As has been teased for some time, on Saturday 22nd April two mighty worlds clashed. Doctor Who and The Mr Men were put in a same blender and out popped.....Dr Mister....well four interpretations of four different Doctors, all set in the world first created by Roger Hargreaves back in 1971. The idea is to have a Doctor Who story in the Mr Men format, with all of it's simple shapes and colours, and simple, broad humour, but told in a way that would appeal to both the young and of course - rather cunningly, us fans.
The books available at the event were the four released, and I must confess that it seemed quite a random choice of Doctors to introduce into the Hargreaves world. We had Dr First (the first Doctor), Dr Fourth (the fourth - oh you get the idea!), Dr Eleventh and of course Dr Twelfth.
To launch the series Roger's son, Adam (who has continued the much loved series of books since the death of his father Roger in 1988), was in attendance nestled among daleks and weeping angels, on the top floor of the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff.
So, I settled down next to a Skovox Blitzer that had defiately seen much better days, and watched the man charm an adoring audience of both young and old. I must confess to being a bit of a fan myself, as a child I was given a new Mr Man book every week, and can remember being rather proud of my little collection. (us fans and our collections eh? - nothing ever changes).
Hargreaves took questions from both the the host of the event and from the audience while drawing Dr Twelfth for for all to see. And what an eclectic bunch we were, as well as the young, excited children were of course the fans, and they did us proud. There were cosplayers abound. Along with pretty much every incarnation of the Doctor, we had a couple of Osgoods, some Missys and even a Jamie. The cream of the crop though (in my opinion) was a young guy cosplaying as Missy in the full Edwardian dress, make up and varnished nails. He looked stunning.......and very, very tall.
Nuggets gleaned from the Q and A were that Dr Fourth was Adam's favourite to draw, as he loved the scarf and hat. He had drawn (spoilers) a Sea Devil, and took the colours of his Doctors were inspired by clothing they wore. He also divulged that the BBC has quite a bit of involvement in the stories, and the development of how the characters look. Also that the Mr Men books themselves started when Adam asked his Dad what a tickle looked like.
There was a break for lunch, during which a promotional video for the new range was shown, it was quite amusing to see cute little daleks scooting over the green hills of Hargreaves world. A sweet looking weeping angel stalking closer and closer to the camera, and a chunky little cyberman smiling cheerfully while taking pictures. The short film on a loop made me want to read the books, so it was obviously doing it's job.
When Hargreaves returned, he started signing. There were a lot of people wanting signed copies, evidently more than expected as the event over-ran slightly. The long queue for autographed copies snaked in front of a stone dalek around a brightly coloured Moffat dalek (urgh!) and all the way back to a wooden cyberman. I have to confess to having a quiet little chuckle to myself, as now and again I did notice Hargreaves give one or two puzzled and mildly concerned looks at some of the more elaborate cosplayers who were seeking his autograph. Welcome to our world sir.
By the time most of Cardiff (or so it seemed) had managed to get their books signed, we moved onto to a special video presentation. It was a reading of Dr Twelfth by none other than Missy herself, Michelle Gomez. Missy (quite rightly) featured heavily in the Dr Twelfth book. It is essentially the story of Missy stealing artefacts throughout time with the Doctor in hot pursuit, until he stops to have something to eat. It was obviously all very Doctor Who and all very Mr Men.
Finally we had the big reveal - and that was the unveiling the next four entrants into this seemingly bizarre (but incredibly cute) cross over universe. There were clues given for each new Doctor who was to have the Mr Men treatment, the best by far being a road sign that simply said 'North'. The new Doctors were......Dr Second, Dr Seventh, Dr Eighth and yes, you guessed it, Dr Ninth. Dr Seventh with his cute little hat and question mark umbrella seemed to particularly suit this new range. After the announcement, a stunning looking cake was unveiled and the crowd went wild.
So, to sum up, it was a lovely afternoon, spent in the company of a very genial and patient man, who is obviously very proud and passionate about his father's brand. A brand that I'm surethat now, with the involvement of the BBC and Dr Who can only strengthen further.
As people started to disperse I made a quiet exit through the gift shop, and like the marketer's dream that I am, purchased an I.M. Foreman, Totters Yard hoodie on the way out.