...Gets The Inside Story


Seventh Galaxy announced a signing for the official companion book to the first two seasons of the new “Doctor Who”. Signing the book would be its author, Gary Russell, former Large Endings’ supremo and newly appointed Season 3 script-editor. The website promised additional guests from the first two seasons, and finally a few days before, Moya Brady (Brigit in “Love and Monsters”) was added. However, this proved to be the limit of guests. Chalky and Tigger were busy celebrating the sixtieth birthday of the Colin Baker-lookalike that claims to be Chalky’s father. Dufus was also due to have been attending, but a last minute illness meant that he also was a no-show. Therefore, only Shirt sallied forth to Barking. He had believed that there had also been a signing at the What Shop that day, but a check on their website before he left showed that it was not for another month.


Reaching the shop, Shirt found the shortest queue for some time. Entering the shop, he purchased the required items, two new “Bernice Summerfield” audios, and two packets of “Battles in Time” cards. Passing the queue on his way to the shops downstairs, Shirt noticed one fan with a whole shoebox of “BiT” cards, presumably all duplicates. A quick detour to ASDA to get food to munch in the queue, and Shirt was back in the upper level, joining the queue. Making himself comfortable on the marble floor, Shirt began reading a thriller written by the creator of “Spooks”. Half-an-hour later, no-one else had joined the queue behind him. Finally a family of three young children arrived with their mother and her friend. After five minutes of standing still in the queue, all three decided to replicate the “sliding on your knees” actions made famous by Peter Kay in his “Mum Wants A Bungalow” tour. The novelty of this having worn off, the two young boys decided to attempt to dismantle the fake plant in a large pot by where Seventh Galaxy used to be.


The little girl, however, had noticed something.

“Who’s that weirdo ?”, she asked her mother, gesturing to a costumed character handing out entry forms for a ghost-themed Treasure Hunt around the centre.

“That’s not a weirdo, it’s a wizard”, the mother corrected.

‘Right first time!’, Shirt thought to himself, looking over.

“But why’s his face so low ?”, continued the girl.

Looking again, Shirt saw that indeed the costume’s face was at chest level (with the wearer’s head inside the pointed hat), meaning that the wizard’s arms seemed to be protruding from his ears.

The girl’s mother didn’t seem to have an answer to this.


At 12pm, the queue started moving, swiftly. After about 30 minutes, Shirt was at the front and being beckoned into the shop by Poppy. Joining the small queue inside, and attempting not to drop his two copies of the book (one for Dufus) and cardboard tube containing his Series 2 Poster, Shirt edged ever forward. First up was Ms. Brady, who signed first Dufus’ and then Shirt’s “Doctor Who: The Inside Story” on the ‘Love and Monsters’ page, and two index cards for Dufus and Shirt’s Series 2 boxsets. However, it was then that problems started to arise. First, Shirt struggled to pull his poster out of the tube, then he couldn’t find a spare hand to hold the tube, ending up by giving it to a shop assistant standing by the signing table. Finally, Ms. Brady couldn’t make the silver pen provided by Shirt write on the poster. The shop assistant then produced five other pens (silver and gold), none of which Moya was able to make work. Finally, having made one pen actually write, she managed to sign her name, and Shirt moved on, apologising profusely, having returned all pens to their owner. Gary Russell happily signed the two books, the cover of a “Gallifrey” audio written by himself, and then on the “Famous Five” video cover produced by Shirt. A conversation then took place about how like the current model, the child Russell looked, with Gary refusing to acknowledge the likeness. Picking up covers and books, and retrieving his cardboard tube, Shirt exited the shop to sort himself out. This done, Shirt slowly wended his way home, after a quick detour to every charity shop in Barking.