Interview with @0tralala #DoctorWho #TheWomenwhoLived #doctorwhoislife #audiobooks #doctorwhobooks @DrWhoOnline @bbcdoctorwho @bigfinish @ChristelDee @Jake_Dudman_ @DWMtweets @DWBBCBooks

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I had the ultimate pleasure of interviewing Simon while I was recovering from multiple surgeries. We chatted about Doctor Who, Big Finish, writing for audio, and especially, his new book, The Women Who Lived: Amazing Tales for Future Time Lords!

Question 1) For those who aren’t familiar with you, would you please introduce yourself to my readers?

Simon: Hello, I’m Simon Guerrier and I’ve been a freelance writer since 2002 because I am very old. I have written Doctor Who books and comics and audio plays and DVD documentaries, and also non-Doctor Who books and radio documentaries and short films and things.

Question 2) When did you become a fan of Doctor Who?

Simon: My first memory of anything is the cliffhanger of part one of Full Circle in 1980, with the Fourth Doctor and K9 crouched among the reeds watching the Marshmen emerge from a swamp. But at the end of Logopolis(1981), when the Doctor regenerated, my elder brother gave me his copy of The Doctor Who Monster Book, which explained about there being other Doctors and gave a history of the series in a really exciting, straightforward style. And that’s what made me a fan.

Question 3) Who would you consider to be your
Doctor?

2f70c0je0az1000Simon: I like them all, but because Tom Baker was the Doctor when I started I suppose I think of him as the definitive one.

 


Question 4)
Congratulations on the publication of The Women Who Lived: Amazing Tales for Future Time Lords! Tell me, how that opportunity come about?

DoByW-QXkAE_m18Simon: It was all Christel’s idea, and when she first approached me I thought she just wanted some help with how to pitch it to BBC Books. I thought it was a brilliant idea with lots of potential, so I was very happy to do that – and then delighted when I realized she wanted me as her assistant all the way through.

Question 5) What kind of research is required for a project like that?

Simon: I know Doctor Who pretty well – I’ve seen all the existing episodes and listened to the soundtracks of the 97 missing ones, and I’ve read and written lots of books and magazine articles about the series. But you still need to check details, and look for new things that other people haven’t picked up on. So I watched a lot of episodes again, with my notebook in hand. For example, it was really interesting to watch the very first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child, and think about how events played out from the perspective of one of the supporting characters – a woman called Hur. I’ve seen that story lots of times since it was repeated in 1981, but watching it from Hur’s point of view made it seem new.

For some of the characters, I also had to do some digging into real history – the history of the Womens’ Volunteer Reserve in the First World War for Lady Jennifer Buckingham (from 1969 story The War Games) and first-hand accounts of the court of Emperor Nero for Locusta (from 1965 story The Romans). I really enjoyed doing that.

Question 6) How challenging is it to accurately write these characters to fit with canon?

Simon: It’s a lot of checking details against what’s in the TV episodes. So a lot of putting on the DVD and fast-forwarding to the key moments to double-check exactly what happened.

Question 7) What story would you consider your favorite and why?

Simon: Impossible to choose! But the first one I thought of when you asked is The Five Doctors, from 1983, which makes me very happy.

Question 8) I understand you have also done work with Doctor Who comics. Can you describe the difference in the process of writing for a comic versus a novel?

Simon: I think the main difference is in how you tell the story – the mechanics of getting the plot across in five to seven panels per page, with a mini-cliffhanger at the end of each page, and the captions and dialogue kept as short and exciting as possible. Comics are all about concise story-telling. You still want a novel to be exciting, with plenty of jeopardy and weirdness to keep people reading, but you’ve more space to breathe.

Question 9) Turns out, we both have something in common — writing for Matt Smith! Where did the inspiration come for your story for Big Finish’s The Eleventh Chronicles – The Top of the Tree?

images.jpegSimon: Matt Fitton asked me to write a story with Danny Horn returning as Kazran, so I rewatched A Christmas Carol and had a think. My original idea was to do one of the stories we glimpse on screen – him and Abigail at the pyramids, maybe. But Matt pointed out that that might be tricky without Katherine Jenkins returning as Abigail – which sadly wasn’t an option for this story. So it had to be just Kazran. I wanted it to be directly relevant to him, so I started to think about the history of his people on the planet Ember, or how they came to settle there.

Then I was thinking about an interview with Steven Moffat where he talked about not liking simplistic “evil” baddies in stories, and because I was trying to write a story in his mindset, I used that. So the antagonist in my story was going to be a place – somewhere difficult and puzzling but not evil. And then I remembered an idea I’d had ages ago about an enormous tree. So I put all my loose ideas together…

Question 10) Having that I have worked independently with voice actors, is the process different when working with Big Finish? For example, did you get to work with any of the actors (i.e. Jacob Dudman) or do you just write your part and producers do everything else?

Simon: When I wrote The Top of The Tree, it was going to be done by Nicholas Briggs – 41153313._UY630_SR1200,630_.jpgwho’d already done the Ninth Doctor set, which was the model I was meant to follow. I’ve known and worked with Nick for years, so my script was littered with things I thought might amuse him. For example, I had to indicate when he had to change voice, so paragraphs would begin (AS NARRATOR) or (AS DOCTOR). And when there’s the old woman in the tribe, I put (AS EILEEN WAY) – a brilliant actress who is in some old Doctor Who stories.

When I got notes from Matt Fitton, he explained that Jake was doing the story, and we couldn’t be sure he’d know who Eileen Way was. So I had to go through and adjust all my stupid jokes for Nick. Which made the script better and less self-indulgent. (Nick might have cut them anyway!)

jakedudman-bigfinish-teneighty-soundhouseBut working with Jake was extraordinary. I’d not met him before I arrived at the studio, though I’d seen his videos online. It was a real pleasure to sit in the back of the studio and watch him and Danny, and director Helen Goldwyn, bring it all to life. It was a really good day.


Question 11) Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that I haven’t already discussed?
 

Simon: I don’t think so.

Question 12) What can we expect from you in the future?

Simon: Right now, I’m making a documentary for BBC Radio 3 about women from the north of England who funded archaeology in Egypt in the late nineteenth-century. That should be broadcast in February. I’m also writing lots for Doctor Who Magazine and Doctor Who Figurine Collection. And some other bits and pieces I can’t talk about just yet. 

Question 13) How can others find out more about you and your work?

I’m @0tralala on Twitter and Instagram, and have a blog at http://0tralala.blogspot.com. But you can google me for details about all the stuff I’ve written. I’m old so there’s quite a lot of it, sorry.

Mackenzie: Thank you, Simon, for this delightful interview. Everyone, please remember to check out his blog and other works!

And USA fans, you can still pre-order The Women Who Lived by clicking the link.

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Interview with @ChrisWalkerT #MattSmith #theriteofwands #audiobooks #vo #DavidTennant #DoctorWho #TuesdayTeaser #doctorwhoislife @DrWhoOnline @FindawayVoices @smith_lynne

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In this special edition of Time And Relative Developments In Stories, I have invited my incredible voice actor/narrator, Chris Walker-Thomson, from The Rite of Wands audiobook, coming out later this month. He’s here to talk about voice acting, Doctor Who, Big Finish, Matt Smith, and especially, my book, The Rite of Wands.

Question 1) What got you interested in voice acting?

thumbnailI’ve always had a thing for putting on voices. Earliest memory I have is of me putting on a different voice for each toy I played with, so they’d converse on whatever adventure I’d be putting them through. As they years went on, I discovered impressions – particularly Dead Ringer’s Jon Culshaw – and ended up emulating people around me. So it all grew from that really, until finally, I went professional.

Question 2) What was it that got you your first “big” break?

61C9I66yXjL._SX342_There’s a few that I considered my “big” break until something even bigger happened. I did a lot of Doctor Who fan audio dramas, doing my performance as Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor, which got a lot of attention. But one day I was asked to do the audiobook for City Of The Gods: Forgotten, which gave my first official credit and paid work that really pushed me into being a working actor. So I’m immensely grateful for them giving me a shot, and setting me on my way.

Question 3) Where you would suggest someone brand new into voice acting start to find job opportunities?

I’ve found websites like Mandy.com, or Findaway very good. There are many others out there, some low-paid, some not, but experience is key. I started small, and am still small in comparison to others, but experience is great and attracts more interest. And never be ashamed to ask to be paid.

Question 4) Do you enjoy working better independently or in a studio environment like Big Finish, and why?

Oh, a studio environment for sure! I’m an actor foremost. As great as putting on voices is, and you can do so independently, to have someone to bounce off is such a thrill and really improves the performance. Even when it comes to Pixar films or any animation, they do feed the lines to the actor. Plus, I like the energy. Independently can get quite lonely, tiring, and if you work from home, you get a bit of cabin fever from not going out.

Question 5) How did you first come across The Rite of Wands?

doctorwhoonline.pngAgain, I owe thanks to the Doctor Who fan world. I have got to know a lot of people in the community, such as people behind big blogging sites such as Sebastian J Brook from Dr Who Online. Seb mentioned that an author friend (Mackenzie) was having trouble with her book, as the person who was meant to be doing it had to pull out due to other commitments, leaving her in the lurch. So, he suggested myself.

I was a bit down at this point. It had been months since my last job, and any job, so I was thinking of calling it a day. But on a whim, I dropped an email to Mackenzie and she got back asking me to audition. I was a bit late to doing the audition, but I did it, sent it off and left it as that. Then, in early January, I got an email from Mackenzie offering me the gig. Hilariously it came at the same time I also got a part-time job offer, so like they say about buses.

Question 6) What kind of research did you have to do to prepare for recording?

template-4-12172901503297868-largeAlthough I do record reading off a tablet (to avoid paper turning sound, etc.), I don’t find it a great way to read. Like everyone who has ever owned a Kindle says: they actually prefer reading a physical book in their hands. So, I asked nicely if I could get a copy to read at my leisure, which Mackenzie was very kind to send me with a signed message within. For someone who does audiobooks, you’d be surprised to hear that I don’t really take the time out to read books as much as I probably should – mostly because it takes time out of the day. But, I found myself engrossed in it and really finding it difficult to put it down, so I knew this was a good book if it managed to hook me in. Afterwards, I went over it again and made notes.

But the research I had to focus on was my performance of the main character, Mierta McKinnon, which Mackenzie had noted as “I wrote it with Matt Smith in mind”. I could do a reasonable impersonation of Matt Smith beforehand, but I needed a refresher course, so I started a marathon of his Doctor Who episodes to let it sink in. The rest of the voices I’d pieced together, but Mierta’s voice took some time to prepare.

Question 7) Knowing the history of the project being passed around multiple narrators, did you feel any extra pressure before recording it?

Eleventh_Doctor_(Doctor_Who)Only that the previous narrator was better at doing a Matt Smith impression than I was! So I kept saying “it’s not exactly right, but the best I can muster”, to which Mackenzie was immensely happy with my effort anyway, so I didn’t need to worry. So aside from that, I didn’t have any pressure. It was quite fun, until I got the email after I’d finished recording it, saying “we’ve redrafted the book”, and prompting me to redo it all from scratch. But I think it sounds better than it did previously, especially my Smith’ voice for Mierta.

And, here’s a little tease of the audiobook, releasing in the next couple of weeks!

Question 8) Okay, be honest. How many times did you have to practice saying “Emaculavi el curpas y mehartis” before you got it right? LOL!

Too many to count! Quite a few spells got me frustrated. Especially as they’re not spelt accordingly due to their country’s origin, or the pronunciation guide in the book wasn’t exact. I’m all for learning new words, but wow. Ha.

Question 9) How do you go about deciding which voice to use for a character?

tumblr_mr4l73sHmL1surntbo1_1280It’s not a long process, I tend to read the dialogue and think, maybe this voice? Maybe later on I’ll change my mind, and go back to redo it. Orlynd was Scottish, which wasn’t my best accent, or one I’d spent a while working on. So I found the root of the voice in my memory as a scatty, young David Tennant, and just went from there. I found it also helped to jog the accent by swearing between lines of dialogue, just to really get the Scottish tone right. Then after a while it just settled in, and I can now talk fluently. The rest of the voices just seemed right.

Question 10) Did anything in particular surprise you while you while performing?

Only that my neighbours really couldn’t care less as to what I was doing. Either they’d get out a pneumatic drill, or they’d completely ignore my dying screams. Probably used to my madness at this point.

Question 11) Fans of the series tend to favour the character, Mierta, however, from recent discussions, I’ve learned Orlynd is your favourite character. What is it about him that you like so much?

Well, I just think Mierta grows up to be a dick, ha. Orlynd has me feeling sorry for him from the first time we meet him in the book, and he’s stuck in a place he’s despised, yet is “Aye yer Majesty” in a sad, yet shy tone. But as he progresses, he gets stronger and becomes more heroic. He even shouts at the King’s guards. It’s great character development, and a delight to play.

Question 12) What would you like to see happen in the series?

I’d like to see Orlynd and Deor become better friends as time goes on, and even more of Anya’s conniving. But, I’d also like to see Lochlann (Mierta’s brother) knock Mierta off his own pedestal. From what I’ve heard of what’s going to happen, it’s already ticked my boxes.

Question 13) How can others find out more about you?

My official website is www.chriswalkerthomson.com and I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and such. I do keep it all updated if you’d like to follow me there?

Be sure to check back in the next few weeks for the official release of The Rite Of Wands on audiobook, performed by Chris Walker-Thomson.

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Interview with @MatthewJElliot1! @bigfinish @DoctorWho_BBCA @bbcdoctorwho @DWMtweets @SawbonesHex @GSear @MrHolness #DoctorWho #bigfinish #audiobooks #interview #doctorwhoislife

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Okay, this one I’ll admit I’ve been hanging onto for quite sometime, waiting for the perfect opportunity to post. And with it being 7 days till the new series of Doctor Who, now, is perfect.

Next up is the intriguing Matthew J. Elliot, an audio scriptwriter for Big Finish Productions. Today he’s here to discuss Doctor Who, the 6th Doctor, and his compelling audio drama The Lure of The Nomad.

Welcome!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

I’m from the North-West of England. It’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from where I live.

Question 2) When did you become a fan of Doctor Who?

I’ve been aware of Who ever since the Pertwee era. I have memories of the original broadcast of The Sea Devils, and of Tom Baker’s first story. The Hinchcliffe era frightened the bejeezus out of me, and eventually scared me away. I returned to the show infrequently, but I didn’t become a regular viewer again until Destiny of the Daleks.

Question 3) Who is your Doctor?

DOCTOR WHO: VENGEANCE ON VAROS: GENERICThe Sixth. I grew up with the Third and Fourth, spent my teenage years watching the Fifth, but from the very beginning of The Twin Dilemma, the Sixth seemed like the perfect distillation of everything I’d come to expect from the Time Lord. Intelligent, childish, gentle, cranky, egotistical and selfless. He is, to me, the Doctor’s Doctor.

Question 4) Congratulations on the release of The Lure of The Nomad from Big Finish Productions. How did this opportunity come about?

511sPpuXZBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_It was by no means an overnight thing. I’d been writing for American radio for about 15 years, and sending CDs of my stuff to Big Finish without any response for about ten. It was when I wrote the book Lost in Time and Space (soon to be republished by Telos!) that I finally got their attention and was asked to submit some possible plotlines for a thirty-minute episode to be included on the You Are the Doctor release. Unfortunately, that e-mail went straight into my junk folder without my ever seeing it! Thank God they wrote again to ask why I hadn’t replied.

Question 5) I’m really interested in the whole behind-the-scene process. Do you approach Big Finish with a story idea, or do they contact you and state they want you to write a story for such-as-such Doctor?

thAs a relative newbie in the Big Finish world, it’s maybe different for me than for more established writers. I’m lucky to have had several offers in the past few years, although I recently contacted a script editor about an idea that had been kicking around in my head. You have to be aware, however, that the script editors have commissioned work for several years in advance; you can only hope that they’ll file your idea away and come back to it when a gap opens up in the schedule.

Question 6) What inspired you to write this story?

The only thing I was initially told was that a solo Sixth Doctor was required. A lot of inspiration came from watching the most recent Alien movie. It concerned a colony ship, where the crew had, as usual, placed themselves in suspended animation. I began to wonder whether there might not be a more efficient way of cutting the time down, perhaps by having time running at different rates inside and outside the ship.

Question 7) How did you prepare to write for Colin Baker’s Doctor?

I’ve been preparing for years! My Sixth Doctor DVD collection (and, before that, my video collection) has been watched, re-watched and then re-watched to the power of fifty! In this particular instance, though, I had The Two Doctors playing as I wrote, to try and capture the feel of the era. I became intrigued by Dastari’s line about several Androgums being sent back in time and never recovered. I wonder what became of them. There’s a Sweeney Todd tale there, waiting to be told…

Question 8) The plot twist involving the character Mathew Sharpe is one of the best I have heard in a Big Finish audio. Did you build the story around that twist or did that come about as you were writing the story?

William_Riker,_2383Once I was putting my ideas together, I was informed by the script editor that a temporary companion would be required, with the emphasis on “temporary.” By lucky coincidence, I was already thinking along the same lines, drawing inspiration from an episode of Star Trek: TNG, in which the characters all awaken with amnesia and a new character has suddenly cropped up, one whom they all assume is just another crewmember, but who turns out to be an alien interloper. Also, Riker and Ensign Ro totally do it, but that’s unrelated to my story. Mathew Sharpe was originally Daniel Speedwell, but there was a Daniel in something else Big Finish had coming up, so a change of name was necessary. Alan Barnes was very keen that it be a two-syllable biblical name. “Judas” was obviously a little too on the nose, and during our e-mail exchanges, he became very keen on the name “Matthew.” Obviously, I didn’t want people to think I was so egotistical as to name the Doctor’s companion after myself, which is why he’s very insistent that it’s spelled with one “t.”

Question 9) Have you written for other Doctors before, and if so, who is your favorite to write for?

I’ve written Dead to the World, Maker of Demons and The Silurian Candidate for the Seventh Doctor, Zaltys for the Fifth and Backtrack for the Tenth. Dead to the World, which was essentially my audition piece, was selected out of a number of plotlines as one that would suit the planned story arc in which the TARDIS was searching for Mel without the Doctor’s knowledge.

dwmr216_makerofdemons_1417_cover_mediumFor Maker of Demons, I was simply presented with the current team of the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Mel, and asked to devise a plot, which turned out to be a more complicated matter than I anticipated. My original idea was some akin to Enemy of the World and The Armageddon Factor, but lacked a hook, and – equally importantly in Who – any monsters. It was script editor Alan Barnes who suggested The Tempest as a possible source of inspiration, and the story changed noticeably as a consequence. Unfortunately, in my interview at the end of the CD, I unintentionally gave listeners the impression that I’d written an unsatisfactory script in its entirety and had to go back to square one. That certainly wasn’t the case – Big Finish wouldn’t allow me to write one word unless the proposal met with their approval. It was the proposal that was reworked, not the script.

For Zaltys (originally entitled The Feast of Beltane, until I had to admit there was no good reason why the planet in the story should be named Beltane), I was again given the lineup – The Fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan – and a notion of the placement within established continuity. I threw a few ideas at Alan, and he suggested that a couple of them could be melded together to make one whole adventure.

bfpdwcd229_the_silurian_candidate_cd_dps1_cover_mediumThe Silurian Candidate was the first story where I had a more detailed recipe – I had to include the Silurians, and the story couldn’t take place in the present day. Straight away, I suggested a post-war Jamaica setting, in which the Doctor would encounter a young Ian Fleming, but this was nixed before I even came up with a story. For one thing, the tropical setting was too similar to the Sixth Doctor audio Bloodtide. In the end, the professional conspiracy theorists I’d used as an element in Maker of Demons provided the answer: what if the world really was run by lizard-people, and those lizard-people happened to be the Silurians?

Favourite to write for? Colin, but there are still a few Doctors out there I haven’t tackled yet.

Question 10) Do you have a favorite story you have written?

thelureofthenomad_image_mediumProbably The Lure Of The Nomad, because it’s structured like a detective story (which is my natural environment), and all the pieces fit together so well. I wish that Maker of Demons got more love. Perhaps I’m prejudiced because it was my first four-parter, but I feel there’s a lot of good stuff in there. My colleague and occasional co-writer Ian Potter says it feels as though I feared I might never get another chance to write for Who, so I put as much in there as I could, and that’s a fair observation. Is the mention of the Fourth Doctor’s comic strip companion Sharon Davies necessary? Not in the least. Am I glad I included it? Hell, yeah.

Question 11) What is the biggest challenge writing for an audio production versus print?

I’ve written three hundred radio dramas, so maybe for me the question should be the challenges of print versus audio. The real challenge is that what one audio production company wants might be very different from what another requires. It’s necessary not to be too precious, therefore, in order to meet their demands and get your work produced. Any audio production is, by its nature, a collaborative venture. Producers and script editors have their requirements, the BBC is, by necessity, protective of its product, and understandably there are elements that won’t make it into the script.    

Question 12) What can we expect from you in the future?  

BBC_Radio_Collection_Further_Adventures_cassette_coverWell, the inevitability of death haunts us all. Before that, I’m adapting a number of classic children’s novels for US radio, as well as writing a serial entitled The Autumn of Terror for the long-running American series The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. As you can probably guess from the title, this story involves Holmes’ investigation of the Jack the Ripper murders, and involves more research than I’ve done at any time for anything.

And, of course, there’s RiffTrax, the online comedy experience created by the makers of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I’ve been writing and performing material for them for the past ten years, most recently with the assistance of fellow Big Finish writer Ian Potter.

Question 13) How can others find out more about you and your work?

Imagination Theater, the Seattle-based company who produce The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (and all the other series for which I’ve written over the last 20 years) has a YouTube channel, where episodes can be heard every week. You can also find my author’s page on Amazon, and purchase – among other things – my two authorised spinoff novels, Big Trouble in Mother Russia and Big Trouble in Merrie Olde England. Both are, of course, continuations of the cult movie, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. No, wait, I mean Big Trouble in Little China. Oh, and you could even visit RiffTrax.com and download everything with my name on it. That would be very generous of you, and a reminder of how nice it is to be wanted.   

 

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Video Interview with @WibbilyStuff! @USAWhovians ‏@WizardWorld @DrWhoOnline @WhovianLeap @DoctorWho_BBCA @bbcdoctorwho @DWMtweets #DoctorWho #cosplay #Whovian #doctorwhoislife #WizardWorldChicago

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Next up is the incredible Heather, from Your One-Stop Doctor Who Shop, WibbilyWobblyTimeyWimey! Today I’m sharing a special interview I did while visiting with her at Wizard World Chicago!

Warning: Some of the content is not PG 

Where you can find out more about them:

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Twitter

Instagram

Website

Thank you again, Heather and Kevin for this increible opportunity! Fans, please make sure to check out their website and other social media platforms.

For photos of this amazing One-Stop Doctor Who Shop, click here.

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Interview with artist & writer, @sophilestweets! @18thWall @DWMtweets @DrWhoOnline @WhovianLeap @bbcdoctorwho #DoctorWho #DoctorWhoIsLife #DrWhoArt #DoctorWhoFanart #DoctorWhoMagazine #Tuesdaybookblog

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In today’s edition of Time And Relative Developments In Stories, I sit down with the very talented artist and writer, Sophie Iles, whose work has appeared in kOZMIC Press’ Children of Time: the Companions of , The Time Travel Nexus and multiple charity works.

Welcome!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

formackenzie_3

The British Part! I grew up in Slough in the United Kingdom, a name those may recognise as the town the Original UK series of The Office was based. I have also lived in Bristol (The location of St. Luke’s University in the more recent Series 10, and where I believe in Big Finish, Alex, Susan’s son lives in The Earthly Child) and quite a few other locations including Cardiff, Aylesbury Milton Keynes and Chesham.

I’m currently back in Bristol and enjoying this artistic and creative part of the UK.

Question 2) When did you become a fan of Doctor Who?

formackenzie_2I became a fan of Doctor Who very late. I was 19 when I discovered Doctor Who for what it was. Doctor Who was something in the UK you grow up with, even during its wilderness years. You all know about the Daleks, you all know your parents hid behind the sofa. But in 2005 that became less nostalgia and more prominent to a child’s intake of sci-fi. It just wasn’t something you could easily ignore.  Personally, I somehow succeeded in doing into my late teens.

I had been a fan of everything and anything I could get my hands on as a child–Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to name a few. But I didn’t think I was geeky enough for Doctor Who. Boy, was I wrong.

By the time I was at university, I was lovingly nicknamed K-9 by a friend, and curiosity got the better of me. By the end of that year I became a fan just in time to watch David Tennant regenerate, my first episode being The Waters of Mars, and I’ve not looked back since…

Question 3) Who is your Doctor?

PeterCapaldi

I always find this a tough question because there isn’t a Doctor I dislike. I love them all for their own qualities and what they bring to the role.

I think the moment they announced Peter Capaldi, however, I was completely hooked. I loved the idea of Peter playing him. I was reminded of William Hartnell, who seemed cranky and abrasive at first but was soothed by his supportive companions. I hoped this would be the case for his character too, if they went down that route. By the time Peter’s three years were up I didn’t want him to leave.

He had been there for me through four house moves, a family death, and multiple life issues. When I met him in London to sign my Series 9 DVD I able to tell him how important his Doctor meant to me.

He just smiled gratefully and said “Isn’t that what television’s for?”

I will never forget that, and I will always see him as my Doctor because of it.

Question 4) Congratulations on recently being featured in the Doctor Who Magazine! It is unfortunate I cannot get the magazine where I live. How did that opportunity for you come about?

formackenzie_5Honestly, It was as much as a surprise to me as anyone! I have been actively drawing scenes and characters from the recent Classic Doctor WhoTwitch, at least one drawing a night. A few weeks ago, I was asked if one of my pieces could be used on the Doctor WhoTV to blog about the wonderful reactions to the Twitch shows. You can find the link here!

I didn’t expect that however to extend to the Magazine itself. I didn’t know if this was due to someone emailing in regards the piece, or if it was the editor’s choice to illustration the Galaxy Forum page. Either way I was beaming from ear to ear when I found out!

Question 5) You have drawn a number of Doctor Who pieces. What has been your favorite and why?

formackenzie_1.jpg

It’s a difficult question, mostly because every recent piece is my favourite. It’s often for different reasons. Sometimes I prefer the original drawing over the finished piece, sometimes it’s the colouring.

I think, just because of the sheer scale, my most recent piece is my favourite.  It’s all of the Doctors together. It took considerable time and effort to produce to a high standard (I mean, 14 figures fully drawn isn’t the easiest thing in the world) but it was worth every second.

I also think my London 1965 piece might be my second favourite. I had been trying to simplify my designs for a long while, and it was then I really caught that essence when I drew Ian and Barbara against the brick wall. Luckily in both cases lots of people seem to agree!

Question 6) I always find it intriguing to learn about an artist’s technique. Can you share a bit about what goes into drawing a piece like this? Time frame? Skill? Software used?

In terms of what I draw, some of my favourite artists/designers/creators are listed below. I highly recommend all of these people as inspirations.:

  • Quentin Blake
  • Hergé
  • Ronnie Del Carmen
  • Vera Brosgol
  • Bill Watterson
  • Pete Docter
  • Pascal Campion
  • Nick Sharratt
  • Glen Keane

When it comes to process: both of these pictures were created the same way. There’s a rough I draw. In the case of Ian and Barbara, I drew them in my sketchbook at work, looking at old pictures of the show. Most of my main issues with drawing is posing and gesture and making sure that’s clear. I’m always learning and practicing and understanding so my sketchbooks are incredibly rough. Once that’s done I take a photo and put it into Adobe Photoshop when I get to my computer at home. I’m also fortunate enough to have a Cintiq. This is like a tablet, except is actually a separate screen I can draw straight onto. This way I ink and tidy up my sketches in black, before then using layers to colour behind. I usually colour drop straight from pictures I’m referencing, or if there are some colourisations. Then, adding shadow, lighting (and if necessary a background).

For the Ian and Barbara picture, I didn’t really want to add all the detail of a brick wall, so I decided to use a texture layer and implied it instead, which I think for the style works quite well.

I can draw straight into the computer, but I really like drawing in my sketchbook too as it feels like a more organic process.

Question 7) I understand you are also a writer. When did you start writing?

I have always wanted to be a writer. I actually wrote this statement on a primary school worksheet I had found a few weeks ago, which made me beam with pride. I think it started with my nan. She was a wonderful storyteller who would tell me Greek myths and legends from a very early age, and I would read all of her strange books regarding fables and legends. I’ve always been drawn to storytelling, whether through illustration or writing.

I didn’t really get into writing until I entered my last year of university. I wanted to find a way to make sure my story worked for my animation courses short film module and a friend suggested I join their Drama Society’s creative writing group. I wrote short plays for the university, which were performed. Though it was a slow start from there, I never stopped coming up with ideas for dramas. I just wasn’t very good at completing them.

It was being part of 18th Wall Productions that gave me the courage to start submitting to their short story submissions and getting involved in writing. I love to get involved in creating stories and believable characters, and I love the idea that I get to– as a writer– share emotions and worlds with someone else. Wherever that’s a world we think we already know, or a new one.

Currently I’m working on quite a few writing projects, submissions and some of my first original works, so I can finally truly consider myself a writer.

Question 8) You have written articles about Doctor Who for 18thWall Productions and The Time Travel Nexus. Can you elaborate on what these are and why you chose the subjects you wrote about?

Just under three years ago, I was sort of thrust upon, without knowing at the time, the founders and CEO of 18thWall Productions. It was just a casual chat about Doctor Whoand other interests, but they clearly saw something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself.  One of the highlights of last year was being able to meet a lot of those related to 18thWall at LI Who 5, which was almost just as exciting as being in America itself.

The-Racoonteur-Roundtable-Logo-1600X1600Professionally, I was a guest on one of their discussion sections on their podcast The Raconteur Roundtable, which was an amazing experience as it also meant I was able to ask Big Finish’s Scott Handcock questions as part of their team, a link to which you can find here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/raconteurroundtable/2017/06/28/rr-13–the-bard-on-gallifrey–scott-handcock-big-finish-productions

It then led to for a small time helping run their blog, talking with their writers and editing their posts. It was around then they asked that if I had something I wanted to write about they would happily like to know what and see if it would work for them. I offered watching the Classic Doctor Who Series and talking about it as a series of articles, with some fresh perspective as someone who didn’t know the Classic Series very well. They loved the idea.

At the end of last year, The Time Travel Nexus also contacted me and asked if I wanted to write something for Peter Capaldi’s send off, something which I was happy to do and to draw something for it. I don’t think I would be where I am now, writing and drawing so publicly, without their constant support and guidance.

Question 9) What inspired you to create the short story for kOZMIC Press’ Children of Time: The Companions of Doctor Who?

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I’ve always wanted to write something for Doctor Who in a way that wasn’t just a review. A few of my friends had mentioned to me that there was someone looking for writers for this charity anthology. Even though all of my favourite companions were already taken, I decided to apply to see if Rigsy was a possibility. Rigsy was the first male companion who’d really felt like part of an adventure since Danny Pink, and even then, I didn’t count Danny as a companion. Rigsy was also the companion to the companion, as Clara played the Doctor’s role in that episode, proving she could handle the adventures on her own without her alien friend. I always felt that more could be done with Rigsy, and I always wanted to know what happened to him. This was my chance to write something!

At first I was just a placeholder, as they were hoping to get someone else involved in Rigsy’s creation, but I was ecstatic when they asked if I was still interested. I had a month to write something, but as the condition was positivity about the character I just wanted to share ideas on the Rigsy we never got to know. We knew he was engaged and had a daughter, so I decided to look at it from her perspective– a look at someone who loved him dearly. So, with the idea of wanting to commemorate the life of Rigsy and his life’s work, something the Doctor suggested would be great, I had her write the foreword to a book about his life as a famous graffiti artist.

I also offered to draw some illustrations for the book, including illustrating my own. I was very proud of the drawings I gave them. I am particularly fond of an illustration of the Brigadier and his daughter Kate and his grandson Gordon Lethbridge Stewart on a polaroid. It fits the writing (by Hilary Hertzoff) that went with it very well.

Also, the charity it supported was Furkids, Georgia’s Largest Animal Rescue and No-Kill Shelter which I was glad to be supporting. You can find a link to this book here!

Question 10) Do you have an excerpt from any of your writing you’d like to share?

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This is from an upcoming release with 18th Wall Productions, in an original anthology from the story “A Single Wolf, Grey and Gaunt.”

He couldn’t really be a ghost, Timmy thought. His form seemed solid, unwavering against the waves as the tide tried to come in. Lancelot didn’t quite seem real. as though you could easily step through him if you looked at him in a different light. Perhaps it was because it was dark. Timmy wasn’t sure.

That hadn’t however stopped him from rushing forward with the stick in his jaws, head held high before placing it at Timmy’s feet.

“You want to go again, huh?”

The dog heeled, his head held high. Not a sound left from him. Timmy laughed, this large boyish sound bubbling from his chest.

It surprised him. When was the last time he’d laughed?

Question 11) You’re currently putting together a Doctor Who fanzine. Can you tell my readers more about this project and how they may be able to participate?

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Well, due to the success of Twitch, and the love discovered for Ian and Barbara, I had an idea. I couldn’t help thinking how lovely it would be to share some art and stories about these two much loved companions for everyone to see in a printed format. I put out some feelers to see if anyone was interested in supporting this and it sort of exploded on social media, so I decided to make it official.

So anyone out there reading this who wants to contribute, yes, I’m looking at you! If you love Ian and Barbara and want to share stories or illustrate about what happens to them in their lives, why don’t you submit?

I’m looking for stories and artwork within three major stages of their lives: Life before the TARDIS, the times during their adventures, and then after they get to London 1965. I’m looking for small stories about their lives, or full scale adventures. As for the art, I’m looking for some art to highlight these moments in their lives. Also, it doesn’t have to be shippy, if you see them just as friends that’s more than alright, this is about the characters, not their romance!

We will be donating the funds made to Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer research charity. The donations will be given in loving memory of Jacqueline Hill, who would have been 89 this year in December.

It’s all very exciting really. I’m looking for submissions from August 15th to close in October 1st.

All of the details you could possibly need can be found here:

Question 12) What can we expect from you in the future?  

I have a few plans in the future. When Twitch is over I intend to try and draw as much from the New Series as possible, including the spin offs and any of the Big Finish dramas, as there’s really so much to explore. As well as that there are also other aspects of the Doctor Who extended universe to look into, particularly the works of the  wonderful Obverse books, and then delving into Faction Paradox.

One of the exciting projects I can talk about is I’m helping with the cover art, art indents and a short story for a Sarah Jane charity anthology. The official announcement is coming soon!

There’s some other really exciting writing projects I can’t talk about just yet that’s coming up that I want to pitch for / currently writing and drawing for. I’ve been talking to some cool people about some artwork for some more charity anthologies on the way. Lastly there’s two big Doctor Who conventions that I’ll be attending before the end of the year where I will be selling my artwork here in the UK. And I will be continuing to do this throughout the next year.

In other words, watch this space!

Question 13) How can others find out more about you and your work?

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I’m on most social media sites these days. Trying to be active on all pages is difficult but I’m mostly found on Twitter with the handle: @sophilestweets

I am also available on my website www.sophieiles.co.ukFacebookInstagram and Twitch on occasion!

Thank you again, Sophie! Fans, please make sure to check out her social media, art and books! And if you’d like to be part of Time And Relative Developments In Stories, follow the instructions below!

How You Can Participate!

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Interview with @ReviewinWho! @bigblueboxpcast @comicstitan @bigfinish @DoctorWho_BBCA @bbcdoctorwho @Emily_Rosina @DWMtweets #DoctorWho #doctorwhoislife #Tuesdaybookblog

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Next up is the marvelous Luke East, from Reviewing Who. Today he’s here to discuss reviewing various items from Doctor Who, podcasts, Big Finish Productions, etc.

Welcome!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

9497e7_78c9903e325f41669fd303dca13e149e~mv2I’m originally from the UK, but am currently residing in New Zealand, where I’ve lived for the last decade.

Question 2) When did you become a fan of Doctor Who?

I’m not sure I can remember a time in my life without Doctor Who, but it would’ve been around 2005 when I saw my first bit of Doctor Who. I distinctly remember the scene where the Ninth Doctor and Rose are looking down on the Earth and the Sun from space, which can only be one of two scenes, either the one in ‘The End of the World’, or the one in ‘The Long Game’ on Satellite 5, before being sent up to bed.

I recently picked up some of the Tenth Doctor and Martha hardcover books, seeing their spines lined up on the shelf takes me right back to a memory of being in Tesco in 2006 where I picked out my first Doctor Who book, a Tenth Doctor and Rose hardcover.

Question 3) Who is your Doctor?

This is a tricky one. I think every Doctor is great. Dependent on what mood I’m in some days my favourite can be Sylvester McCoy, the next day it might be Matt Smith, or if I’ve been listening to Big Finish it might be Paul McGann, so I don’t really have a specific incarnation that I consider to be “my Doctor”. Primarily, most of my growing up was done watching the Tenth Doctor, but I really enjoy the Twelfth Doctor especially in Series 10, I’d have liked to have seen another series with Twelfth Doctor and Bill. Hopefully Big Finish will pick them up in the future.

Question 4) What got you started reviewing for Doctor Who?

13687187_284485048578469_191788596_aI’d been a long-time podcast enthusiast, listening to ‘The Doctor Who Podcast’ until it was brought to an end in 2015. It has only been in the last year or so that I’ve found some other Who-related podcasts that I enjoy, shout-outs to ‘The Big Blue Box Podcast’ and ‘New To Who’. I guess it was the influence of these podcasts that got me thinking ‘I could do this’, and so I gave it a try, albeit as articles rather than audios. It’s great fun.

Question 5) Does the studio and/or publisher(s) send you material automatically or do you get to pick and choose what you review?

I get certain things sent through to review and I’m extremely grateful to those publishers and merchandisers who do send me stuff before it’s released in stores. But there are a number of other things that I track down myself for review.

Question 6) What was the first Doctor Who thing you reviewed and who was it for?

514U-iPubRLThe first thing I reviewed on the ‘Reviewing Who’ site was the ‘Tales of Terror’ short story collection. My local library had a copy and I read it over the course of a month or so and then wrote the review, which is perhaps the shortest review on the site, but as I’ve become a more natural reviewer, I’ve found it easier to write more and more.

Question 7) What has been your favorite item to review and why?

I’ve loved getting to review the Titan Comics releases. I’d never actually had the opportunity to pick one up prior to my creating ‘Reviewing Who’, as they’re few and far between here in NZ, so it’s been a great joy to get them in my inbox on a fairly regular basis. I’m really enjoying the Twelfth and Seventh Doctor ranges at the moment.

Question 8) Is there something you would like to review that you haven’t yet?

61o4rs5rdLL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_I’d love to be sent Big Finish stuff, so that I can review more Big Finish, especially the Jago and Litefoot releases, I’ve only been able to review the first series so far. But something I’ve not been able to review at all that I’d love to review would be the Robert Harrop figurines, they’re so beautiful. The same goes for the Doctor Who Figurine Collection magazines.

 

Question 9) Would you consider reviewing something that isn’t official Doctor Who material, but is related (i.e. a novel inspired by Doctor Who)?

Of course! I’ve recently been reviewing some of the Lethbridge-Stewart books and they’re brilliant. I can say the same for Torchwood, Class, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and any of the Reeltime Pictures releases, none of them are technically Doctor Who, but they’re still part of the Whoniverse.

Question 10) I understand you also have a website, which features interviews with important members of the fandom. What was the most interesting thing you learned?

fileYes, I recently expanded ‘Reviewing Who’ to include feature articles, as well as a feature called ‘Interviewing Who’. It’s been fantastic getting to connect with these truly inspirational people, who started out writing articles as fans, and have since been snapped up by DWM, not to mention they all have really interesting lives outside of Doctor Who. The most interesting thing I’ve learned came from DWM’s Editorial Assistant, Emily Cook, who has established to charitable organisations called Khushi Feet and Khushi Hands, which help women and children in India. It’s such an amazing story of someone of a similar age to myself noticing a void and setting up a charity to fill that void. Something I’ve noticed from a number of these interviews, is that quite a few of us Who fans do a lot of charitable work. For instance: I volunteer to raise funds for a  number of charities here in NZ, and Emily has, as I’ve just mentioned, set up two charities, there are plenty more of us out there doing philanthropic work too.

Question 11) What do you think it is that inspires so many Whovians to get involved in charitable work?

I think it must have something to do with the strong morality shown in Doctor Who. The Doctor effectively shows us that we should help where we can to improve the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. I’m sure there are many other contributing factors also, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that fans of a show that places such a strong emphasis on human rights, ethics, and morality, end up involved with charities.

Question 12) Other than ‘Reviewing Who’ and your volunteering, do you have any other hobbies?

Indeed, I do. At the moment I’m directing a show called ‘Blue Box Messiah’ for the local theatre I’m Vice President of here in NZ, it’s a comedy about life, religion, and being a Doctor Who fan. Outside of Doctor Who I’m also pretty politically active, and am currently petitioning the New Zealand House of Representatives to amend legislation so that people with life-long medical conditions that will only degenerate don’t have to reapply for their benefit payments every 3 months. There are a few other bits and pieces I get up to, as well as those I’ve mentioned, so it keeps things pretty interesting.

Question 13) What have you enjoyed the most since establishing ‘Reviewing Who’?

I’ve really enjoyed connecting with other fans from all around the world, primarily via Twitter. We have a great community of fans out there, but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t also not the small minority of fans who make fandom unsafe for others, by spreading abuse and vitriol. We should be united by our love of Doctor Who, rather than engaging in in abuse and mudslinging against one another. So while I’m heartened by the majority of fans who spread good vibes, I’ve been deeply disappointed by that other small minority who spread negativity.

Question 14) If you were asked to write an article for the Doctor Who magazine, what topic would you like to cover?

Di0_ZRZXgAU7yPiMy favourite DWM features have always been Galaxy Forum and the interviews, so I’d quite like to do something in that realm. But readers of ‘Reviewing Who’ will also notice that some of my recent features have looked at Doctor Who on VHS, and also how Doctor Who toys have powered the imagination of at least one whole generation of fans, so I’d quite happily write a feature like those too. I think DWM is a brilliant British institution, it’s been bringing fans together since its launch in the Tom Baker era, and right now it’s got a great team of writers working on it, so it’d be amazing to be asked to write for them.

Question 15) How does it feel to be on the other side of the microphone whereas I’m asking the questions instead of you?

I confess, it is a slightly different experience, I am usually the one doing the interviewing but this has been good fun.

Question 16) Where can others find out more about you and your reviews?

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They can find ‘Reviewing Who’ on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Wix, which is also where they will be able to find various links to the ‘Reviewing Who’ website.

Thank you again, Luke! Fans, please make sure to check out his website, and stay tuned next week when I sit down with the very talented artist and writer, Sophie Iles, whose work has appeared in kOZMIC Press’ Children of Time: the Companions of , The Time Travel Nexus and multiple charity works.

 

How You Can Participate!

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#Interview with @TARDIScabinets! #DoctorWho #DrWho #TomBaker #Tardis #woodworking #doctorwhoislife

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Next up is the amazing Whovian cabinet maker, Gary Dorr, of Tardis Cabinets. Today he’ll show off his incredible talent, talk to us about #DoctorWho, and prove that sooner, or later, you’re going to need a TARDIS.

Welcome, Gary!!!

Hello, and thank you, Mackenzie.

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

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Beautiful Eugene, Oregon

Question 2) When did you become a fan of Doctor Who?

In my college days, in Boulder, CO. way back in 1975.  The show was followed by a devoted few and broadcast on the local Public Broadcasting Station in the afternoons.

Question 3) Who is your Doctor?

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My FIRST Doctor was Tom Baker, still love him, but “Who” is my Doctor is sort of the answer to the question for me.  My Doctor is the current Doctor.

Question 4) How did you get into woodworking?

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An art school background made me interested in many mediums but I gravitated to wood.  Carving and cabinet making as a hobby for a long time before offering my builds to the public.

Question 5) What inspired you to craft Tardis cabinets and boxes?

A natural, really.  A Whovian cabinet maker, what would he build?  My first few TARDISes were for myself. A 3/4 scale book cabinet, a wine cabinet, a table lamp.
Friends told me, as they do, to sell these.  My home WAS becoming crowded with blue boxes, so I set up shop.

Question 6) What process goes into selecting the wood and paint?

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All my builds are solid wood, and the painted boxes are Poplar, Birch, and Hemlock for straightness of grain.  I will occasionally build a natural hardwood cabinet, such as “The Rosewood” Jewelry Cabinet.

The paint color varies as does the colors of the various Doctor’s boxes.  I do my very best to match the selected Doctor’s hue.

Question 7) How long does it typically take for you to make one of these cabinets?

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I offer ring boxes (very popular) that take 5 days to ship, and a 1/2 scale cabinet ready to ship in 3 weeks. There are currently 23 products in my shop.

Question 8) Do you handle special requests?

Yes, from small additions like a custom message, to full builds.  A limitation to big builds is the shipping cost.

Question 9) Are there other Doctor Who items have you crafted?

Yes, you can find in my online shop a  River Song’s Diary Keepsake Box  and a “Power of Three” inspired Black Cube Jewelry/Gift Box

Question 10) How did you react when you learned about Keith’s marriage proposal to Sarah at Awesome Con in the presence of David Tennant, Catherine Tate and John Barrowman?

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I was thrilled!  I wish I had been there.  I knew in advance the groom-to-be was going to attempt this, but the photos, and David’s reaction to the TARDIS Ring Box was great. 

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Question 11) Are there any other cool stories like this you would like to share?

I have many clients write with their, and their loved one’s reactions.  Here are the reviews and stories.

Question 12) Is there something you would like to craft, but haven’t yet?

Oh yes! So many things!

Question 13) Where can others find out more about you and your work?

Thank you for asking,   www.tardiscabinets.com

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Thank you again, Gary! Fans, please make sure to check out his website, and stay tuned next week when I sit down with Jeremy Wheeler from The Blue Box Alliance to talk about Doctor Who cosplay, fan-films, comic con and much more!

 
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