I've had the pleasure recently to talk to Mark Baumgarten and Christian Basel who are the guys that make up the excellent Doctor Who podcast MarkWho 42 which I found out is more than just a Doctor Who podcast. If you are in the Florida area check them out at local conventions as they will be at the Paradise City Comic Con in Fort Lauderdale this weekend December 9th to the 11th so stop by their table 2131 and say hi.
How did MarkWHO42 come about and how long has it been around?
MARK: I had been a Doctor Who fan for a long time, and my girlfriend told me with as much knowledge I had on the subject I should do something with it. You know, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility " and the like. She said I should start a blog. I decided against it. But then I met the show's co-creator Patricia Helm on Facebook and we decided to start a fan page on Facebook and Tumblr. The Facebook page came on line on April Fool's Day in 2012. It got a lot of attention, and had some Doctor Who book authors as followers as well. I decided I wanted to do a blog after all, but not written. I wanted to do a podcast.
So Trish and I came up with an idea to do a show that was done with an improvised storyline and characters. MarkWHO42 was a Time Lord who was exiled from Gallifrey and came to Earth and reviewed the "real" adventures of his old friend Theta Sigma which was adapted for the show Doctor Who. I played MarkWHO42 and Trish played the TORRID (which is what we said the TARDIS was really called as Susan said she came up with the name TARDIS in the first episode of Doctor Who) as a Idris type character. During episode 2, we added a UNIT field officer, played by Eduardo M Freyre, and a plot line that featured a uncast character villain called Mad Jaspers. As we did the story we also reviewed the first half of Series 7 as it was aired each week in character.
I made a unilateral decision, since I was editing, directing and producing the show myself (which I still do to this day), that even though this idea made us different than other podcasts, it didn't work in my opinion. So in episode 8 of "markwho42 and the TORRID Tori Podcast Blog", after we reviewed Angels Take Manhattan, Mad Jaspers came back and sent us through a dimensional portal into reality. The last words of the episode were, "I'm Mark Baumgarten and you've been listening to MarkWHO42's WHOniverse." We didn't do a show for about a few weeks and came back on Halloween weekend of 2012 with episode 1 of MarkWHO42's WHOniverse... and the world was never the same again!
How did you guys come up with the name?
MARK: I've given a different answer to this question over the years including that it was my email address (which it was) but really it comes from my name Mark, the show title Doctor "WHO", and The Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything (DnA's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the funniest books ever written). So Mark + Who + 42 or as we write it: MarkWHO42
What is the main purpose of the podcast?
CHRISTIAN: We want to bring listeners the latest "news, reviews and interviews from the Doctor WHO WHOniverse and BEYOND!"
MARK: I think we do the show to share our love of Doctor Who and the sci-fi genre in general. We fulfill what I call the three E's. I think we try to Educate, Entertain, and Enjoy Doctor Who.
Is it hard to produce a podcast every week and keeping it fresh and different each time?
CHRISTIAN: It is a challenge. We try to have different topics. reviews and celebrity interviews that keep the show fresh.
What have been some of the challenges you guys have faced while doing the podcast?
CHRISTIAN: This year, we've upped our appearances at conventions to almost twice a month. Also, for the first time this year, our convention presense has expanded outside of Florida. We wanted to make more appearances at conventions to help grow our audience and help people Geek Out. This makes for a challenge to continue to do a weekly podcast. It's hard to record a show when your team is getting ready for the next convention right around the corner.
MARK: Getting new guests is also a challenge. Every time we think the well has run dry, we find a new source, and we are able to procure new celebrities for our interviews.
Who have you guy’s interviewed for MarkWHO42 and who was the biggest celebrity so far?
MARK: We have been fortunate to have had a large number of guests on our show. In fact, I think this is one of the differences of our show to other Doctor Who podcasts that are mostly just people giving their views on DW. We actually try to bring our listeners one step closer to the creators and actors who make the show and ask the questions that they may have always wondered about. As for the biggest, here is a list of who we have had on our show so far. You can decide the biggest. I wouldn't even care to try.
Kevin Karsten & Jason Garofalo (Doctor Stew)
Arnold T Blumberg
Ken Spivey (Ken Spivey Band)
GHI Paul Bradford
Tony Lee (comics)
Travis Richey (Inspector Chronicles)
Carrie Keranen (Inspector Chronicles)
Eric Loya (Inspector Chronicles)
Patrick Hawkins (GEEKS OF COMEDY)
Scott “Dr. Geek” Viguie
Tony Paul Way
Yee Jee Tso
Alisa Stern & Scott Ampleford (Doctor Puppet)
Jim Sorenson (Comic Book Artist)
David J Howe
Kevin Sharpley (The Beach Chronicles)
Sebastian J. Brook (Doctor WHO ONLINE)
Chris Harrelson (The Walking Dead)
Sarah Louise Madison
Declan May & Simon Brett
Trevor Neal & Simon Hickson
John Davies (editor of Celestial Toyroom for the DWAS)
Elliot Chapman (Big Finish)
Jeremy Palko (The Walking Dead)
Anna Von Hooft
Jon St. John (Duke Nukem)
and many more to come...
Do you mainly interview Doctor Who actors/actress from the Classic Series or the New Series or a little of both?
CHRISTIAN: It varies upon their availability, but we've had a little of both.
MARK: We try to include all of Doctor Who. Yes, there are some people (including us) who use the term classic and new Who, but it really has been just 53 years of Doctor Who. It took a break on TV for a number of years, but continuity-wise, it's one show. So we cover it all.
Do you get most of your interviews in person or by Skype?
MARK: However, we do sometimes conduct guerrilla-style interviews in person at conventions. But like Christian said, Skype is used for the featured interviews.
Do you have a favorite interview?
CHRISTIAN: All of them. No seriously. I've learned so much and have had a lot of fun times with everyone. If I had to pick one, I'd say Katy Manning. She was a blast. I've been asking her to come on the show for almost three years. She was definiately worth the wait.
MARK: I don't think it's fair to pick favorites. There have been so many, so I can't narrow it down to one. I hope that doesn't sound like I'm evading the question. I really have enjoyed 100% of our interviewees.
Do you have an interview that didn’t meet your expectations?
CHRISTIAN: No. We provide a relaxing and fun interview with our guests, which in turn makes for great interviews. If we're having fun, so is the audience when they listen.
MARK: What he said...
What would be your ultimate Doctor Who interview?
CHRISTIAN: Any of the new series Doctors. For me, it would be Chris Eccleston. As I have not seen him do many Doctor WHO interviews post Doctor WHO and I want to invite him to come out to conventions and feel the fan love for himself. The fans would love to see him.
MARK: It would have to be my first Doctor, Tom Baker. I really would love to be able to talk with him. But I'm not sure I will ever make that happen which frustrates me to no end. But I can dream, can't I?
If you could interview William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee, what would you ask them and why?
CHRISTIAN: You mean besides what it's like on the other side? But seriously. Let's see... Are you happy with the direction the show has taken? I want to know if they suspected that the show would last as long as it has, even with through the "wilderness years."
MARK: Hartnell - How much joy did playing the part of The Doctor bring you, knowing that kids throughout the U.K. loved you?
Troughton - Did you ever dream that it was because of you, and the way you portrayed The Doctor differently than Bill Hartnell, that Doctor Who has continued in some form until today and will go on even further?
Pertwee - Did you ever think that even though you never uttered it on the show, you would be known as saying "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" as much as William Shatner would be misquoted as saying "Beam me up, Scotty" on Star Trek? And I think Pertwee would like that he got the funny question...
Is MarkWHO42 just a Doctor Who website and Podcast or do you branch out to other scifi shows?
CHRISTIAN: Last year, we made a conscious decision to go "beyond the WHOniverse." It seems you cannot talk about Doctor WHO without its influence in other medias. You can see little things appear such as in the Simpsons, Leverage, South Park, so many other shows. And now with other actors leaving to do other shows and movies. Doctor WHO's influence stretches far beyond its roots.
What makes MarkWHO42 different from other Doctor Who podcasts?
CHRISTIAN: Our chemistry. Our team brings to the table different experiences and knowledge that makes for fun and entertaining discussions.
We have diverse conversations, picking apart episodes and topics. Bringing different dynamics and ideas.
MARK: I agree. Our chemistry. We have actually had some cast changes over he last 4 years, and I think every time I make the decision on who I add to the show after someone decides to move on, I think it has worked. Each cohost brings a different opinion and experiences to the table, and that's also important.
What else does MarkWHO42 do? I see that you set up at conventions and sell merchandise. Do you guys also have a store?
MARK: As of now, I run markwho42 Books as a store on Amazon. You can find it at www.amazon.com/shops/markwho42 and I sell out of print Doctor Who novels there. Our flagship radio station Krypton Radio will be selling MarkWHO42 t-shirts in the very near future as well.
How many conventions do you go to in a year and where about do you go?
CHRISTIAN: It varies from year to year. In 2016, we will have appeared at roughly twenty conventions. Two of them were in Dallas and Oklahoma City. We plan to make our reach even further out in 2017.
What is your favorite convention to go to every year?
CHRISTIAN: Don't have a specific one. Every convention is Disney World to me. This year, if I had to pick, I'd say Dallas, because it was my first covention out of state.
MARK: Dallas was fun, and Peter Capaldi was there! But I really loved Geekinomicon in Oklahoma City because I got to interview the cast of the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie on stage before we screened the show. That was the coolest. But I also enjoy the cons in Florida, especially because that's where we are mostly known... for now!
What conventions are on tap next where you will be attending and setting up a table?
CHRISTIAN: We just did MegaCon Tampa Bay at the end of October and Clermont Comic Con in November, and now we will take the holidays off. However, we are already in talks with conventions for 2017.
MARK: Wait a second, Christian. We have just been announced at Paradise City Comic Con in Fort Lauderdale on the weekend of December 9-11, so we have one more before our "vacation". And Ken Spivey has just invited us to Time Lord Fest - Tampa on February 19th so we are well on our way in 2017 already.
How did you guys get into Doctor Who? Was it from watching Classic Who on PBS, The Paul McGann Movie or the 2005 relaunch?
MARK: I watched it back in 1978 when it first appeared on WPBT2 in Miami. I started watching with the second episode of "The Sontaran Experiment" with Tom Baker, Lis Sladen, and Ian Marter and have never looked back.
CHRISTIAN: I watched it every Saturday on PBS when I was growing up.
What was your earliest memory of watching Doctor Who?
CHRISTIAN: Tom Baker as the Doctor. He was a totally different type of character. Here is a different type of hero. No weapons. No utility belt. He used his wits and intellegence to take down the bad guy.
MARK: I just loved the storylines, and the actors as well. I was always able to suspend my disbelief, even with the cheap and "bad" special effects because of the performances and quality storylines.
Who is your favorite Doctor and why?
CHRISTIAN: For me, your first is always your Doctor. Mine is the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. I think he's the gold standard for the other Doctors that have come after him.
MARK: Tom Baker, for the same reason, but I really loved Sylvester McCoy. Now, if I were answering this from 2005 and on, I would have said David Tennant until about a year or two ago. Now I have to say Peter Capaldi. His first series stories may have been problematic for me but his performance has been superior. He is a classic Doctor in the new series. Simple as that.
What is your favorite Classic Who Story and why?
MARK: The first episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child. It's what started it all and it really works, holds up even today. Now I said the first episode, not the whole story which now is known by that episode title. The caveman story was good, but not my favorite. Remembrance of the Daleks is also among my favorites.
CHRISTIAN: I honestly don't have one. There are many that I like more than others, but hardly have one that stands out. They all stand out in the own ways.
What is your favorite New Who Story and why?
CHRISTIAN: Day of the Doctor. For me, the ultimate story. Can't beat the episode that had all the Doctors in a big battle with the Daleks. Ohhh and of course the Curator.
MARK: Ah yes, The Tom! My favorite story keeps changing as it always seems to be the next one...
What do your significant others think of your Doctor Who obsession and are they a fan also?
MARK: She is a fan. Not the biggest, but she does like the show. Actually it is because of Doctor Who that we are together. I could tell you the story here, but if you really want to know, come to one of our Whovian Anonymous panels at conventions and maybe I'll divulge it there as I usually do.
CHRISTIAN: Ask her. :)
Tell me about the Traveling TARDIS and how it got started?
MARK: Um, Christian, I think this one is for you. ;)
CHRISTIAN: I had this idea. Take a TARDIS where the Doctor hasn't been.
I went on Amazon. Spent $75 plus shipping and handling. And thus began the legend.
MARK: Major copout answer... lol. He meant to say that The Traveling TARDIS has its picture taken around the globe like a flat stanley. Plus, pictures are taken of it with Doctor Who fans, cosplayers, and celebrities. But I guess it did actually start with the $75 purchase. Heh heh.
Who would you like to have The Traveling TARDIS have its picture taken with in the future?
CHRISTIAN: Of course the President or one of the new series Doctors. But my ultimate dream would be to send it to the team on the ISS (International Space Station) To actually be a Traveling TARDIS that went into space. I'd love to see what the astronauts would do with it. I hope they don't misplace it or accidentally put it in an air lock.
What is the best picture of The Traveling TARDIS?
CHRISTIAN: I like the Halloween pictures. Also the celebrities and cosplayers.
I really like it when I get the TARDIS in locations it wouldn't normally be at, or for that matter, shouldn't be at.
MARK: I'd have to say the one with John Barrowman and Garett Davis-Lloyd fighting over it.
What is your website, Podcast, Facebook and Twitter addresses?
MARK: Well, our website which you can get the latest Doctor Who and sci-fi news and our podcast at is www.markwho42.net but you can find the show on iTunes, Florida Geek Scene, Stitcher, TuneIn, and hundreds of podcast platforms around the net. We are also played on Krypton Radio, an online science fiction radio station (Sci-Fi for your Wi-Fi), four times a week. They can be found at www.kryptonradio.com
Our Twitter handle is @MarkWHO42 and our Facebook address is www.facebook.com/markwho42lives
CHRISTIAN: The Traveling TARDIS can be found at www.facebook.com/TheTravelingTARDIS
What are the plans going forward for MarkWho42 and The Traveling TARDIS?
BOTH: You'll just have to stay tuned and see...