Category Archives: Comedy

Comedy shows, gigs, writing and performing.

VWORP! – Hosting a Doctor Who Convention

I recently hosted VWORP! a Doctor Who convention in Manchester. Over one thousand fans descended on the city centre’s Printworks for a whole day packed full of events, and while behind the scenes it was a bit hectic it was an amazing day. I also got to speak to the shows branding managers.

Big shout out to Mark Cookson and Gareth Kavanagh, the event organisers. In the pre-event briefing I said ‘just put me in the room on the day and I’ll do the job’, and blimey, though it got a bit stressful on the technical front, it was incredibly rewarding. Doctor Who fans are the best. With loads of guests, interviews and panels crammed in to one day I didn’t get a chance to see everything, but I did get the opportunity to meet ‘my Doctor’ Peter Davison which was a special moment.

Vworp! Doctor Who brand managers
Christal, Edward and me.

I  met Christel Dee, the current online brand manager and host of the Doctor Who fan show on Youtube,  and interviewed Edward Russell who was brand manager during Russell T Davies tenure on the show. When it re-launched in 2005 it was a big gamble by the BBC,  quickly becoming  a big  flagship show, and fascinating to hear how the ‘brand manger’ role evolved eclectically along side that success, and how licenses were toys, books and merch were granted. Chatting to Edward, and Jamie Hill (monster actor and formerly of the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff) we discussed the challenges faced by such a passionate fanbase, custodians of the show during it’s time off-air and when fan created content strays into copyright infringement.

Vworp! Doctor Who convention
Vworp! Doctor Who convention

One thing I wanted to pick up on was Doctor Who branding, as it does a particularly unusual thing. It re-brands every few years, often with the arrival of a new actor as the Doctor, nothing wrong there. However it has two logos (one for the classic show and one for the current show) and the most current ‘new’ logo is always in use. Meaning that what the ‘new’ logo is, its used products with older Doctors which looks a bit odd, but is actually ‘on brand’.

Doctor Who has a fanbase that crosses age and gender and the convention was a great way to celebrate the show’s past and serve as a ‘warm up’for the new series with Jodie Whittaker – the excitable topic of discussion on everyone’s lips that day. This new convention will hopefully be the first of many. It’s not the first time I’ve hosted a Who con – to meet people in front of and behind the camera – and hopefully it won’t the the last.

Confession’s of a WordPress Fanatic!

New date: Friday December 21st 2018

Venue: The Kings Arms, Salford, M3 6AN
Ticket available on Eventbrite:

While publicising the show I was re-tweeted by Matt Mullenweg!

Confessions of a WordPress Fanatic
Confessions of a WordPress Fanatic

In early 2017 I attended ‘MWUG’, or Manchester WordPress users group to give it it’s full name. I met a bunch of lovely people including Mike Little, one of the core developers of WordPress. I was surprised. I thought anyone involved the creation  of WordPress must live in some kind of sun drenched villa on a mountain side in Silicon Valley. How wrong I was.

Mike was the really welcoming chair of the group, and they were on the lookout for people to give talks at their meet ups. Despite just arriving I offered. I’d been using WordPress since 2010. Despite a terrible memory I know that because WordPress helpfully releases a new theme design named after the year, every year, and I started with ‘TwentyTen’. Also being a comedian I’ll take any chance to get in front of a new audience.

I was prepping 15 minutes on how I’d used WordPress to publish a podcast when I realised what I had was quite funny but not very technically hardcore. Was my knowledge of WordPress enough for a tech savy audience? Was I glossing over the cracks in my knowledge with gags? Of course it didn’t have to be funny, I was probably over analysing, and on the day it was fine.

I went back a few months later and a half hour talk on my experience of building WordPress websites commercially. Again is wasn’t intend to be funny, but I couldn’t help it. That’s when I thought there might be a show in it. Sharing my feelings on the culture of constant updates, and making it funny. I’ve created bucket loads of websites using WordPress for all different manner of clients, but it never occurred to me to attempt to combine that with my comedy storytelling. So in a nutshell that’s the new show – Confessions of a WordPress fanatic! at the Greater Manchester fringe. Not a duffel coat in sight.