Talking about Fantom 2021
Events are back! Paul and Dexter discuss plans for 2021, and the excitement of returning for Doctor Who fun!
Paul and Dexter talk to Jason.
JASON: Following on from Boris’s recent announcement on the 22nd of February, Fantom are back and they’ve got some announcements to make! Dex and Paul! How are you both?
DEX: We’re good. Thank you. Yes. Well thankfully with this roadmap in place. We now can start to plan the future of Fantom events.
JASON: Okay. So what is it going to look? Like? First of all, let’s talk about Chiswick?
DEX: Most of the people watching this video will know, that during the summer last year, we managed to get three Covid-secure events under our belts. So it meant that we have things like staggered entry times for attendees; so we only had about 10 to 15 people in the hall at one point; we had PPE, so everyone wore face masks, visors, we used hand sanitizers. Even down to the pens the celebrities used, were only used by them and was sanitized before use.
PAUL: Safer than a trip to your supermarket!
JASON: Indeed, they were. They were very well run and the feedback we got think was very very good. So, when’s the first Chiswick?
DEX: The first Chiswick is on the 24th of April. Tickets for that and the May event are available to purchase now. It’s important to note that whilst these regulations are all in place, it is possible that the dates may move, in which we will move with it. We are offering a Covid guarantee, with all our tickets so that if you purchase a ticket during which time they can’t run because of national restrictions, then we’ll either exchange it for forthcoming event or give you a full refund.
JASON: And I take it any event that we run including Chiswick will be run under the current guidelines as they are at that time?
DEX: Definitely, if things progress during May, June, July through to August and we might find ourselves in July and August with no restrictions whatsoever. Then we would be back to do running them precisely how we did before.
JASON: I think it’s great that we’re able to get underway. I think there was some very positive news that was delivered by Boris. We appreciate that some of those timings are obviously to be confirmed, but it’s good that we’re finally getting going and coming back. I think it will be a really safe Chiswick for fans to come and attend, but do you have any guest announcements yet, or is that to be confirmed?
PAUL: We do have some guest announcements for our first event back in April! We’ve got U.N.I.T. yes, but not the whole organization, but three of the best, we have got the lovely Katy Manning, and we’ve also got John Levene and Richard Franklin. So a Trio of U.N.I.T. goodness!
DEX: And don’t forget one of the nice things that has happened because of Covid (one of the only things) is that we also have our TARDIS photo shoots. I’m sure many of you will see me online or even take part in them. The socially distanced-TARDIS photo shoots will remain!
JASON: And as we come into the good weather as well in April and May, hopefully then we’ve got some space in the gardens and socially distanced hello’s if people are waiting in queues for photo shoots.
DEX: We are in a very very positive position at the moment. There’s some fantastic results with all the vaccines and hospitalisation numbers coming down; the majority of the celebrities who we work with – are over 50 of at least had there first jab and some have had their second. So touch wood as it stands, at this moment, with the information we have, everything is looking really positive.
JASON: Safety is paramount and we will ensure that that is in place. So that’s the Chiswick’s. What about the big one? What about Utopia?
DEX: Right! Well here goes, we have elected to move Utopia by about a month.
PAUL: It was due just before the restrictions are meant to come completely off. The point is we didn’t get to do it last year. We’re really really looking forward to getting back to doing it, so for the sake of another month, it makes sense to us to just push back to give us that comfort break.
DEX: So, it’s going to run from Friday the 9th till Sunday the 11th of July at the same venue, The Willows Conference Centre on the Wyboston complex in Bedfordshire. We will contact everyone who has already made a purchase of tickets to give them information about the hotel options and things like that in the next few days.
It is important to say, that if any of these stages slip by a few weeks, we have contingency plans in place, and the events should go ahead regardless.
Also plans are afoot so that if anyone who is unable to attend, whether that’s because they’re not secure in being out or they’re restricted in whatever way or foreign travel isn’t as convenient as it would usually be, there are plans for you to join in. We can’t say precisely what those are yet, but we will do next few weeks.
JASON: Okay, so we’ll be taking all of the good safety measures that we’ve got in place at Chiswick taking those across to Utopia. what can people expect at this year’s Utopia?
PAUL: A cracking good time. That’s what they can expect. They always get it Utopia.
DEX: Basically in a nutshell. This is a friendly atmosphere where fans can be fans. We can mingle with the stars from Doctor Who; we’ll bring a variety of guests from behind and in front of the camera, the classic series, the new series, all the various spin-offs.
We are in a lovely new venue, which we were informed yesterday has just had a refurb, so we’ve not even seen that yet and everyone gets free tea and coffee.
DEX: Unlimited biscuits.
PAUL: One of the important things that always feedback about Utopia from the guests and attendees; the guests enjoy themselves as much as the attendees because they don’t feel that there’s a division. They don’t feel that there’s a border between the contact they have and they genuinely get involved and you know, they sit in the communal areas. It is probably the closest access you get, relaxed. At the last Utopia Lalla said it was like meeting up with old friends and I think it is the best compliment we can have.
JASON: And it’s a larger venue at Wyboston? So plenty of room for us to spread out. So if we are still in a social distancing position and still got guidelines to follow, quite easy to do. I take it the hotel have all those measures set up for us as well.
DEX: Exactly, Wyboston is considerably bigger than our previous venues, to the point where if restrictions mean that we’re going to be have smaller capacities, we have option of moving into a bigger building. Big massive wide corridors; the facilities are outstanding. So I’m very happy to say that I would I’ll eat my hat if we don’t get a Utopia this summer!
PAUL: Although the facilities are very sophisticated. The evening quiz will still be as home-baked as it comes.
JASON: I’m hoping we’ll do a karaoke as well. But I’m sure nobody else is!
PAUL: Don’t mention the karaoke ok, we want to encourage people to come.
JASON: I’m going to tell you now. I am bursting with exciting for us to actually get to Utopia this year. We’ve all missed meeting up with the stars, the fans, whoever. It’s as much of a good weekend for us on the Fantom team as it is for everyone who comes along. We really are looking forward to being back.
DEX: Just think this could be our first time, we are allowed to socialize without any restrictions. That’s rather exciting.
JASON: I’m not sure what I’ll do without being in my little bubble here!
PAUL: Bring the dalek! You know you want to!
JASON: I’m sure Rusty will make an appearance somewhere along the line.
DEX: I’m sure he will!
JASON: And that’s running in three days. So that’s the Friday to Saturday and the Sunday. I assume we have events through all those three days.
DEX: Yes, they’ll be signings, panels, we are running two stages this year as well as lots of various entertainments and activities across the whole weekend.
JASON: That’s Utopia then, so one more question for you. Are we going to get Pandorica, down in good old Bristol this year?
DEX: Yes, we are back on Friday the 12th to the 14th of November in the same venue in Bristol.
JASON I can’t wait, all of the tickets I’m assuming will be going on sale as we announced we added
DEX: They are now live all the information that we have discussed is available on the website. There’s a PDF which you can download which will give you all the perspective dates and all our safety information going forward. Things will change and adapt as we go along because the restrictions hopefully will continue to be eased as the year continues.
So again, all our instructions everything will keep being added to and adapted as needed.
JASON: We understand that there are going to be concerns from some of the people who would normally attend some of our events, feeling perhaps it’s too soon or not right for them at the time. What would you say to somebody who wants to come? Is there anything that we could say that could reassure them that we’re going to put a really a good event on?
PAUL: We ran very safe, very happy events last year. I think world’s moving into a better position now than even we were back then. I think our events are quite small scale, it’s not an intense crowd. I think they are as relaxed as you’re going to find, and you know, if you do have any questions that you are uncertain about on something just email in, or you can tweet us.
JASON: We will be looking forward to seeing our old friends and familiar faces again.