Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Mirena IUD (High on TMI)

The lovely Amanda Palmer (she of 'Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra' tweeted a link to "Getting a Mirena IUD" - a blog post by Jodi Thibeault (@pixelsnake) documenting her live tweets from getting a Mirena IUD.

Why am I blogging about it? Simply because I recognised the experience and when you google about it, the pain and the awkwardness really is glossed over massively.

I chose to get the Mirena IUD because it was the only practical contraception available to me (not wanting to muck about with spermicide and the like) - the Depo-Provera injection, the pill, the implant, vaginal ring etc all being unavailable to me due to releasing too many hormones. Hormones are ugly stuff when it comes to keeping my body healthy so my consultant is headmaster levels of strict about what I'm allowed to use. The Mirena does release a hormone (Levenogestrel) but the dose is much smaller than anything else (about 1/7th compared to the pill.)

Before getting ready to have the IUD inserted I hadn't even had a smear test, and found the idea of some doctor poking around 'down there' a bit embarrassing and very nervewracking. I got over myself quickly once it was happening, thankfully.

The whole procedure is foul. You lie on a bed with your knees up (feeling somewhat odd because you're dressed from the waist up and naked below that, and that's just generally weird) and cold clamps and bits and pieces are stuck up you. I was at least warned to take painkillers twenty minutes before hand but Jesus nelly it hurts. I wanted to kill my boyfriend for daring to want to have sex with me at that point. For a good half hour I'd have happily been celibate for life. Stick me in a nunnery, just get your hands and your nasty medical contraptions out of me.

It wasn't fun.

And I was told I coped better with it than most and many women have to stop the procedure.

But hey life's great now right? No squealing babies, no humongous periods?

Well no. First off, after I had it inserted I bled for days and days on end. Twice, if not three times the length of my usual period. Then my body took pity on me and had a couple of days break. And then it started again. I did the natural thing for a neurotic 21st century girl and decided doctors were foul things and googled it instead. Apparently the bleeding could last for up to six months. If you can stick it that long. But then it would be rainbows with sparkling unicorns jumping over them! Or something. I did visit a doctor in the end, but her only advice was to stick with it.

It's been six months now. My periods are no longer constant but are incredibly random. I'll have three one month, none the next, etc etc. (And 'none the next' is quite scary when your medical problems basically equate to early pregnancy morning sickness and aches and pains. No amount of "over 99% foolproof" is comforting; I'm a massive fool.)

Having ranted, I'm still incredibly glad I have it. It does give me an aura of safety that I never had before. Plus I'd have it over the pill if I could take the pill - my memory's rubbish. It's a great little idea. Just don't be fooled by those women who tell you they barely noticed it - it's possible, but it's certainly not that way for everyone.

Friday, 9 November 2012

#dwsr - Castell Coch, Part 2

Just a short post, very little to add to yesterday's blog on the Doctor Who filming (with the new Cybermen!) at Castell Coch!

We popped over to the castle this afternoon and unfortunately there was little to see compared to yesterday. Here are a few short points about it:

- We heard that Warwick Davis was inside the castle, filming a scene with Jenna Louise Coleman. 
- We heard (twenty, thirty minutes after that) that Jenna and 'Will' (we don't know who that is, but it was definitely 'Will', not 'Warwick' and we believe Warwick's character name is Porridge, due to the photo of the lost script) were running around the gantry with something firing from the courtyard and squibs were going off.
- We saw two extras dressed as Cybermen - sans helmets - grabbing tea.
- I managed to grab a few names of the other attractions at Hedgewicks World: Spacey Zoomer Ride, Mushroom World, Viewing Tower, Hotel, Sand Dunes, The Beach, Peak Hotel (depicted high up in the mountains), Boating Lake, The Terrible Stomach, Media Centre. I also believe there was a water ride and a ghost train, but I'm not sure about the exact names. Netty Longshoe's Castle is in the centre of the map.
- Matt Smith was not on location.

#dwsr - Castell Coch

One of the reasons I like set reporting so much (other than the whole 'seeing Doctor Who being filmed' bit) is seeing places that I would always plan to visit but otherwise never get around to. For instance: Castell Coch, a 19th Century castle located north of Cardiff.

After a bit of a stop-start morning, the boyfriend and myself drove out to the castle, buoyed by somewhat unsubstantiated rumours of Cybermen. Half-excited, half-too-hopeful-to-fully-believe we parked up and made our way to where there was obviously some kind of filming. Filming for a "BBC science fiction show" we were told upon arrival. Despite the neon green "DV" signs leading up to the castle, this was clearly no 'Da Vinci's Demons.' We owe massive thanks to @swanseajack2001 for giving us enough information to get us that far!

First drawn image of the new
Cybermen. It's a little wide
but a good representation.
Out in front of us? Cybermen. Many, many cybermen. At least seven, perhaps as many as ten (though some were drinking coffee, helmets off, rather than rehearsing.) They were standing in the entrance to the castle. Here comes the rather bizarre moment where you find yourself walking past an iconic alien, getting accidentally nabbed in the boob by his gun, just to try and get a ticket to enter a local attraction. We found out entrance was free due to the disruption caused by filming, although they were far more keen we actually looked around the castle than stood, enthralled, watching over the balcony at the action below. Sadly we were very strictly forbidden from taking photos, so this blog post will be less picture-heavy than usual. Gareth has drawn some very accurate pictures though.

This is very accurate.
What was happening? Well sadly we were shooed along before we could see too much, but from what I could make out Clara (played by Jenna Louise Coleman) stands in an alcove with a motley crew of miltary figures (they are hardly UNIT, they are different body shapes, genders, races, each one completely alternate to the next) as the Cybermen approach through the entrance, smoke blowing around them. "Left, right, left, right" the choreographer calls as they march, with far less of a heavy tread than before. A large, overweight man dives out, firing at the leading Cyberman with his gun before ducking behind an iron maiden for cover. The lead Cyberman is hit, and moves strangely: he slows down, body moving stiffly in an awkward fashion. Still the Cybermen come, and Clara is forced to try to defend herself and the military crew with a mace. She swings it, but it's not very effective. She has to duck and weave between the Cybermen to escape.

How was the set dressed? As a theme park, perhaps a somewhat derelict one although inside the castle things seem to be in reasonable repair. There was a big sign outside declaring Castell Coch is in actual fact (in the world of Doctor Who) Natty Longshoe's Castle. A map by the side of the pathway (a large, brightly coloured, cartoon-y map with lights, like many you see at theme parks) suggests that the castle is only one of the attractions in "Hedgewicks World." Outside the castle were standing lights with purple poles and lit glass orbs on top, a typical medieval-esque tent (think the little jousting tents you often see in 'Merlin') in dull red colours. There were various signs, one for "The Giant's Cauldron" and another telling you the minimum height you needed to be to venture onto the ride. Bins also bore the "Hedgewicks World" logo. There was a large cannon, and a large amount of silver-coloured piping with wires splaying out the end of it, which reminded us of the Cybermen.

Bowie Base One logo.
As the logo appears
on the uplighters.

There was a general theme of purple - with all the items relating to theme park having been sprayed the same garish colour. Of particular note were some uplighters that had the "Bowie Base One" logo from the 'Waters of Mars' cut into them. Most likely they're old props that have just been spray painted over and reused, but possibly it's worth noting it.

Inside they spread dried autumn leaves on the stone floor. There were various set dressings - an iron maiden, a set of stocks, barrels, military painted containers, mannequins dressed in gaudy clothes reminiscent of the royal court (fair maidens in pretty dresses, courtiers, jesters, monarchs, that kind of thing - think 'Sims Medieval'!), many banners and shields that again made it feel like it was a theme park dressed to be like a fantasy medieval castle.

Jenna Louise Coleman was wearing a tight-fitting dark coloured jacket, possibly leather although it lacked the sheen of leather - it was all very matte. Under that she had a dull-red dress with a large collar, it had a large black flower pattern all over it. She looked reasonably 'modern day.' She also carried a bag - identical to her red one except in colour, it was a turquoise-green. We've now regularly seen her wearing some kind of badge - possibly military in style. She's worn it around her neck during the filming at Beatty Avenue, and wore it as a badge on her jacket today. Again, Gareth has sketched a picture.

The military operatives had on a grey-green shiny jumpsuit with silvery-grey protective items over the top: body protectors, oversized knee protectors, helmets. They carried large, grey, plastic-looking guns.

The Cybermen are a completely new design. They are leaner, curvier, more in keeping with the Classic series. Their faces are especially different: they still have the handlebars and teardrops but the face is now simply curved rather than hewn. The material they are wearing seemed lighter and much shinier (my boyfriend remarked "silver rather than steel" - it's exactly like that) - more like the armour the Sontarans wear. Their armor is no longer shaped like pants, but is closer to a leotard type shape over their lower bodies - and of course they no longer have the Cybus Industries insignia but a simple circular, bladed, shutter - much like you'd see on a camera shutter.

This filming was for Neil Gaiman's episode 'The Last Cyberman.' Details can be found from the BBC here. You can also view the title page of the script here, as it was found left in the back of a taxi! (It has now been returned to the BBC, I believe.)

Many thanks to Ryan for the additional remembered details.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

#dwsr - Barry, re-entry!

So having missed the last few days of filming in Newport due to family commitments I was incredibly (far too) excited to be called by @AmiiCRUSH because she'd spotted Doctor Who filming at the Pumphouse in Barry. Buoyed by tales of a Sontaran driving a horse and cart, we set off.
The "window"/house front prop and Strax.

When we arrived it appeared to be quite a small set up - just Dan Starkey as Commander Strax, a young boy and the horse and cart. There was also the prop of a front window of a house - at the time it reminded me of the windows we saw in Bute Town, Rhymney but having looked back at Gareth's photos from the day at Bute Town, there was no real resemblance.

 Photo taken at Bute Town, Rhymney.

Strax appeared to be attempting to travel to Sweetville (the Yorkshire village where The Crimson Horror is set) but managed to get lost on the way. He exclaims to the horse,
STRAX: Horse! You have failed in your mission. We are lost - with no sign of Sweetville! If you have any last words before your systematic execution, let's have them!
He then engages in conversation with a small boy in period dress. Thomas Thomas exclaims,
THOMAS THOMAS: I like your horse, mister!
It's safe to assume that the Sontaran then asks for directions to Sweetville (I couldn't catch the dialogue here) as the boy then launches into a description of how to get there,
THOMAS THOMAS: Sweetville sir? Turn around and end of the road turn left, then right.. (more directions follow)
The directions are long enough and complicated enough for the boy to jump into the cart, presumably to show Strax the way to the village.

The Pumphouse, Barry.
This was all filmed up against the brick of the Pumphouse. The building looks like it would make a good stand in for Mrs Gillyflower's (Diana Rigg) mysterious factory. It was originally built in the 1880's and we know the date of the episode is 1890.

Later they filmed a short scene of Strax walking up the Pumphouse and looking upwards to the chimney, before placing his hands on the brick of the wall. My boyfriend speculates that he's planning on climbing it.

Filming the scene. 

They were wrapped by 10.30pm. It seemed like these were just some short extra scenes - either additional scenes because the episode is running under, scenes they couldn't film at the time, or pick ups where we just missed the original filming entirely. Always great to see a Sontaran a few foot away from you though!

Strax, played by Dan Starkey, wearing a coat over
his armor.
Here are my other blog posts on filming for The Crimson Horror by Mark Gatiss:
#dwsr - Bute Town
#dwsr - Barry, the Doctor's in you!
#dwsr - Llantristant

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

TV vs Set Reports.

I started writing this blog in March and by May I was detailing my observations of watching Doctor Who filming, with my boyfriend and friends, across Wales. In the months that have past Series 7a(/'part one of series 7'/'the 2012 series'/'The Ponds' final episodes' or however you want to call it) has aired, so I've decided to spend some more time procrastinating (It's this or my CV, and Facebook games are getting dull..) and comparing what we saw to the episodes that have aired so far.

Pond Life:
As Pond Life was mostly filmed in the Ponds' house on Church Road, Penarth we really didn't get very much other than Arthur Darvill's various costumes. Here's my 'still* versus set report' selection:

Pond Life: Part 1
Arthur Darvill in costume for Pond Life

Pond Life: Part 3
Ood head being carried out of the Ponds' house.

Pond Life: Part 4
Arthur Darvill in costume for Pond Life Part 4
 (with the top zipped up.) 

Pond Life: Part 5
Matt Smith fiddling with the Tardis light.

Pond Life: Part 5
The Doctor phones the Ponds.

Pond Life: Part 5
The Doctor walks away from the Ponds' House
in the pouring rain.

Set report for the Ood and Arthur is here; Matt on the phone (along with a bit of 'The Power of Three' and the Asylum extra) can be found here.

The iTunes prequel for 'Asylum of the Daleks':
I wasn't around in Wales for the majority of filming for 7a - I caught the extras such as this Prequel and Pond Life and 'The Power of Three' filming (because it went on and on and on!) I really enjoyed seeing this little extra bit filmed because I got to see Barnaby Edwards (who plays the messenger) - who is an absolute legend on Twitter (oh, and Doctor Who!) The part we saw filmed was at the Plan Cafe in Cardiff.

The Doctor in the Asylum of the Daleks prequel.
Matt Smith, scone in hand!

The Messenger and The Doctor
Barnaby Edwards and Matt Smith.

Set report for the Plan Cafe is here.

The Power of Three:
For one reason or another they had to film a lot of picks ups for 'The Power of Three' (or 'Cubed' as I still mentally refer to it, that being the name we called it during filming.) so there was a lot to watch!

The Ponds' Garden
View from the back.

The Doctor outside the Ponds' examining a cube.
Matt with a cube on a playground frame.

The Doctor and a cube.
Facing the Ponds'.

UNIT storm the Ponds'!
UNIT outside the Ponds' house.

Amy at her anniversary party.
Party guests!
Amy's gorgeous hair-do.

Rory mocks Brian's log.
Arthur Darvill in maroon jumper and jeans.

Brian Williams dressed for the party!
Mark Williams heading to the car.

The horrific twins!
The twins hid their faces walking to the van - we never
guessed at the prosthetics hidden under their hands!

The Doctor has his heart restarted by Amy Pond!
Matt Smith at the hospital.

Set reports: Unit storm the Ponds'The Doctor and the cubes. Apparently I never got round to blogging the last day of Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan! I'm sorry about that.

My conclusions? Set reporting is absolutely rubbish for knowing the story-line of an episode. Especially if you're just going on the pictures that are taken on the day. It's absolutely brilliant for having a laugh, seeing some actors you like to watch on the telly, and wasting hours of your time thinking up outlandish theories. And teasing yourself slightly (and sometimes a bit more than slightly, I admit: The Crimson Horror shows that much!) I'm not planning on stopping any time soon.

*Obviously all stills are copyright of the BBC.

Monday, 15 October 2012

#dwsr Snow strikes Bristol in August!

Snow covered Bristol!
So my partner, my friends and myself had a little holiday in Bristol. A little holiday where I scarpered back to hotels and to kindly donated back seats of cars to fall asleep at 3am. A little holiday where we mostly watched a lot of Doctor Who being filmed. A little holiday that was two months ago now, sorry about that.

Signs used as set dressing.
I've been so slow getting around to typing up the filming I've forgotten most of the finer details, sadly. However it looked gorgeous because it was dressed in snow, there were Victorian costumes and it was pretty exciting because it was all for the Christmas episode of Doctor Who (the next one to air, now!)

Jenna Louise Coleman
They filmed over two days on the 20th and 21st of August, and both days were absolutely manic due to the all the fans that had massed to catch a glimpse of Matt Smith and the new companion (this being her first episode in the televised chronology - bar her appearance as Oswin in Asylum of the Daleks; Jenna's first episode that she filmed was Phantoms of the Hex, which is slated currently as episode 11. She filmed it in late May.)

Jenna Louise Coleman's stunt
Unfortunately it was very hard to get good photos on the first day as the streets were so packed that there were three people in front you wherever you were stood (and normally 6'0" men. When you're a hopeful 5'3", you're not going to see very much.) The paps were far cleverer than us and brought ladders. So I spent some time trying to listen to dialogue and then I fell over a bollard backwards trying to spot something on a roof. I think at some point I got grumpy and went to bed (I'd caught the train from the south coast of England to get to Bristol that day, as I'd had a hospital appointment that morning.)

I vaguely remember:
Matt Smith as The Doctor in the
They covered the main, long street with snow and then set up market stalls towards the end of it. They had a lot of Victorian dressed extras milling around. A horse drawn carriage drives up the street with Clara running up along behind it, trying to get to it. She attempts to jump on the cart, slips and falls. The Doctor is inside the carriage.

They also filmed a scene in a small side street. The following dialogue was heard:

The small side street where the
scene was filmed.
The Doctor didn't seem to want to have anything to do with Clara, actively shunning her and keeping his distance. I seem to remember it was Commander Strax (the Sontaran) that was saying "Merry Christmas."

The 21st August at Portland Square was a far superior day in my opinion - filming was far easier to watch. The majority of it was based inside a large fenced off green, so all the fans gathered around the edges of it - watching eagerly through the bars! At one point Matt ran round the entire the circle doing autographs!

Matt Smith signing autographs.

Jenna Louise Coleman yawning!

There were several different scenes filmed. I've numbered them for the convenience of writing them down - obviously it is not the actual scene number or any indication of where they will appear in the episode.

Scene 1:
Clara is shouting for the Doctor and is jumping and trying to grab something above her. Jenny (Madame Vastra's assistant, playing by Catrin Stewart) enters the scene and asks what she is doing. Dialogue and video is below.

Jenna Louise Coleman and Catrin Stewart as Clara and Jenny.

(She jumps, trying to grab something.)
Jenny enters the scene. (Director's cue: Catrin!)
JENNY: What are you doing?!
Clara turns around to face Jenny.
CLARA: I'm looking for the Doctor. Do you know about him? 
JENNY: Doctor Who?

Jumping Jenna!
Note that Jenna Louise Coleman is wearing a green dress, whereas in the scenes below she is wearing a red one. She's also wearing the same red dress for the scenes in Corn Street (the first day of filming in Bristol.)

Scene 2:
Scaffolding was set up in Portland Square.

The Doctor running!
At this point they had a great deal of scaffolding set up. It was supporting some kind of platform. The characters had to climb a ladder to get up to it. The Doctor strolls up to the scaffolding, whistling "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" (Again vague memories but I think sometimes he alternated festive tunes in the different takes.) He looks around and turns full circle - perhaps to see if anyone is watching him. He runs, jumping up to grab the edge of the ladder, pulling it down to the ground. He then climbs up the ladder.

Scene 3:
Clara fallen in the snow.
Clara is hiding behind a tree, watching The Doctor as he climbs up the ladder. She waits for him to be on the platform and then starts to cautiously walk across to the scaffolding. She's turns around several times, looking up to where the ladder must be stored. She throws her stole to the ground and starts to jump, trying to grab for the ladder. While jumping she falls over, landing flat on her bum on the snowy ground. She picks herself up and jumps again: this time she manages to catch hold of the ladder and lets her own weight pull it from its holds before she pulls it the rest of the way to the ground. She climbs the ladder.

Matt Smith and Jenna Louise Coleman
Clearly scenes two and three seem to lead into each other. It was a gorgeous night of filming - it was great to watch both Matt Smith and Jenna Louise Coleman, as well as see Catrin Stewart again! (Vastra and Jenny are also back for The Crimson Horror, a later episode in series seven.) I've popped a few more random images at the end of this blog that I haven't managed to fit in - I really need to sort out a gallery soon!

Portland Square dressed for Christmas.

Market stall set up on Corn Street.

More market stalls set up on Corn Street.

Matt Smith has his costume adjusted.

Jenna Louise Coleman reads through her script.

Clara hiding behind a tree.

Jenna enjoying a hot beverage between takes.

Matt Smith in Victorian dress!

Jenna waiting for "Action!" to be called.

Clara pulls a ladder down.

Jenna Louise Coleman

Jenna Louise Coleman

Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Clara behind the tree.

You can see more photos on Ryan's Flickr and Youtube channel.
Lee also has a set of photos on Flickr.