The first thing I can tell you is, this wasn’t nearly as hard to get into as the SDCC ’09 panel – you remember that one, Rich, with the extra-sized line outside the Convention Center before 7 a.m. My two friends and I arrived at the queue outside CBS Studios around two hours before call time and were near the front, assuring us we’d at least get in.
But I was rather surprised at the lack of cosplay; out of the 100 or so people that eventually made it into the audience, only one person arrived in full-on Eleventh Doctor gear. Aside from that, I counted only three fezzes and two bowties.
The oddest (Oodest?) moments of the afternoon, however, were initiated by staffers: Before we made our way toward the studio, we were asked, albeit courteously, to reassure the producer that the show “was as much about Craig Ferguson as it was about Doctor Who.” Later, we were told, “When the producer asks if you’re fans of Doctor Who … don’t everybody yell.” It struck me as counter-productive: why promote the show as a DW special if you weren’t willing to show the fanbase some love? Besides, as I said earlier, it’s not like the crowd was waving Sonic Screwdrivers around. For whatever reason, we never got to speak to the producer.
After a couple of hours’ wait time outside the CBS Studios lot, we were herded in front of the studios, strongly encouraged to use the bathroom before the tapings started, checked our cell phones and cameras at the security desk – feel free to insert your own TSA joke here, everyone – before finally heading into the studio, where the warm-up comedian mentioned the possibility of DW-related gifts for everyone for being good “show-enhancers.”
The failure to air the original cold open seemed to legitimately bug Ferguson; he told us about the show’s failure to get clearance before taping the on-camera explanation with the group. But, we did get to see the performance, which had already been taped. I won’t spoil much of it here, in case it actually does get leaked online, but it focuses on the phrase, “Intellect and Romance beat Brute Force and Cynicism,” features a cameo by Matt Smith and uses the Orbital version of the show’s theme, which we know Smith is familiar with.
There’s not much to say about Smith’s appearance than what you saw on the air; neither he nor Chris Hardwick interacted with the audience off-camera, as each of them shuffled back toward the green room when their segments ended. But the lone cosplayer’s moment of glory, when he appeared on camera following Smith’s acknowledgement of the bowtie, was actually shot at the end of the taping.
After taping this episode, we took part in the taping of an interview for Thursday’s show, during which Ferguson asked Jeff Goldblum if he’s circumcised, and it was revealed that Ferguson played Brad Majors in a West End production of The Rocky Horror Show. Finally, following all the taping, and Ferguson’s thanking us before exiting, and shooting the bit with the cosplayer, we got our reward after all: complimentary Series Five DVD sets – the ones with the hologram cover, not the Steelbook edition, but I’m not complaining – with the nifty “limited edition” picture cards included. Ahhh, new DVD smell …