been hoping to meet him - more on that later) and I was just trying to work out where Gareth might be, when I saw Eve.
Oh, God. I love her. I really do. She is absolutely beautiful in person, and in a wonderfully natural way; she's incredibly freckly, and has one of the most contagious smiles I've ever seen. She, John, John's parents, Russell T Davies (who I now realise really is massive; last time I saw him at Cheltenham he was on a high stage, so I couldn't really tell), Euros, Caitlin and a couple of others all sat in the empty rows in the middle; a stone's throw away from us. I couldn't settle down; it was crazy, suddenly. We were watching Torchwood...with Torchwood! With the brains behind it, and the faces of it! I thought it was brilliant how informal the whole event was; they were suddenly with us for the experience, rather than being the distant stars. I loved it.
A figure within the BFI (Marcus something - I feel terrible that I've forgotten his name; I still giggled at John heckling him as soon as he'd started speaking, though!) introduced the guests and told us to "awww" that Gareth David-Lloyd wouldn't be there. I was a little miffed at first, but frankly, by the end of the evening, I'd had so much fun that I really didn't mind. I suspect, due to something someone said the night before, that he might have had some kind of lurgy from the Torchsong convention, but I'm not sure.
I spent the entire episode clutching Tara's hand in mine like a mad thing, and I think John and/or Eve may have noticed at some point, although I'm not sure. I either looked completely insane and twitchy (which I was), or we looked like a lesbian couple. Or both. Not that it mattered; her arm was just a good squee outlet!
As for the episode itself.
Fantastic! Absolutely, positively brilliant; when I'd first heard about the five-episode format I'd been irritated, but I can see now that it's going to work brilliantly, because you're constantly on the edge. Everything you watch is working towards something; ironically for a thriller, it seems, there's less rushing than in a normal episode to get to the climax. Things are left to unfold and characters and their traits can be explored without a set time limit on how long they have to express themselves, if that makes any sense.
The audience loved it; it was an incredible experience watching it with like-minded people, and I'll really miss watching the rest of series three without them!
Parts, character-wise, worthy of mention (to any blogspotters reading, this may not make much sense due to the assumption that most livejournalers already knew what happened in the episode through other peope):
- Rhys isn't in this episode much, but his first appearance is gold. It had the entire audience, including Eve and John, in hysterics.
- Jack and Ianto's dynamic has been really put in the foreground, and it works brilliantly; the banter snaps between them, and while they're closer than before and, in the words of Ianto and several others, "couple-y", there's an underlying thread of tension and uncertainty, and I can't wait to see how it continues. I'm starting to love this format; there's always more!
- Gwen is superb, here; whilst she was a little over-exposed in series one, the writing of her has improved considerably and she's kept her best qualities for this series; camaraderie, sympathy, wit. She's lovely, and she and Jack and Ianto function as a team incredibly well.
- I thought I wouldn't be able to watch Frobisher without thinking of Malcolm Tucker (they've even got the same accent - it was a little jarring hearing it at first), but Peter Capaldi was brilliant; apprehensive but resolute. In a way, actually, he was similar to Tucker; his actions are reprehensible, but you can't bring yourself to loathe him because he's pressured, he has to do what's necessary for his own survival. Obviously, he and Tucker handle crises different. And Tucker does the swearing for both of them.
- Rhiannon. Johnny. I LOVE THEM! I have a soft spot for Katy Wix from Not Going Out, and she is instantly likeable here, and the typical big sister; cutting and teasing and questioning, but listening to what he has to stay, and chastising him for staying away from them. Johnny is just hilarious; Lucy fell in love with him straight away. When he yelled "All right, gayboy!" I think the entire theatre just died with laughter; can't wait to see it on an icon!
- Ianto's explanation to Rhiannon about his relationship with Jack was one of my favourite parts of the episode; whilst what's between them has been amped up this series, it seems, Ianto's way of telling it was beautifully understated and hesistant; acknowledgement of something, but not something he can explain. (Of course, the moment was ruined/bested by Johnny marching in then explaining the SUV had been nicked.)
- I gave Tara's hand a squeeze and a half when Clem said, "You're pregnant!" out of the blue. Of course, I knew it could happen, but never suspected episode one! Obviously...YAY! Her reaction was spot-on; absolutely bewildered and stunned, and then that smile appears. It's wonderful. I'm still giggling at Jack's, "Ianto! We're having a baby!"
- Rupesh! How could I forget him? Lucy fell in love with him within minutes, and was shipping him and Gwen in even more minutes! The heel-face turn of Rupesh was incredible; nobody suspected it and it threw us all for a loop. I'm not sure who mentioned it, but I agree with whoever said that he was the Suzie Costello of series three. He was wonderful, though (despite his later...activities); so sincere and curious about what was going on behind closed doors; like Gwen at the beginning (as she herself notices).
- I think my heart melted when Ianto hugged Jack after he said he'd died. It was such a random and simple gesture, but so full of heart. I hope we see more of those.
- Just like Ianto with Rhiannon, Jack is incredibly cautious whilst around his daughter. Someone referred to it as "walking on eggshells", and she's right; he seems able to talk to her, but he can't quite penetrate the wall that she's built up around her and her son to prevent him from getting too close. She's like him, in a way; she knows the pain and the discomfort and, frankly, the weirdness that surrounds him, so she keeps her distance to prevent both him and her from suffering, and Jack's been seen as that, particularly around series one; he remains distant and secretive, because if he comes too close to someone it'll be worse for the both of them when the inevitable happens.
Having said that, he is adorable with Stephen!
- Ack, the kiss was too fast! I drank it in but it happened to quickly to even react properly; I can't actually remember what the audience response to it was. But, nevertheless, it shows how Jack feels; even through disaster, he's there for reassurance, for closeness.
- BOOM BADA BOOM goes the Hub, and I can't believe I have to wait another month before I can see episode two. And on my own, next time!
Oh, it was so good. I can guarantee that everyone will love it.
My favourite bits of the Q & A:
- Rusty trying to convince Eve to name her baby "Quincy", and her response of, "I'm not naming this child Quincy T Davies! Maybe the next one, though."
- When asked what it was like dealing with children, the mostly-quiet Euros Lyn piped up, "Electric cattle prods usually do the trick."
- John talking about the accident; how he slipped on the empty pool (Rusty chiming in, "It's a hard life, isn't it?"), and his impression of his mother kicking him to get up. "Go and get me...drink!"
- Caitlin Moran's question to Euros and Eve; "How do you explain the concept of Wales?"
- And, her asking Eve whether she'd found out about her pregnancy the traditional way, or whether someone had just come up to her in Cardiff and smelt her, a la Clem. Cue John and the audience hysterically laughing for about a minute and a half.
- John's impression of Captain Jack on a zimmer frame in Torchwood in forty years time; then he pointed to his very casted foot and said, "It's already happening!"
- Rusty teasing the "blonde lady" in the third row for apparently laughing at the concept of children in danger; "there are kids in bins!"
- Caitlin having to stop herself talking about what happens in episode two, and the rest of us yelling, "GO ON!"
- It emerging that, apparently, Torchwood is Nick Griffin's favourite programme. As a fan...urgh. I feel violated that such a bastard is sharing it. Still, it was fun to listen to all of them insult him.
- "When will we get a musical episode?" John saying that he hadn't seen the Buffy episode and everyone booing him, and then Rusty coming out with another corker; "It's just a shame nobody in the cast can sing!" Then, Eve talking about how it would go down for her; "I'll just in the background, throwing some shapes. I can throw a good shape." She then proceeded to throw a demonstrative shape. However besotted I was with her before this; I think it's doubled.
- Rusty talking about the Rupesh turn-around; "If only I'd written that he killed you with a flip-flop!" Cue John hysterically laughing again. I love how much he laughs!
- John and Eve. Oh, John and Eve. I could have happily spent the entire time watching those two; they're ridiculously adorable together, and it's clear that they're very close friends, constantly whispering and giggling and poking each other. It was so lovely to see them together for the first time.
- A guy asking a self-admitted "sci-fi geek" question about why the TARDIS couldn't pick up on any disturbance, and Rusty saying "that's answered!", everyone goes "Ooooo!", and John, with perfect timing, leans towards the microphone and says; "Touché."
- John and Eve's final exit; they were left behind because of John's hobbling on the crutches (which he was surprisingly adept at, actually; very fast). There was some pantomime jostling from Eve and she eventually slapped him on the arse to keep him moving, and they left to huge applause. Gah. I love them!
So. The night was already superb. But even more than the Q & A, the squee, the collective experience; my absolute favourite part was something different.
I'd had my hand up (complete with red book, and I'm sure Caitlin Moran noticed, if briefly) throughout the Q & A, hoping to ask something about the writing process; and since I knew that James Moran was in the audience, I was going to mention him in the question and say a quick appreciation of some sort. I wasn't called on, but as the Torchwood-ites left, I was hoping that he'd still be around.
As people were leaving, I saw him just above me talking to someone, and thought now or never.
I was so, so nervous. I read his blog all the time, and think he's a brilliant and hilarious man, and he's a brilliant source of info and advice for aspiring writers; he's refreshingly honest and frank about the process; he emerged from an aspiring screenwriter to a well-established film and television writer, and he shares his success with others and is a fantastic voice on the industry.
So, I told him all that. I told him (whilst stammering and probably sounding like a complete tit) that he was my writing inspiration (something which made him say "Oh, blimey." and look rather non-plussed; I'm not sure he's heard anyone tell him that!), and that, as an aspiring screenwriter myself, his advice was incredibly valuable and he was exactly where I wanted to be in the future. I was determined to get it out, and I'm so glad I did.
I mentioned that I read his blog, and he asked me what moniker I used, and he knew me! I was absurdly pleased that he'd recognised me; I'm a sad case, I know. I asked if he could sign my Torchwood postcard, and he did (whilst expressing disappointment that he didn't have one!), writing Writers are the BEST, due to something I'd haltingly said about writers not receiving the recognition they deserve, a lot of the time.
Then, and I can't believe I had the nerve to do this (as I'm a chicken, as previously established, yet my head was still now or nevering):
"How do you feel about hugs, or is that off-limits?"
"No, hugs are good!"
And we hugged, and he encouraged me to carry on writing, "really keep at it", and I literally floated away. I was so happy that I'd told him how inspiring he is to me (and, that I hugged him. Because he is awesome.), and I was just floating on air for hours afterwards.
Out in the lobby, the following people made my life complete:
Crystal and Robert; winning at life purely by posing. I loved them!
Derek, and...oh God. I feel utterly dreadful that I've forgotten the name of the guy on the left, because I made a point of asking him right before I left.
These guys were lovely. We'd talked to them on the way in, and stayed chatting for ages afterwards; talking about wacky surnames, the Torchwood episode, how brilliant it is being around fellow fans, Facebook, and general awesomeness. I'm attempting to contact Derek on Facebook and tag the picture on there; hope we meet again!
I bid farewell to Lucy, promising to see her again; it was wonderful to finally meet her, and I hope we can reunite one day, my dear!
Me and Tara walked back walking on air back to Waterloo, hugging and happy. I'd had one of the most fun evenings of my life; it was truly phenomenal, and was worth the blisters on my feet and the long journey back. I've seen Eve Myles, and Torchwood. I've shared with fellow fans. I've hugged James Moran.
At the risk of sounding soppy beyond reason; I was so happy.
Ow. This post has been two hours in the making. Must actually post it. But 'tis done!
...sorry about the rambling, blogspotters. If you made it to the end of that I admire your stamina.