Longleat remembered

Longleat HouseSo where were you on April 3rd 1983? Well I, like many, many others was in Longleat to attend the Doctor Who celebration. There is a whole separate story to be told about travelling up on a whim with no ticket, no accommodation and staying in Salisbury the night before. I also didn’t get in on the second day but did manage to be one of the hordes on the first.

What do I remember of this infamous event? Keep reading and find out…

The main thing I learned

Don’t queue up for signatures if there is any queue at all. I wasted most of the my time that Sunday queueing to get a handful of postcards signed by a very fraught set of actors (including Peter Davison). This was of course a symptom of the general over-subscription. I duly got a handful of cards which over the years I have lost.

I also took some photos which I have also lost! Despite having been to several conventions before, including a WorldCon, I still hadn’t learned not to lost time queueing. The lesson has now been taken on board and I don’t queue for anyone’s signature any more. Thirty years late all I really have is memories so I should have spent more time getting those than queuing in a hot tent.

My main regret

All the time I was stuck in a tent I missed a screening of Dalek Invasion of Earth. This being before DVDs and VHS being in its infancy I had not seen this before (except maybe as a child) and I was distraught at not taking up the opportunity. It would be man years later before I finally saw it and if I ever get a time machine this will be one of the bits of history I will be re-writing.

What I did see though

I did spent some time watching the sale of props. Amongst all the pieces of outfits and masks I was fascinated to watch the Key To Time get sold. Most interesting was that despite being 6 pieces in the story there were (I think) ten actual props as there were single pieces plus composites made to show the key in its part-reassembled state.

Other curios

I walked around looking at stage sets and random non-Doctor Who props. I photographed the time ship from Flip Side of Dominic Hyde and also took pictures of the Brigadier’s Office. My memory of each is how basic and cheap the looked. The camera didn’t take in all the detail so office walls and time-ship consoles could be very simply made and look fine on-screen. This is something I know has caused issues with the move to HD filming.

And finally…

Overall I had an interesting Sunday and spent the night back in Salisbury in a B&B. I went back on the Monday to be turned away at the door. Looking back I am glad I went but could have done a lot more with the experience. Will I be going to the big 2013 spectacular in London for the anniversary? I don’t think so but time will tell.

What about you? Were you at Longleat? What do you remember? Let me know!

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