Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pheaturing Toby Hadoke

Hello, welcome to another entry of the Phile, I cannot believe it's the last entry of March already. President Obama returned home from Latin America but the door to the Oval Office was locked when he arrived. Now the U.S. is at war with a door. Being locked out of the Oval Office, that’s like the eight years of the Bush administration. The fighting in Libya has already cost the U.S. a billion dollars. That’s Mrs. Tiger Woods money. Did you see the President's speech the other night? He wanted to update the American people on Libya but unless Snooki is going to Libya, the American people don’t care. There are reports coming out that Moammar Gadhafi got hair plugs and face injections 16 years ago. So that’s why he looks so good. Hey, movie fans, a movie is in the works about the NFL’s oldest cheerleader. You can tell she's old because her favorite cheer is, “Gimme a quilt!” “Days of Our Lives” is adding a gay storyline for the first time in 45 years. It’s about a guy who watches “Days of Our Lives.” I heard that Bravo is canceling “The Real Housewives of D.C.” after just one season. That’s when you know unemployment’s bad — when people who don’t even have jobs are losing their jobs.
All over Libya Gadhafi has posted these cool posters of him. Have you seen them? Check it out.

Okay, enough about him and Libya... for now. Toby Hadoke, today's guest on the Phile is a huge "Doctor Who" fan, maybe more of a fan than I am. I wonder if he ever saw this "Doctor Who" inspirational poster.

And now for sad news...

Farley Granger
July 1, 1925 - March 27, 2011
He once had a steamy romance with Shelley Winters. No wonder he was bisexual.
Geraldine Ferraro
August 26, 1935 - March 26, 2011
She had a good run.

Today's guest is the author of "Running Through Corridors: Rob and Toby's Marathon Watch of Doctor Who", which the 14th book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club, and is an English actor, writer and stand-up comedian, who is known for his one man show
"Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf", was a critical and popular success at The 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Please welcome to the Phile, the one and only... Toby Hadoke.

Me: Hello, Toby, welcome to the Phile. It's a pleasure to have you here, sir.

Toby: Thanks for asking me!

Me: Your book "Running Through Corridors" is the 14th book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club. It will be in 3 volumes, right?

Toby: Well, that was the plan, but it may now be in four. If the volumes come out annually it may make sense to split the 80's and the New Series (originally planned for the same volume) which means we'd also have to set aside time to do Matt Smith's first three years, which now seems sensible as the final volume would be published at a juncture where it'd seem a bit dated to finish where we currently have ("End Of Time Part Two").

Me: You wrote it with Robert Shearman who actually wrote for the show. How did you two get together to write a book?

Toby: We became friends when he came to see "Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf". We started meeting for drinks and he suggested the idea to me. I jumped at it but never thought it'd actually happen.

Me: It's a cool concept and I wish I would of been there with you two guys. Was it fun to do?

Toby: It was, but it did get arduous on occasion. I have a life and work all the time, so was fitting in my viewing and writing at the oddest times and locations (back stage at gigs, on a plane to New Zealand, on the way to my wedding, that sort of thing).

Me: Whose idea was it to write the book?

Toby: Rob now says I had a hand in it because I'd mentioned expanding "Moths" into a novel and building it up using childhood memories of watching the episodes. He says that inspired him to think of tying those in with a marathon rewatch, but I have to say I credit him with the idea entirely - and without him I doubt the publisher would have been interested.

Me: You're from England, I know that, but what part? I am from Balem in London myself.

Toby: I'm from a small village just outside the town of Ludlow in Shropshire. Middle if nowhere, but pretty and cold and rural. It's nice to excape back to sometimes; my Mum and sister still live there.

Me: I didn't realize that you run a comedy club. XS Malarky is a great name. Did you come up with that yourself?

Toby: It started at a pub called Scruffy Murphy's, so the (Irish) landlord suggested the name Murphy's Malarkey, combining alliteration and blarney to (in my view) rather underwhelming effect. It stuck though, and when we moved venues to Bar XS (so named because its post code ended in XS) we kept Malarkey so people knew it was the same night, and added XS. We've moved again recently, but the night's so well known the name will remain for good now.

Me: Peter Kay, the comedian has performed there, and was in "Doctor Who". You have lots of "Doctor Who" connections which we'll talk about in a bit. Any chance you will make an appearance in "Doctor Who"? Have you ever been asked?

Toby: It would fulfill a lifelone ambition, but haven't been asked.

Me: How do you like the new series?

Toby: I love it, more than I could ever have anticipated. I've enjoyed all the new Doctors and I think the reinvention of the show - making something perceived as a bit of a joke work for the modern audience whilst appealing to old timers like me - has been nothing short of miraculous.

Me: Congratulations on winning the inaugural Les Dawson Award For Services To Comedy award. I bet that was a huge thrill, and you beat Ken Dodd, who also was once in "Doctor Who" as well. Did you win anything cool, like a trophy?

Toby: I won a trophy that was a mini statue of Les Dawson. I have it still.

Me: You know, there's fans, and then there's Whovians, which I like to think I am, and then there's you, sir. You have top be the ultimate Whovian. How long have you been watching the show?

Toby: Well, that's kind, but I'm not, nor do I aspire to be. Anyone who wants to to be top dog in fandom circles must be perfectly horrendous. I love the series, same as everyone else with any taste, but anyone who believes themselves to be in the upper echelons of a hierarchy amongst admirers of the "Doctor Who" would be insufferable, frankly. Fortunately for me "Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf" has opened up all sorts of professional opportunities (this wasn't the plan) to combine my work with my pleasure. I'm very lucky. I've been watching the show as long as I can remember, all my life.

Me: There's a shit load of connections between you and "Doctor Who", Toby, which we won't name all here, but there's one I have to ask you about. You had your initials marked in a "Doctor Who" novel? What the hell? Explain that.

Toby: A friend of mine, Andy Holding, knew Alistair Pearson (with whom I share a birthday, as it happens) and kindly got him to etch our initials into the ice on the cover of "Dragonfire". That was rather fun, but I had no hand in facilitating it.

Me: Who was your first Doctor?

Toby: Tom Baker - "Invisible Enemy" part one is my earliest memory.

Me: You do a lot of different things, Toby. Your one man show "Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf", your weekly comedy shows, acting and a BBC radio show. What do you do that you like best?

Toby: What I like best is the sheer variety of what I do, and I wouldn't want to give any of it up. I love doing the DVD commentaries : I work hard on those and the people I've done them with have been very kind and complimentary - praise from your childhood heroes is as good as it gets. Hand on heart though, deep down acting is my first love and I would like to be able to do a bit more of that than I have recently.

Me: What do you talk about on your BBC show?

Toby: Do you mean on BBC 7? I hosted "The 7th Dimension", introducing sci-fi plays, readings and series, with the odd genre infused comedy of horror offering along the way. I was only ever a temporary host - Nick Briggs is the rightful owner and I filled in for the couple of months he was touring "Doctor Who Live". I really enjoyed the gig, indulging in my penchant for arcane trivia and getting hooked in "Journey Into Space" - I was also able to squeeze in things like a tribute to Barry Letts and the odd Who-related gag which thrilled me no end. Or maybe you mean "Now I Know My BBC"; my newest one-man show which went to Edinburgh last year. That's another trawl through childhood memories but is a bit tougher than "Moths" - it's something of a clarion call to defend the licence fee from its attackers. It's still a comedy and has plenty of whimsy and fun, but the ending has quite a lot of biting, forceful comedy aimed at the Murdoch empire and its baleful acolytes.

Me: I was going to ask you if you met anybody to do with "Doctor Who" apart from Robert, and because of the "Moths" show, and then I saw your website. You pretty much met everybody, and worked with some cool people. Who haven't you met that you would love to?

Toby: I would have loved to have met Troughton, my favourite Doctor. I've not met Elisabeth Sladen either, but that's probably a good thing as I wanted to marry her when I was nine.

Me: You know, here on the Phile, I have interviewed a few "Doctor Who" people myself. Frazer Hines, Louise Jameson, Terry Molly and Paul Parsons who wrote a book on "Doctor Who". So, do you think you can hook me up with more?

Toby: I'll have a bash. I'll see if I can hawk your e-mail address about, but to be honest, much as I've met many a Who celeb, it's not like we hang out! Ironically, it's two you mention, Frazer and Louise, that I probably know best.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your one man show, "Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf". I know what it is, but some readers probably don't. So, explain the concept. It's very funny.

Toby: It's a one man stand-up comedy show about growing up loving "Doctor Who", the show being cancelled, and it returning triumphant. It's interspersed with personal, autobiographical things and stuff that should chime with many a fan even though it's written to appeal even to people who've never seen "Doctor Who" before. Deep down though, it's about finding your way in the world and the little things that make life special even though it can be tough. But in a funny way!

Me: When did you first perform it and where? You have performed it many times since, right?

Toby: I performed the first, very different, version in October 2005 (just to see if I could) before the refined show premiered in Edinburgh 2006 after some months previewing. I've since toured it internationally.

Me: Have you changed it up any?

Toby: I always keep it fresh - it's not like a script set in stone, and some bits have fallen by the wayside as they've become less relevant or I've got bored with them, whilst new jokes come to me all the time (up there, on stage, in the thick of it, is when you write your best stuff, frankly).

Me: There's also a recording of it available to buy which is a little different and stars some folks from "Doctor Who" like Colin Baker. Was that hard to put together?

Toby: Well, I didn't really put it together, I just rewrote the script under the guidance of BBC producer Paul Hardy who got it commissioned for BBC 7. I made casting suggestions but the production team got everything together. The rewrites were a learning curve - some bits got chopped out due to time, which I rather miss, and I wish I'd taken on board some of Paul's suggestions a bit more, but as the first radio thing I wrote I'm pretty pleased.

Me: Did you ever think of writing a sequel? It would make a really good movie, you know that? By the way, a long time ago I downloaded it from iTunes, Toby. Is there a book version of it?

Toby: That's lots of questions. The BBC show was a sort of sequel, but I'm wary of doing another entirely "Who" related show as "Doctor Who" is my passion but comedy is my living - I shouldn't be a one trick pony. Never say never though. I'd be interested in adapting it for television, definitely, but these things take forever. I'd love to do a novel too, but I find writing very difficult to commit to: I have to be strapped to my chair and held at gunpoint to churn stuff out. I also work quite a hefty amount, so fitting it in, in a disciplined way, will take every ounce of my perseverence.

Me: Did I read somewhere that you are going to stop performing the show?

Toby: I did have a vague plan to wrap it up but I keep being asked to do it. If people still want it, so long as I'm doing new things elsewhere and the show itself doesn't atrophy and grow stale, I'll do it.

Me: You took it to America, which is cool, and I saw you did it in Florida where I live. Shit, I missed it! Where did you perform here?

Toby: I performed at the Hurricane Who convention in Orlando, which was lovely.

Me: Any chance you'll come back to Florida to do the show again?

If they ask me, I will come.

Me: So, Toby, what's next for you? You are so busy with everything you do I really thank you for taking time out to do this interview, sir.

Toby: My pleasure - they're good questions. What's next, well, we're editing the second volume of my "Running Through Corridors". I've many live comedy gigs in the diary, plus some DVD commentaries, and I've got a regular column in Doctor Who Magazine where I argue about all things Whovian with fellow comic and fan Johnny Candon.

Me: Go ahead and plug your website and anything else you want to. Please come back when your next volume comes out, I have so much to ask you. Tell Robert he should be on the Phile.

Toby: I'll drop him your e-mail address. He's very nice. My website is; there's a blog there (which I keep up only when I have something interesting to say, which is usually about twice a month).

Me: I think you are funny, love everything you do, and I am a big fan, sir. Thanks again and like I said, please come back. Deal?

Toby: Deal!

Well, that about does it for another entry. Thanks to Toby for a great interview. You can see his new show "Now I Know My BBC" on April 6th at Carriageworks, Leeds and "Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf" on 5th June in Loughborough. The Phile will be back next Wednesday with American music legend Danny Nova. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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