Although the release of the latest box set in the Doctor Who: The Collection range isn’t for a few more weeks, the BFI hosted another of their highly anticipated screenings yesterday. It would prove to be a long and eventful day!

Darkness & Light – The Life of Graham Williams @ BFI Southbank (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

It was a very early start for some as Chris Chapman provided an introduction to a screening of the new documentary covering the life of Doctor Who’s eighth producer Graham Williams. Those who made it first thing on a Sunday morning would’ve been glad to have made the effort with a rewarding and very emotional experience. Sadly the Sunday morning start time did result in quite a few empty seats. This was a particular shame because this new documentary is simply majestic.

Darkness & Light – The Life of Graham Williams – Chris Chapman introduction @ BFI Southbank (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Darkness and Light: The Life of Graham Williams’ follows the mould of another film about a former Doctor Who producer. ‘Showman: The Life of John Nathan-Turner’ was the highlight of the Season 26 box set. However, this new film is even more special and particularly poignant. Featuring newly shot interviews with family, friends and colleagues, Graham Williams’ story is told beautifully. I smiled. I laughed. And I cried. This documentary should be the first thing that fans watch when they get their boxsets next month. Congratulations to Chris Chapman and all who worked on the film. An incredible tribute to an often overlooked individual in Doctor Who history.

Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock @ BFI Southbank (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Horror of Fang Rock

After a short break to regain our emotional composure, NFT1 was the venue once again. Justin Johnson and Dick Fiddy were our hosts as the event got underway. First on stage to discuss ‘Horror of Fang Rock’ was sound supremo Mark Ayres who discussed his work on the four episodes we were about to see. As an extra treat actor, comedian and Doctor Who fan Frank Skinner was encouraged up on stage to discuss his memories of the story before settling in like the rest of the audience to enjoy the four episodes.

Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock @ BFI Southbank – Dick Fiddy and Chris Thompson (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Following the first two episodes Dick Fiddy interviewed Chris Thompson who has created new effects for ‘Horror of Fang Rock’. Alongside the steam yacht crashing onto the rocks and other elements, the most notable addition is the new Rutan, which Thompson brought along. There was plenty of debate around this particular update when the trailer and cover art were released. Watching Part 4 and the Rutan in all it’s green glory, the new version works very well. But you always have the option to watch the original if you prefer.

Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock @ BFI Southbank – Chris Thompson shows off the new Rutan with Justin Johnson (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Louise Jameson steals the show

Following Fang Rock the audience enjoyed ‘The Final Battle’ on the big screen. This trailer for Season 15 box set provided an opportunity for writer Pete McTighe and Louise Jameson to join Justin Johnson on stage to discuss it. Despite only a limited time to film and a very small crew, the results are extremely impressive. No wonder it is the most watched trailer so far. Unfortunately, McTighe alluded to the fact that these are becoming increasingly difficult to top so there may need to be a break from these specially shot trailers.

Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock @ BFI Southbank – Justin Johnson, Pete McTighe and Louise Jameson (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

The finale of the event saw actors John Abbott (Vince) and Annette Woollett (Adelaide) join Louise Jameson and Justin Johnson on stage to share recollections of ‘Horror of Fang Rock’. Popular topics of conversation included Tom Baker, director Paddy Russell and producer Graham Williams. It was a lively discussion and of course the infamous scene where Leela slaps a hysterical Adelaide was an easy recollection for those involved. However, it was Louise Jameson who was particularly fabulous, reveling in the adoration from the audience. Her time on the show may not have been as long as other companions but Leela’s impact is undeniable. A character who still resonates to this day!

Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock @ BFI Southbank – Justin Johnson, Louise Jameson, John Abbott and Annette Woollett (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

The after party

Those in attendance were also treated to some short clips from other special features on the new box set with Katy Manning getting the biggest audience reactions from the ‘Behind the Sofa’ clips. A new trailer for Season 15 was also shown which will no doubt be released on March 18th when The Collection set hits the shops. As usual festivities spilled out into the BFI bar where the Quiz of Rassilon took place. The queue for autographs with the cast members present also seemed to extend the length of the BFI Southbank. Once again Doctor Who proved a popular attraction, demonstrating why tickets for these events are so sought after.

Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock @ BFI Southbank – Justin Johnson and Louise Jameson (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

BlogtorWho wishes to thank all those at the BFI for another fantastic event. Only a few weeks to wait for the next one with a screening of ‘The Celestial Toymaker’ animation!

Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 15 is available to preorder now from AmazonHMVZavvi and Rarewaves in the UK.

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