No Doctor Who Panel At ComicCon

From the San Diego ComicCon Unofficial Blog, there will not be a Doctor Who panel at ComicCon this year!  I’m very glad I wasn’t able to attend, as this would be my main reason for heading to SDCC:

The line for Hall H may have just gotten a whole lot shorter on Sunday.

On Tuesday, June 10, BBC America and the BBC Worldwide announced a global Doctor Who tour to promote the upcoming season, with the tour coming to New York City on August 14. In the press release, it was mentioned that “Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman will appear together for the first time in the US when they arrive in New York”. The only problem with that? San Diego Comic-Con is nearly a month earlier, on July 24-27.

So what does that mean for Doctor Who‘s appearance at the convention? Nothing good, as it turns out.

A representative at BBC America confirmed to us that there will indeed be no Doctor Who panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

While there’s still likely to be some Doctor Who happenings around the convention – BBC has already called for fan art to decorate its booth, which typically sells Doctor Who themed merchandise, and last year also saw an offsite fan meetup for the 50th Anniversary – there definitely won’t be a panel at this year’s event. And considering the announcement about Capaldi and Coleman’s first US appearance being in August, we don’t expect any festivities BBC America has planned to include the two stars on site.

Doctor Who had previously skipped SDCC in 2010, in a year that would have also introduced fans to a new doctor (the then first-timer Matt Smith). Since its 2011 return, the show had gotten an upgrade to Hall H on Sundays, the day when some of the most anticipated television shows (Supernatural, Community, Breaking Bad) have taken over. Doctor Who is typically considered the linchpin of that line-up, so it will be interesting to see how its loss affects Sunday’s programming schedule this year.

While the loss of Doctor Who is unfortunate, we still fully expect BBC America to have the same level of involvement in the convention as they have in previous years. We already know that they will once again have a booth, and we wouldn’t be surprised by panel appearances from Orphan Black (assuming the show is renewed for a third season) or the upcoming paranormal series The Intruders, starring John Simm and Mira Sorvino.

Are You Artistic?

BBC America will have a booth at San Diego Comic-Con showcasing fan art again this year.  Would you like your art shown?  All you have to do is submit it, and it could happen!

ArtContest

Coleman Interview

Jenna Coleman talked to The Guardian about her career, ComicCon, Matt Smith’s last episode… all kinds of stuff:

San Diego’s Comic-Con festival, held each July, is the densest concentration of nerds in our galaxy. For the duration, grown men and women walking around in superhero costumes is the norm, not the exception. Earlier this year, Jenna Coleman – the 27-year-old actor formerly known as Jenna-Louise Coleman (only her mum still calls her Jenna-Louise apparently) – went to her first Comic-Con. There were 130,000-plus attendees; tickets had sold out in 93 minutes. Along with Matt Smith, her co-star in Doctor Who, she spent four days being spirited through hotel kitchens, out of back doors and into cars with forbiddingly opaque windows.

Not that Coleman and Smith remained incognito for long. “Nice costumes!” they screamed out of the car window at one middle-aged couple dressed as the Doctor and Clara, their characters from the series. The man didn’t recognise them, but “Clara” did, and appeared to start convulsing on the pavement. “The most embarrassing thing is that the traffic is so bad that you don’t go anywhere,” says Coleman. “So all you can do is sit there and put the window up.”

Comic-Con was Coleman’s first proper exposure to the fanaticism of the Whovians. She had never watched Doctor Who before she became the new “companion”, but the responses to her performances have been effusive, bordering on obsessive. Doctor Who blogs – of which there are legion – praise her as quick-witted and independent yet vulnerable, and are particularly taken with the flirtatious relationship she has with Smith’s Doctor – a spark that was absent with his previous companion Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan. Or, as Matt Smith himself put it: “Clara’s different from Amy. He has more chance of snogging Clara.”

While Coleman knew Doctor Who inspired extreme passions, it had not really hit home until Comic-Con. “I was always asked how I had found the fans, but I’d just been filming in Cardiff,” she says. “At Comic-Con it was amazing to see how far-reaching it is. I thought I’d be overwhelmed, but I was humbled. It’s something that Matt says: the star is the show.”

That maxim is more obvious than ever this year as Doctor Who celebrates its 50th birthday. The centrepiece is a 75-minute special on 23 November called the Day of the Doctor, which was shot in 3D and will be shown on BBC1 and in 400 cinemas across eight countries. The episode will bring together Smith and Coleman with some of their predecessors, including David Tennant and Billie Piper, and introduce a new “dark” Doctor, John Hurt.

After that, Smith will be hanging up his bow tie and vintage Harris Tweed jacket in the Christmas special. The speculation over his successor, which shared a hysteria in common with the announcement of a new pope, ended in August when Peter Capaldi was unveiled on primetime television as the new pontiff – sorry, 12th Doctor. Coleman only found out herself a short time before the rest of us.

“They told me and Matt when Prince Charles and Camilla came to the set,” says Coleman. “We were both: ‘Ahhh, of course.’ It takes you a few moments – I don’t think he was on any of the original lists. People were talking about Rory Kinnear and people like that, but as soon as you say it, you’re like: ‘Of course.’ As Steven Moffat [Doctor Who‘s lead writer] said: ‘He’s the Doctor.’ And it’s brilliant that we’ve gone so different from Matt.”

Smith’s final appearance, however, will clearly be a wrench. “I just read the script the other night,” says Coleman. “I’d been putting it off for ages and ages, because once you read the last page, that’s it, the story is over. So I read 10 pages on the tube and I stopped, and then I picked it up again the other day and finished it. I was an absolute mess, an absolute wreck. But it’s good; it’s sad, but it’s what needs to happen. It’s perfect.”

Everything is looking good for Coleman right now, but, over a coffee in an east London café, there is a wariness as she talks about her career. It is not so long, after all, since she was unable to book an audition – for anything. She worked in a bar and attempted to get into Rada, but froze in her admission interview, forgot all her lines and was turned away. “I’d always wanted to be an actress,” she admits. “I was like: ‘What if I’ve been wrong all along?'”

Coleman does not come from a long line of performers. She was born in Blackpool (“a great place for a Doctor Who episode: it’s weird, quite romantic, but it’s not found what it’s supposed to be now”) and her dad – who has a business, with her brother, fitting the interiors of bars and shops – would watch her in school productions and wonder where the acting bug had come from. Aged 11, Coleman appeared as a bridesmaid in the musical Summer Holiday with Darren Day, and the singer gave her a Debenhams voucher as a thank you.

She had some wild moments in her teens – “I was a bit rebellious from 14 to 17, if you know what I mean” – but pulled it round to become head girl at Arnold School and get good grades. Coleman had a place at York University to study English literature, but was offered a spot on Emmerdale and took that instead. It was great – lots of acting experience, decent pay, living in Leeds – until her storylines dried up. “I had about six months where I wasn’t doing very much on a day-to-day basis, just going into the pub and sat having a chat,” she recalls. “So that’s when I decided to leave, and that’s when I ended up getting storylines.”

Coleman’s not kidding. In short order, her character Jasmine Thomas had a lesbian affair with her best friend Debbie and became pregnant by her father, Cain Dingle. She had an abortion and another fling with a local copper, Shane Doyle, before clubbing him to death with a chair leg and being sent to the slammer.

But after almost four years on the soap, Coleman couldn’t get another job. She moved to London, took some bar shifts and started an Open University degree in English before deciding to try her luck in Los Angeles. There she rented a room off an old lady in West Hollywood and went to auditions most days.

“I was going for parts I was never in a million years going to get,” she says. “Like a 30-year-old wife, and at this point I looked so young – not that I look much older now. But it wasn’t about that. I just relished walking into an audition room with people with an open mind and getting to read. I must have had 40-odd auditions in three months – it was relentless, but I came back to England a lot more fearless.”

Coleman did get one part: the “tiniest, tiniest thing” in the 2011 tights-and-fights action film Captain America: The First Avenger. But that was enough. It led to a bigger role in the BBC4 adaptation of John Braine’s novel Room at the Top, which led to Julian Fellowes casting her in Titanic, which led to Stephen Poliakoff choosing her for Dancing on the Edge, which aired on BBC2 this year.

Any struggles certainly seem long distant now. Next month Coleman will appear in the BBC three-parter Death Comes to Pemberley, PD James’s smart, what-happened-next take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The action starts six years on and Coleman plays Lydia Wickham (née Bennet), Elizabeth’s younger and perennially self-absorbed sister.

“Lydia’s basically very hysterical, and I’ve had a lot of licence to go wild with it,” Coleman says. “I went through the book and I wrote down all the words she’s described as and it’s like: ignorant, idle, wild, volatile, indulgent. The director was like: ‘We should want to slap you in the face.'”

Between Doctor Who and Death Comes to Pemberley, time travel and period drama, Coleman says she has had a hectic few months. She has barely been home and hardly seen her boyfriend, Richard Madden, who has been quite busy himself as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones. “We’re both young and I want us both to have our adventures and do our thing,” she says. “But if you want something to work, it’ll work.”

In fact, the problem, Coleman finds, is the real world becomes rather dull when you are not slaying Cybermen all day. “Doing Doctor Who you’re on a cloud, doing stunts, being dropped in gloop,” she says. “Then suddenly you stop and I’ll be walking round thinking: ‘Real life is actually a bit boring.'”

TV Guide Yacht

Did you know TV Guide had a YACHT at ComicCon?

Back At ComicCon

During ComicCon (I know, I know) io9 got a chance to interview Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat.  Since I know you’re interested:

Read it HERE!

Jenna Coleman Interview

About a week and a half ago Zap2It had an interview with Jenna Coleman where she talked about everything from ComicCon to food.  Yes, I’m just getting around to it now.  Sorry!  Read on below:

Jenna Coleman might be the luckiest girl in the “Doctor Who” universe. She joined the show as the Doctor’s mysterious companion, Clara, in its 50th Anniversary season and found herself working with Matt Smith on his final episodes. Soon, she’ll help usher in a brand new Twelfth Doctor (to be announced in a live international TV special airing this weekend).

In less than a year’s time, she’s acted alongside famous guest stars including Diana Rigg, John Hurt, Warwick Davis, Richard E. Grant and David Warner and just recently made her first trek to Comic-Con (where her boyfriend, actor Richard Madden, also turned up to promote HBO’s “Game of Thrones”).

We sat down with Coleman for a one on one chat during the recent TCA summer press tour to discuss “Who”-mania, the upcoming 50th Anniversary and Christmas specials, what it was like working with iconic stars from “Who” past, and (because we couldn’t resist) what she thought of the “Game of Thrones” Red Wedding.

We even had a special guest interrupt the conversation…

Let’s talk a little bit about the 50th. I know you can’t say too much, but what was the vibe like on set, since it was the 50th Anniversary special. Did it feel like a regular episode?

Jenna Coleman: No, it didn’t. It was different in so many ways. Because it’s 3D, the way of shooting is totally different. The cameras are a lot bigger. It takes a lot more time with set ups, and actually filming the show. Also, just having so many people on set. It’s such an ensemble cast, with the three Doctors, with Billie Piper, myself, lots of different characters.

It was a really nice feeling because every day felt like a celebration. There was just a buzz. You knew you were part of something special, and part of the history of the show. There was that kind of atmosphere around. I have to think it will be lovely to look back in a few years and be like, ‘Cool, I was part of that whole thing!’

It looks like David Tennant and Matt Smith have terrific chemistry together judging by the Comic-Con trailer. Was that evident on the set too?

Yeah, from the read-through actually. You read it in the script, and you’re like, ‘This is brilliant. This is brilliant.’ It was so snappy. And just the kind of the humor that David’s doctor has, and then Matt — they’re very different doctors, very different but also there’s definitely a meeting of minds in humor. Then there’s also the antagonistic stuff as well going on. And John Hurt is completely his own [Doctor]. It’s just a great dynamic of the three of them being the one person.

Had you met Billie Piper before or was this the first time?

This was the first time I had met her. I heard a lot about her. Matt’s really good friends with Billie, so I felt like I met her before.

Did you compare companion notes at all?

It’s funny, the stuff you talk about is more like the logistics of like, ‘Oh yeah, I used to eat at this place.’ ‘Well, actually did you know about this place?’ ‘Oh, I stayed in this place.’ We shared notes on that kind of thing, and then we just really got on. She’s great to have around. She’s got such a good energy on set as well. We all had special chairs made for us for the 50th. In between takes and stuff like that, we’d sit around and it was just like a big family.

It sounds exciting.

It was, and we’d all get Nando’s at lunch. Do you have that here?

I haven’t heard of it.

It’s like a spicy chicken take-away. We’d all bond over Nando’s. It was everybody’s birthday as well, which was weird. It was my birthday, David’s birthday, Joe, our lead cameraman’s, birthday. I’d never been on a shoot with so much cake!

Did John Hurt eat Nando’s also?

No, John wasn’t into Nando’s.

I had to ask! Switching topics a bit, Steven Moffat said at Comic-Con that he’s still writing the Christmas Special with Matt’s departure. I’m not asking for spoilers but do you know anything about it at all?

I know a tiny little bit, but to be honest, I like to wait for script. I like to read it as the page turns.

At what point did you find out Matt would be leaving?

It was always [talked about] from day one. It’s not a decision that he’s made lightly, and it’s something that we’ve been all talking about for a while, so I kind of knew from the start, really, that, that was what was going to happen.

Did you get any reassurance for Clara that if the Doctor leaves, she would stay?

I’m trying to think how it went. I think the idea was, as it always is in the show, we get to know the doctor and a companion for a couple of seasons before they move on.

I definitely don’t want to see her go yet. We’ve only spent half a season with her, and during that time she was mostly a mystery.

That’s what I’m very excited about is that we can actually get the more human side. We couldn’t get to know too much about her because she was a mystery last year. It’s going to be nice just to have her as a human, as a girl. There’s quite a lot to explore still, I think.

When David Tennant left he was on his own, but Matt’s departure seems more similar to when Christopher Eccleston left and Rose got to continue with another Doctor.

It’s only been done once with Rose, I think. At the moment, it feels like a blank canvas. It’s totally in Steven’s mind. That’s what’s kind of exciting, with the nature of the show, we could go anywhere with it. I suppose there is an element of starting again as well which is always so exciting about the show.

I don’t know how they did this with Billie, but have you been involved in the casting process for the Twelfth Doctor in terms of chemistry tests or things like that?

Yeah, I think it’s a good way to do it. Obviously I had a few auditions with Matt, and I know Matt read with some of the [other] potential companions. I think it’s really good for the writers as well to see us read together.

It’s going to be exciting to have a front row seat to the casting because I’ve been on the other side of it quite a lot on different jobs. I’ve never actually been the girl reading with them, so it’s interesting. I like to see lots of different actors do the same scene, and how different they can make it and what they can do.

Have you started thinking at all about your own ending on the show? The Doctor’s companions are always leaving, and this seems like a very exciting time to be a part of “Doctor Who” because Arthur [Darvill] and Karen [Gillan] and Matt have all gone on to great roles.

Yeah. I saw Arthur on Broadway [in ‘Once’]! His voice is insane. I don’t know. It still feels very much like I’m at the beginning, but what’s quite nice is I’m working on something else [BBC miniseries ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’] at the moment. I sort of have a break and then I have another break, after Matt goes, later in the year because I know I’m not shooting until January. It means I get to explore other projects and come back, and that keeps me very happy.

What’s your role in “Pemberley” like?

I’m playing Lydia Wickham, who is, I apologize already to every single viewer because the director gave me the note, ‘We all should want to slap you in the face,’ so I’m basically as annoying and awful and hysterical a drama queen as possible. I’ve had a great time having a license to just be ridiculous, basically. But everybody else has to sit and witness it, so sorry about that.

I hope it’s okay to ask a “Game of Thrones” question, but what was your reaction to the Red Wedding, since you must have known that was coming?

I think my reaction was just this [jaw drops], for about five minutes. That’s something that I knew was coming, but it was just hand over mouth, shock.

And at Comic-Con you shared a panel with David Bradley [who plays Walder Frey on “Game of Thrones” and stars in the upcoming “Doctor Who” docudrama “An Adventure in Space and Time”], had you ever met him before?

No. He was in [‘Doctor Who’] but that was before I was. He’s a good friend of my boyfriend’s, and also Matt has said some wonderful things about David Bradley. He’s a rock star. He’s cool. You know somebody is a good actor when it makes you feel uncomfortable, afterwards even.

[At this point Matt Smith jumps in briefly to tease Coleman.]

Matt Smith: Is she still going on? I’m really sorry. She’s really boring.

I can’t get her to stop talking!

[Coleman to Smith:] Pipe down, Smith. Go eat some caramel wafers.

[Smith walks away smiling.]

Sorry about him.

It’s funny he did that because he keeps mentioning the great friendships that he’s made on the show, and it must be a little sad to think that he’ll be leaving soon.

I’ll miss him. I will so miss him. We don’t say things like that to each other. But I just can’t imagine it yet. That’s the thing, I don’t need to because we’ve not finished. We have yet to say our goodbyes and yet to even read those goodbyes, so I’ve not moved on. I’ve not dumped him just yet, you know what I mean?

You want to make the most of it.

Oh, massively. [Smith’s first full episode] ‘Eleventh Hour’ is one of my favorite episodes, and it’s one of Matt’s as well. I think he’s been such an incredible, amazing Doctor. [The Christmas special] is going to be such a tribute to Matt, and to the Eleventh Doctor.

We both just want to really go in there and make it up there with ‘Eleventh Hour’ — as strong as possible to give him the best goodbye possible. It’s gonna be exciting. Coming to Comic-Con, and seeing the trailers and things like that, you’re like, ‘Aw, I missed that,’ because we hadn’t done it for a couple of months. It’s like, ‘Let’s get ourselves back to Cardiff, and make some “Doctor Who”!’

The “Doctor Who” 50th Anniversary Special airs worldwide Nov. 23.

Smith And Coleman Geek Week

Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman have filmed some special videos for YouTube’s Geek Week.

First, we have 510 Doctor Who facts:

And next, a survival guide for San Diego’s ComicCon (which I will attend someday… I hope)