Interview: Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner is a journalist for the Waikato Times where he gets to review Doctor Who episodes, interview stars like Matt Smith, Colin Baker and mUCH more (jealous much!! LOL)

How did youchris G first get into journalism and reviewing Doctor Who?

When I was still af primary school I apprenticed myself to Appuldurcombe House custodian Peter Wilkinson. By the time I was 10 I was giving guided tours around the ruins of the Isle of Wight mansion. By the time I was hardly into my teens The Islander magazine had serialised my history in four parts.
I later earned a Higher National Diploma in Communication Design (Journalism) at West Surrey of Art and Design. I learned both radio and print disciplines. There’s very little I have not written about since graduating.

What do you personally like about Doctor?

The TARDIS can land anywhere at any time. Perhaps one day she will land in Appuldurcombe’s past.
Add an enigmatic alien who celebrates life and you have got a recipe for adventure.

Who is you favourite Doctor and when did you first become a ‘Whovian’?

That’s like asking who is your favourite child. I love them all for their own peculiarities, and sometimes despite them.
The 11th Doctor, however, is the one I most identity with. He’s a lot like me.
I would never call myself a Whovian or a fan. My late actor friend Michael Sheard, who appeared in many classic DW stories, hated the word fan because it is derived from fanatic. He preferred appreciators, or apps, God rest his soul.
Like most British kids my age (I’m 42) I grew up on Doctor Who and thought I’d gone off it until Paul McGann came along and then again when the show returned in 2005. That’s when my appreciation scaled new heights.

What do you think of series 9 so far?

The 12th Doctor has arrived!!
I like the return to multi part stories, as I missed the cliffhangers so, but realise with it comes less variety in stories. If only we could have 24 stories a series to make up for it!.

Who do you think should replace Jenna Coleman as the new companion?

That’s easy. Alex Kingston as River Song in every episode. Can you imagine the chemistry between Capaldi and Kingston? Which, incidentally, sounds like a great name for a band.

What do you think of Peter Capaldi’s rendition of the Doctor?

Peter Capaldi is a superb actor talented at creating character. We have a truly alien Doctor again, which is really great.

I did fear a grumpy Doctor might be too inaccessible to casual viewers, so I am glad the grumpiness has been dialled back this series.

Have you had the opportunity to meet any of the Doctor Who cast and crew?

I have been.lucky enough to call Michael Sheard my friend. He gave me an answer machine in the 1990s because he could never get hold of me when I was helping him with his biography.

I’ve done phone interviews with 11th Doctor Matt Smith, writer Neil Cross(I also now call friend) and producer Caro Skinner.

I’ve met and interviewed fifth Doctor Peter Davison, sixth Doctor Colin Baker, seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy and eighth Doctor Paul McGann. Lovely chap, all of them.
The same goes for John Levene and Richard Franklin.

I’ve also met and interviewed orchestrator Ben Foster, a thoroughly nice chap, and done phone interviews with composer Murray Gold and Jenna Coleman.

He aalso interviewed Ian McNiece, Catrin Stewart and Dan Starkey ahead of their attendance at Armageddon in Auckland, and met and interviewed Frazer Hines ahead of his appearance in Auckland in Annie a few years ago.

Anywhere in time and space, where would you most like to travel to and why?

Appuldurcombe House, travelling back a decade at a time to 1090 when the estate was first founded. I’d take my notebook, loads of pens, a digital camera and laptop and write the definitive history during my TARDIS trips.

Will you be attending/reviewing the upcoming Peter Capaldi evening?

Yes, I can’t wait.

What advice would you give an aspiring blogger / journalist who is trying to break into the media circuit of Doctor Who?

Establishing your own blog or vlog is the way to go. No one gets hired to write Doctor Who outside of the show, books, magazine, comics and audio plays. And that’s a very different discipline to journalism (except the magazine). Maybe one day I might have a stab at a story for one of those mediums.

Thanks so much for your time Chris and I look forward to reading your future reviews and interviews
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisGardnerNZ
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