Doctor Who at the BFI – Mindwarp With Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant.

There’s nothing quite like getting to watch Doctor Who on the big screen, but when it’s a Doctor Who story from your childhood and you’re in the company of the great and the good involved in making it, then it’s just that little more special.

Mindwarp isn’t one of the stories instantly hailed as a classic amongst the fanbase, but it fills an almost Empire Strikes Back spot in the running order of the season, its fun, over the top and incredibly dark at times and it sees the departure of a companion before she truly got the chance to have the relationship she deserved with ‘her’ Doctor. Something Nicola vaguely touched on herself during the Q&A after the screening, explaining that she was essentially, but graciously, asked to move on by then producer John Nathan Turner as it wasn’t seemly for a companion to stay onboard the TARDIS for a longer time than the Doctors were – three years, despite only getting one full season onscreen.

As a multitude of patchwork coats gathered in the foyer, gift shops and bar of the impressive and comfortable BFI it was nice to see that a for-all-too-long looked down on era of the show was getting some love, and the entire screening (and some unfortunate but quickly resolved technical issues. Yes, Brian Blessed’s performance destroyed the BFI!) were met with positivity and good cheer from the audience. During the interval following the first two episodes we were treated to a fascinating discussion with Mark Ayres and Richard Hartley. Hartley was the creator of the original score for Mindwarp and had to recreate it from scratch for the forthcoming Blu-Ray release as the originals no longer exist, not as easy a task as it may sound initially, however I can confirm it sounds near on identical to the original and in 5.1 comes alive. Congratulations to both Hartley and Mark Ayres particularly for the amazing work he is doing restoring the sound and music for these releases.

During the previously mentioned technical issues we were also treated to a look at the original Kiv costume, which was kindly displayed by its owner, Phil Newman.

Not only were we spoiled by an extended cut of Mindwarp, with added and alternative scenes which never feel unnecessary or out of place, we also got a sneaky look at some of the extras we can enjoy on the Season 23 set. Tegan’s Ocker Balls anyone?

Once the main feature and extras were over it was time for a discussion with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant that was deeply personal, heartfelt and utterly sincere. The love they both have for the show, its fans and their characters shines through and despite their treatment its clear that Colin never blamed or held ill will to the show or its fans, in fact he even felt compelled to apologise for not thinking of the fans when he was asked about filming his regeneration. Not that he had or has anything to apologise for, he was placed in an unenviable position and had to look for work, who could or would commit to two weeks work a few months down the line when today and tomorrow are the priority?

Colin and Nicola then did a meet a greet with the fans, and a few of us gathered in the bar (with excellent service!) to spend the rest of the afternoon talking about our favourite subject, Doctor Who. What a day of celebration…. Many more please! Jeff Goddard

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