Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Doctor Who and the Cobbles of Doom - fan review

Ex-Corrie producer Phil Collinson with compere Matthew Charlton aka @fictionstroker
Coronation Street Blog reader Nick Jay attended the recent event Doctor Who and the Cobbles of Doom at Taurus Bar in Manchester.  Nick's done this sterling write-up for the Coronation Street Blog from the event and in Nick's words: "... sorry it's a bit disjointed and I wish with hindsight that I'd had a way to record it and make my notes rather better than this but I was sat in front and trying to take notes as inconspicuously as I could whilst also trying to follow what was going on and being said...."

It's perfect, thanks Nick for doing this for us.  Here we go with Nick's write-up from Doctor Who and the Cobbles of Doom.

"The evening started at the Taurus at 7.45pm. Matthew Charlton, founder of Fiction Stroker (@fictionstroker) started off by welcoming everyone and introducing the evening's guest of honour, Phil Collinson. The first half of the evening looked at Phil's starting career and showed lots of assorted video clips of his work. He had been responsible, amongst other things, for the revival of Doctor Who as series producer and also some great storylines in Coronation Street. He produced the live 50th Corrie episode with the tram crash.

Corrie then had a story meeting as they were introducing a transvestite. He said the public hated it and he went from this great 50th episode to being a national parriah! The Sun devoted a whole page spread all about him and Phil said it was all lies! The Sun said that 3 million viewers had turned off but Andy Murray had been playing his semi-final match at Wimbledon and the end of another programme (can't remember which one now) and used them to say that he had been ramming 'gay' down people's throats but that story still had 6 million viewers!

Phil said he had been brought up on a normal council estate in Leeds. He said he had always tried to do realism in Corrie episodes and had to find a balance of realism that (90%) viewers could relate to. Richard Hillman had been trying to protect his family. He was a real man who loved his family and wanted to hang on to them and he said he was a joy to work with and that he loved doing this storyline. He said Corrie villains are multi-layered.

We then saw video clips of companions in Doctor Who who had also appeared in Corrie, including Elizabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith). He said Pat Phoenix had always called her Anita. Phil said that Rita is his favourite character and that Barbara Knox is amazing.

Kay Patrick, Phil Collinson and Matthew @fictionstroker
After a short break, Matthew and Phil were joined by Kay Patrick who had acted in Doctor Who and had also directed lots of episodes in Corrie. They talked about John Nathan Turner - Doctor Who was losing viewers but John had tried hard to improve things but it was at a time when the BBC didn't care and were trying hard to run the show down. Kay had worked with William Hartnell, the original Doctor in The Romans as a 20 year old actress just starting out on her acting career. She also said how hard it was sometimes doing live epsisodes and even those they had filmed they had to do in 2 or 3 takes because of the high cost of film and it was why sometimes mistakes had to be 'let in' because they couldn't afford to do qnother take.

We then watched a montage of clips of cliffhangers. Phil said that the internet was the spawn of the devil as far as leaking cliffhangers was concerned but how when they were able to lead fans and viewers down the garden path, it felt great. He said that his last episode was David Tennant's regeneration (episode 12 of series 4) and that they had added 2 million viewers between episodes 12 and 13 when it wasn't David Tennant's actual regeneration but "smoke and mirrors".

Phil said he and Russell T Davis were very good friends and that Russell made every character matter. Matthew asked if anyone knew how many actors who had portrayed the doctor were also in Corrie - nobody did but apparantly Patrick Troughton, the second doctor, had been in 2 episodes of Corrie in 1974.

Phil said his first job in television was as a script editor at Granada in 1997 and was the first time he met Russell. He went on to work on Emmerdale, Peak Practice and other shows.

We then watched some more Corrie clips, including Phil himself when he had acted in 1997 with Sean Lindsay, playing an insurance salesman before Deirdre's eventual downfall.

At 9.30pm there was a brief Q&A session. Phil said he had been responsible for Jack Duckworth's final scenes played by Bill Tarmey. Phil said he drove it through to be done the way it was with Liz coming back to play the ghost of Vera. Phil said he been slightly disappointed at the way Vera's final scenes had been done so with Jack he wanted it to be better. He had begged Bill not to go but Bill was adamant he had had enough and wanted to leave. Going back to the story, Phil said he had to push for it but was delighted to do it for such an iconic character as Jack.

The event finished at 9.40pm to a huge round of applause."

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2 comments:

Llifon said...

Well, Collinson has earned points for me as his fave character is also Rita! :)

Tvor said...

It sounds like it would have been interesting. As a fan of both shows I would have loved it!

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