Darren: What we're doing is actively moving Anoraks away from being only about middle-aged guys, which, I have to say, for a long time was my experience of fandom. It really was a “men only club”, but in the last ten years it’s really opened up and brought new blood in. In the first series, we had a bit of fun playing with that sense of entitlement that often comes from older male fans. But once the audience got to know our three central characters, it was always the intention that we’d introduce more female characters who reflected what the state of fandom is currently. While series one had the fabulous Abbie Hirst playing Damien’s long-suffering partner Rachel, she was not really a fan. Series two gives us a chance to address that.
Sian: And this is not to say that all “Anoraks” have to be men. It is just that our initial characters were men. As with any show, we wanted to establish our main characters, get to know them, and then start exploring their larger worlds, which includes the many women in their lives but also the ones they run into along the way.
Ed: We introduced Gerlinde in the episode "The Web of Terror" and thought that it would be a great opportunity to really poke fun at the chauvinist side of fandom that we were hearing about on the news and in forums. At this time, it was announced that there was a real possibility of a woman assuming the role of the Doctor after Peter Capaldi, and we showed Rob's complete inability to support that decision. The irony is that he depends upon the secret insider information of none other than... gasp... a woman! It has been our goal to represent the viewpoints of a wide range of fans, so up until now, we've had Rob be the more immovable, old-series traditionalist, Damien the overly-excited and somewhat childish fanboy, while Mike and his supposed connections to the production team offered an attitude that was somewhat lofty and superior. Mike, being our gay character, has no problem with women in positions of power and influence and it was suitable to bring Gerlinde in as one of his friends. I also have to say that I've come to adore the name Gerlinde, which actually stemmed out of a typo on the initial draft Darren sent to me. Apparently, it was supposed to be Geraldine, but I think this ended up being way more original and the uniqueness of the name made for an interesting interpretation from Emma (Jason). It is my hope that she will be back in series two. In fact, on a side note, that episode gave us the highest viewing figures of the entire run, so I suppose, we'd better get her back!
Darren: I think the whole thing has been great, but also really hard work! Filming at Regenerations was great fun and everyone was so supportive, especially Cary Woodward, (the convention organiser), and Sian, the co-ordinator at the Village Hotel in Swansea. It was also good to welcome Rob Stradling and Brian Willis into the cast. And I – ahem – may have body-doubled in one of the scenes that had a guest cameo. I had to take my shirt off, “all for the sake of art, luv!" There were lots of giggles filming that scene! Generally what I’ve really enjoyed has been the growing camaraderie amongst the cast. I know this is going to sound corny but genuinely we’ve grown into a family.
Ed: I assure you the giggles were not coming from the crew, but from the bloody guest actors - well, one in particular! That Anneke! She's simply the best - so youthful and so full of fun. And completely up for being in bed with a bunch of men! Of course, her and Terry Molloy's participation in the finale has only whet our creative appetites for more cameos in the future. Darren has this mantra: “Three seasons and a film!” and I'd love for that to become a reality.
Darren: For series two, I've been delving a bit more into the fan politics, the hierarchy and rivalries and the way different fans treat other fans. I'd definitely like more guest cameos, and especially I’d like to do an episode that we wrote a while ago around a former Doctor Who companion which we couldn’t fit into the first season because of scheduling issues, though that might be something for series three!
Sian: I’d like to explore the concept of what it means to be a fan a little bit more. Sure, these guys are Doctor Who fans, but what are the people in their lives fans of, and how do they behave with their fan friends? I mean, can rugby and Doctor Who fans get on?
Ed: On the production side, I'd like to see more people involved in the shoot - maybe some students who would like experience on a set - but I'd definitely be up for getting a dedicated Script Supervisor. And the format is changing a bit too. At the start we aimed for punchy, five minute episodes but by the end of series one, we found that there was no consistency in running times. I think we just wanted to delve into the hearts of the characters longer and we were reluctant to leave them. In series two, the page count on each of the scripts has almost always been 12 pages - that could potentially mean we'll have ten episodes running at between ten and fifteen minutes each. I'm seeking that consistency in running times but I'm also aware that our episodes don't always time out like normal scripts. Some pages whiz by while others have a lot of direction text and it will be during rehearsals that we really start to see how long or how short the episodes are going to be. We can't give away too much of what is to come but I can say that the spirit of Anoraks is still there, even though we've lost Seán and Abbie. But we've also gained Kim. The great thing is that the energy of the show has changed slightly but it is still Anoraks. And who knows? There is always room to bring old favourites back, whether in cameos or in entire episodes. I just think we're trying to make the production process a little more flexible so that we can actually get stuff done!