10 Things We Learned from the Australian WHONIVERSE Events



As of Sunday evening, the mega five stop WHONIVERSE Australian tour wrapped up with a decently attended event at Adelaide’s Town Hall. The crowd may have been smaller than that of Melbourne (held the day previous), but as the guests and fans noted throughout, the grandeur and general historic ambience of the venue and setting Adelaide provided for the special event was a big highlight of the day.

But let’s take it back to 2013, for those who may be wondering what the hell I’m on about. Popular fan convention organisers The Hub Productions announce that for a select few dates in March 2014, Australian Doctor Who fans would be able to meet and host the popular trio of Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill – somewhat of a huge coup, being able to secure main cast members for a decent period of time as it was. But then things kinda fall off the rails: Smith pulls out due to personal commitments and Gillan’s work commitments see the Scottish actress have to pull out as well. While Darvill manages to make it out to Australia last year for another convention, this Doctor Who specific event was put on the backburner until it could be reorganised. And thankfully, The Hub came through for another shot; announcing that Smith, Gillan and Alex Kingston would be on board for the WHONIVERSE Australian tour to take place in May 2015.

Sure, it may have been an expensive venture for many Who fans in Australia – general admission tickets pushed $150 – but as the tour evidently showed, people were willing to turn up to meet the stars of the beloved show and they turned up in force. Sadly again, Gillan’s commitments in the US meant she was only able to attend the final two dates of the tour but even then, Doctor Who alum Freema Agyeman was a highlight of the Sydney, Brisbane and Perth events for many fans.

We attended the Adelaide event yesterday and after following the updates of this tour, we give you 10 things we learned as a result of being able to meet and engage with not only the guests (albeit briefly), but the fans who attended these events as well.

 1. Matt Smith is as wonderful with children as the 11th Doctor was.

For a lot of children in attendance at not only the Adelaide event, but elsewhere on the tour, having The Doctor in attendance and holding his attention for however long was obviously a nerve-wracking experience. Hell, for anyone it was. However, listening to the 32 year old take particular care and emphasis in addressing questions put to him by the kids was great to see, especially considering his character on the show displayed similar qualities to the point it was a recognisable feature of his Doctor’s personality. “That is a very good question,” he’d often answer, before delivering a thoughtful (often brilliantly funny) response and no doubt making that child feel like he/she was the most important person in the room.

Outside the official events, Smith visited the Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth alongside Kingston and girlfriend, Cinderella actress Lily James, spending a few hours meeting and playing with young patients, while those who were too sick to leave their wards had a special visit from Smith during the day.



2. ‘Pond and Beyond’: Karen and Alex advocate for Amy & River taking over the TARDIS.

The concept of having a female Doctor leading the show is one that fans, critics and anyone with a passing interest in the show has debated more in the last few years than ever. When asked who they’d like to play a female Doctor if that came up in the future, both Gillan and Kingston reckon the lady behind the dynamic and fierce AF River Song would be perfect for the role. Laughing, they urged the budding sci-fi writers in the crowd to pen a story that would see Amy Pond return as companion to River Song’s Doctor, having mother/daughter adventures through time and space.

Think about it. It would be awesome.

Unlikely and ridden with plot holes. But awesome.

3. The Doctor Who family remains incredibly close and friendly.

This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but again, it’s something we only got a full grasp on when sitting in and listening to conversations and stories the actors would tell during the course of the event. Matt revealed that he lives close to Billie Piper and so they see each other quite frequently, while perhaps the biggest give away that this is a tight-knit crew would be the video back and forth that went down between Smith, Agyeman and Kingston in Brisbane and David Tennant and Piper in the US, who were appearing at a fan event in Philadelphia at the same time.  If you’ve not gotten around these videos, watch below.

4. Transitioning into other roles post-Who is still a challenge for Matt.

Coming out of Doctor Who in 2013, Smith has since been working both onstage and in film in roles which definitely put him outside of the realms of family-friendly science fiction TV. Recently, he’s taken on the lead role of Patrick Bateman in a recent stage adaptation of American Psycho (one of his favourite parts), was part of Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut Lost River and can be next seen in the new Terminator Genysis film alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney. His role? Still shrouded in secrecy, but the rumours surrounding him as one of the or the main antagonist in the film are currently wildly popular. When asked directly if he could reveal any details, Matt jokes that a sniper is positioned to take him out should he say anything, followed by someone pointing a red pen-laser at his head.

He does comment that his transition into roles that will do well in preventing him from being totally typecast is still a journey, much in the same way we’d imagine it is for Gillan, who is currently involved in a number of projects in the US. For Smith, he seems to take it all in his stride and if anything, it’s kept him grounded as a person. He came across as a normal guy who definitely hasn’t had success in one role blind him from the challenges all working actors deal with otherwise.

5. “What if nobody knew who I was?”: Matt remembers appearing at Glastonbury with Orbital

In 2010, Smith appeared on stage with Orbital at Glastonbury to introduce the pair’s famous remix of the Doctor Who theme tune. Having only just stepped into the role, he admitted in Adelaide that facing upwards of 40,000 music fans on the Sunday night of the festival was so daunting it kept him sober up until he’d made the introduction and that he worried about people still not knowing who he was. He went on to reveal his love for the festival and that he would’ve ideally liked to have done the moment in character, with a TARDIS on stage – the whole package.

The BBC wasn’t having it, however.

Rewatch the video below, we think he did alright.

6. Matt ranks Peter Sellers as one of his favourite actors and studied The Pink Panther for Doctor Who inspiration.

Answering another question put to him by one of the younger members of the audience, Smith says he ranks the classic British actor as one of his absolute favourites and would watch The Pink Panther films when he was still figuring out how he was going to play The Doctor out onscreen. The comedic elements are evident between the two characters, Smith adding he loved the clown aspect to Sellers’ performance and advised the kids in the crowd to watch The Pink Panther series when they were older.

Asking the young boy who his favourite actor was earned a stunned silence in return, before Smith cheekily comments, “It’s alright if you want to say me…”. Unsurprisingly, the crowd went wild with laughter as a small, “MATT!” was volleyed back up to the stage.

7. “Vincent and The Doctor” still makes Alex Kingston cry.

Because she’s human, of course.

During her Q&A session with Gillan, Kingston admitted that the Season 5 episode “Vincent and The Doctor” still reduces her to tears. Gillan too noted the episode as being an emotional one to make, commending the work of Tony Curran – of all the guest stars she’d have liked to work with more, Curran ranks highly for her just because of his brilliance and simply because ‘he’s Scottish’!

8. Daleks and Sea Devils: Karen & Alex talk the Doctor Who monsters they’d like to play.

When asked what villainous Doctor Who character they’d return to the show as, if given the opportunity, the ladies got rather creative about their responses. Kingston opted for a Sea Devil – a classic Who creature, while Gillan chose a Dalek, mainly because you could sit down for the whole time and drive around.

Woman after our own heart(s).

9. “Asylum of the Daleks” is Matt’s favourite Dalek story he filmed on the show.

While commending co-star Jenna Coleman‘s performances as Clara Oswald, Smith states that the Season 7 opener was his favourite Dalek story during his time on the show. He also agrees that Oswin’s death – counted as one of Clara’s deaths – was one of the most emotionally effective, before recalling the scene where Oswin realises she’s been converted to Dalek form as being a standout from the episode.

10. “Look at the TARDIS in the back of the room, it looks like it belongs there.”

A great moment of Matt’s Q&A, he commented on the way the show has changed his life and the international appeal Doctor Who took on during his time on the show as being astronomical. Pointing to the impressive replica TARDIS that was set up at the back of the venue, he says that it could be anywhere and yet, would still look like it belonged in some way. Smith looked around the venue, still evidently gobsmacked that a job he said ‘yes’ to those years ago brought him out to Australia and sat in a room with people wearing fezzes – because he made them cool and iconic – and notes that it’s an experience he’ll never forget and that there may never be another role that can compare.

Fair point, too.



(Photo: WENN Media)

Photos of Matt Smith at the PMH taken from The Hub Productions’ Facebook.

Copies of the WHONIVERSE DVD will be made available for purchase later in May. Keep your eyes tuned to www.thehubproductions.com for more details as they come!


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