The Stone Tapes Symposium

PrintE-mail Written by Robin Pierce

Sunday, March 19th, 2017 saw the University of Lincoln open its doors to The Stone Tapes Symposium, which was produced in tandem with The Stone Tapes, a genre radio show broadcast monthly from the University via Siren FM.

The event organiser was Siren FM founder and academic Alex Lewczuk, senior lecturer in English and Journalism who said:

This is the second telefantasy themed symposium we`ve hosted at the University of Lincoln following the success of our 2015 celebration of Thunderbirds 50th anniversary. This time the focus was more on the classic Doctor Who phenomenon and provided an opportunity for some great networking between filmmakers, writers and actors.

It was a day to celebrate all things Doctor Who, from an academic analysis of the subliminal attitudes on display in a classic episode to a discussion with the writer of a recent multi-part Doctor Who comic to panels featuring a director and an actress, both from the series.

Opening the event was SF writer and academic Professor Fiona Moore, who delivered a presentation about colonialism and post-colonialism in Doctor Who with particular reference to Remembrance of the Daleks (1984)

Graeme Harper and Daphne Ashbrook 

Doctor Who comic book writer George Mann then delivered an insider’s look at creating and scripting a graphic narrative, explaining the necessity for a close working relationship and rapport between the writer and the artist. This was followed by a lively panel discussion between George, horror/fantasy author Sam Stone and Starburst’s Robin Pierce.

Patricia H Ash-Vildosola, the editor-in-chief of Gearhearts Steampunk Glamour Revue led a lively forum discussion on the depiction and stereotyping of disability in speculative fiction to close the morning session.

Kicking off the afternoon was a presentation by independent director Darren Scales who showed a short feature titled Darkwave: Edge of the Storm before discussing the problems of funding independent science fiction films.

Alex Lewczuk hosted a panel that featured director Graeme Harper, who has directed Doctor Who episodes from the Peter Davidson and Colin Baker eras (Caves of Androzani, Revelation of the Daleks) and many of the pivotal episodes from the David Tennant years.

Joining them on the panel was actress Daphne Ashbrook, familiar to fans as Dr Grace Holloway alongside Paul McGann in the Doctor Who television film of 2006. They recounted anecdotes of their time working on the series and answered several questions from the audience.


L-R:  (seated) David J.Howe, George Mann, Sam Stone, Daphne Ashbrook, Robin Pierce, Patricia H. Ash-Vildosola

The day closed with the first live transmission of The Stone Tapes with Sam Stone, David J. Howe, George Mann, Patricia H. Ash-Vildosola, and Robin Pierce with Daphne Ashbrook as a special guest star. The hour-long show provided book and film reviews and a retrospective look at Hammer Films classic Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter.

As Alex Lewczuk remarked at the end of the day:

Wrapping the day up with a live recording of our monthly genre-themed programme `The Stone Tapes` with the awesome fantasy writer Sam Stone proved to be the proverbial cherry on top of a day filled with imagination, fun and SF magic.

 Photos by Alex Lewczuk

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