Audio file download (mp3, 22 MB, 44 min).
... and I managed to enter two minutes late to this one, due to a pressing need to eat lunch (during which time Misha happened to wander by with his brother and sister-in-law and nephew/niece just as I took an undignified, over-sized bite of burger, because that is always the way). I did come in as soon as I heard the cheering for him, though, so I didn’t miss too much!
Mark: ... I love it. (pause) That’s not gonna work! (to various people who are filtering in, iirc, because he is stalking about eyeing down individual audience members at this point) Look out behind you! Oh! I love it. She’s gonna ask her first. What, you don’t whisper, put a microphone in her mouth! Whaddaya wanna know?
Fan: I wanted to know, outside of acting - when you’re not working, in other words - what is -
Mark (eyeing off various people who are making the most of fact that they’re allowed to take photos during the first ten minutes of the panel): I steal cameras.
Fan: What is the best thing about being an actor and what is the worst thing about being an actor - as in, advantages, disadvantages? When you’re not acting.
Mark: What’s the worst thing about being an actor - what? Longest bloody question I’ve ever heard in my life.
Fan: In your day-to-day life, when you’re not working -
Mark: In my day-to- - None of your damn business! In my day-to-day-life... What’s the worst thing about - the worst thing about being an actor is waiting. Waiting is an action that consumes all other actions. It’s a very weird thing. Waiting... rejection. All the fun things about being an actor. If you don’t like being rejected it’s the worst possible thing you can do. (to somebody who’s sitting on the stairs) What are you doing there? Hiding on the stairs there. Trip over you at some point. (to whoever has the microphone now) You got a question for me?
Fan: I do! I have a music question. I wanted to know what was the first album you bought, and what was the first concert you went to? And do you like Bowie like Crowley does?
Mark: Love Bowie! (audience cheers) I’m an old man. First concert I went to was Chuck Berry, live at New Victoria Theatre in London, 197...5 or 6? First record I had was “The Driving Instructor”, by Bob Newhart. Comedy album. Brilliant. But... uh... trying to think. But, I mean, but, records, yes - I remember saving up money to buy a compilation of Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound”... mono recording, for my [dance set Viva?] I used to play on that. Where’s she gone with the microphone? You’re hiding! Go on, then, ask a question.
Fan: How long does it normally take for you to do a scene?
Mark: Depends who’s in it. Depends if Jared has a pair of pliars and is pulling the nose hairs out of the camera man’s face. That was - we were doing the scene in Singer’s Salvage in the finale - who here’s seen the finale? (audience cheers) Who hasn’t? (about four hands go up) You should be mortified and embarrassed. Get out and go eat your lunch on the stairs. Terrible people. Well, in a scene that happens to be in the episode you haven’t seen - yes, Jared’s got a pair of pliars and is pulling Brad’s nose hairs and ear hairs out while I’m doing my side of the contract negotiation. Kind of funny. How long does it take to do a scene? Depends how long the scene is. The kissing scene between me and the guy at the crossroads - my first ever scene - took about six hours. The guy couldn’t hit a mark, and god, my lips were chapped by the end. Was talking about that yesterday. What? What?
Fan: I was just wondering, after becoming King of Hell what would it take to seal the deal with Crowley?
The audience approves loudly of this question and obviously has a few ideas.
Mark: You can’t handle the truth. What would it take? I don’t know. Depends what you’re offering. A soul? Souls? Souls are easy, I’ll send one of my minions to deal with that. The big stuff that I want... could be anything, you never know. I like contracts nowadays. What’s up, darling?
Fan: [inaudible under somebody audaciously coughing near my phone, but it was something about him being phenomenal in the season 8 finale]
Mark: Yes, I am!
Mark: Shut up, you. You finished? Good.
Fan: I was wondering -
Mark: That’s it? I thought that’s all you wanted to say! You liar! You said -
Fan: - wondering about the backstory for Crowley before he became Crowley.
Mark: Backstory for Crowley before he became Crowley? Are you going down the Fergus Roderick McLeod line? Because that’s all bullshit. It’s bullshit! It’s a wonderful lie. We played it - (to someone who’s standing up to reach her hand higher) it’s alright, I’ll get to you eventually! Sit down! Sit down! I can see you, you’ve got red hair, I can’t miss you. An Ariel. The little squirmaid. The little squeemaid? That’s quite funny. I amuse myself endlessly while doing this. What were we talking about? Me? We were talking about how brilliant I was in the finale. Backstory? I mean, we - stop. You stop smiling at me, you. You in the jacket there with the white stripe across the chest - troublemaker. We definitely approached it as though it was a transformation toward the human. Now, how much of it’s true, what the consequences are, how much of it sticks... what? (to people who are murmuring to each other) I can hear you! It’s kind of like being a professor - “I hope you brought enough for everybody!” But... yeah, we’ve not really dug that deep yet. Because the meatsuit’s not what’s really important, what you’re really looking at is what is the core of the demon, and that I think will - if he’s a demon, of course. You don’t know if he’s really a demon.
Various audience members: Yes we do.
Mark (shouting): What?
One audience member: You had purple eyes, you’re a demon.
Mark: How the hell would you know? You ever seen my eyes flash red? No! You really must watch the show. Bloody hell. Terrible.
(I think what he was implying here is that when we saw Linda Tran’s eyes go red, and saw the red smoke, that wasn’t actually Crowley but a Crowley impersonation or more of his tricks?)
Mark: Right, poor Ariel up there. Squeeriel.
Fan: I was just wondering, if you could play any fictional character ever, who would you choose to play?
Mark: I waited - you waited five minutes to ask me that question? And that’s the best you can come up with? Where are you from?
Fan: Where am I from?
Mark: Yes. You not sure?
Mark: Where’s that?
Fan: It’s sort of inland, about fiveish hours away from here.
Mark: Very cool. Not a lot of water there?
Mark: So d’you go down and look at the beach and the ocean when you come places like this?
Fan: Oh, I grew up on the coast.
Mark: Oh, you did? And you moved where you moved why?
Fan: For university.
Mark: Do you drive a ute?
Fan: I used to!
Mark: I love utes, I think they’re the greatest things ever. They’re just so cool. No? Are you regretting the question now? ‘Cos I’m obviously not going to answer it. “If I can be something else other than what I am what would I be that I was not when I was when I could have been if I had something... whatever superpower I would be, what I would like to do... (falsetto) “Mark, we really love you, you’re really wonderful and amazing, but what’s it like working with Jensen and Jared?” That hurt. Have to take a rest now. I’m exhausted. There’s a kid up there wanting to ask me a question. (He’s about eight, I think, and he has the full Castiel costume on.) You. You with the very dodgy-looking costume. Truly a baby in a trenchcoat. (as the boy tries to speak but is drowned out by everybody chattering and giggling and making aww noises:) What do you want? What? What? Speak up, lad! Everybody, hold on. Go!
Fan: Why did you put Jim Beaver in Hell?
Audience approves very noisily and happily of this question. Note that this boy was here in the same costume last year as well, when Mark Sheppard was not among the guests and Jim Beaver was - and was very nice to him, as I recall!
Mark: Why do I put Jim Beaver in Hell? Somebody’s gotta do it! It’s kinda what he deserves, isn’t it? I mean, he’s a grumpy - you know what. (in Bobby’s voice) “Balls!” (pulls out his phone and fiddles with it, looking for something) “Idjit!” I mean, do you like him? Do you like Bobby? You do?
Mark (indignant): Why? He’s grumpy! And mean! That’s not what he - what?
Various audience members: So are you / So is Crowley!
Mark (even more indignant): “So is Crowley”? (muttering to himself as he flicks through photos on his phone) You all have to speak up, you lot. What am I looking for, I know what I’m looking for. I’m looking for photos... me and Jim Beaver...
The audience cottons on to exactly what photo this means and cheers a lot.
Mark finds it, and gives an evil little cackle. No, really, his evil little cackle is the best evil little cackle. Holds up his phone, turns it around. Audience reacts predictably.
Mark: See, when you look - (beckoning the boy out of the row to show him the photo) yeah, c’mere, you - isn’t that the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life? You want to a really scary picture, it’s the picture before it. See? Look at the fear on his face. You don’t think he deserves to go to Hell for that?
Turns it around to show it to anyone who is near enough to see.
One fan says or asks something indistinguishable.
Mark (as per Catherine Tate): Am I bovvered? (audience cheers) Next time come dressed as a proper character on a show. (sighs) You lot. Bloody rude. (to the person with the next question) What? Really? Go on. Tardis-blue pants? Are they bigger on the inside?
Fan: What was it like to work with Doctor Who?
Mark: To work with Doctor Who? Who’s Doctor Who? Oh, you mean “the Doctor”? He’s not Doctor Who.
Mark: Just “the Doctor”. Well, he has a name. But we won’t discuss that. What?
Fan (says something inaudible)
Mark: If you say so. He’s done now. He just announced today that he’s no longer the Doctor. I think he was the best Doctor in a really really really really long time. He was fantastic. But as Moffat says, the next Doctor doesn’t yet know that he’s the next Doctor. Could be me! That’d be fun. I’d enjoy it. What was it like working with him? He’s lovely. Wonderful. A lot of fun. I think Canton has a really intimate relationship with the Doctor, which is fun to do. (to some people who are chatting) You talking amongst yourselves? Shut up! Gobby Australians. Terrible, innit. Must come from Perth. (Note: this was an ongoing joke that is explained by Rob and Richard in the next panel, but at this point we didn’t know that, and responded with ‘oo, harsh!’ sorts of noises) I’m joking! (coughs a cough that sounds suspiciously like ADELAIDE) Sorry, what was that? Could be worse. Could be Canberra. Oo-hoo, that was dissent! (mimicking us) Ooo, aaaarrh. It’s like Pirates of the Caribbean when you guys get going. (deeper) Arrrrrrgh, oooooooh. And that’s just the girls. Somebody out there - you, have you - what are you doing? Alright, go on. Ariel with a haircut.
She has red hair too, but shorter than the last ‘Ariel’.
Fan: I was wondering -
Mark: You were wondering? Well, sit down.
Fan: - if the gradual transition between the accents in the finale was difficult to do.
And I’m just going to stick my oar in here and say I heard no transition like that, unless it was an effect of him quoting American soaps. I have to wonder if the fact that so many people did hear it is an effect of them associating his accent with personality traits like self-command and disdain, which they don’t hear so much when he’s shouting and desperate and not clipping his consonants off so neatly?
Mark: What? Can’t hear you. Speak up!
Fan: I was wondering if the gradual transition between the accents in the finale was difficult to do.
Mark: Er - my gradual transition of my accents? What accents did I transition? I don’t remember. What? What did I end up as?
Mark (incredulous): What? I did? Wow. I’m a good actor! (to someone who was sitting on the floor at the front by their friend’s seat, I think?) Why are you down there? Yeah, but - what - excuse me, why are you down there, “because I have a friend here”? That wasn’t the answer I was looking for. Yeah, it was, it was interesting. We spent three days doing that, pretty much in order, so it sort of built and changed. (to the person with the next question) What?
Fan: I haven’t got a microphone.
Note: The con staff were meant to be running around picking - and therefore screening - the questions from the audience, handing out the microphones to the person they nominated to be next, only the guys kept picking their own next questions from all the raised hands, hence so many people asking questions without microphones. Richard and Matt solved this by just running around with their own microphones, of course, and the whole issue came to a head for me personally in Misha’s panel when I decided the whole microphone business was silly anyway.
Mark: I don’t care. I can hear you!
Fan: My question’s for Crowley...
Mark (does a double take, looks around the room, then sarcastically): Oh wait, I’ll see if he’s in!
Fan: Only one prophet can exist at a time -
Mark: Oh, for God’s sakes!
Mark apparently has less patience with being asked the same question many times at different venues than most of the other guys do!
Fan: He had Kevin, and then he had the future prophets. Why didn’t he just kill Kevin, and then get one of the future prophets [to translate the tablet?]?
Mark: Because they were stupid! Better the prophet in the hand than one of these idiots, remember?
Fan: Yes, but then he could just kill the next prophet, and kill the next one -
Mark: Because they were too stupid to continue!
Fan: Yeah, but then they could have read the tablet!
Mark: Oh, for God’s sakes, woman! I just gave you the answer, you’re just forcing the question. The answer is, I looked at them and went “Oh crap, he’s the best thing I’ve got.” The point was I was going “aaah,” you know, I can kill you, ‘cos I could just do what you said.
Fan: Yes, but he wouldn’t know that, so you could have just -
Mark: He read it! (She continues to put forward her side, and he overrides her) Who won? I did! That’s what - what’s it called? What? Who said “no I didn’t”? Get out! (to whoever said that) You? Quit mumbling. (poisonously) You like Castiel, don’t you? (she shakes her head) Really? Who’s your favourite?
Mark: Ah! So I’m getting dissent from a fan? That doesn’t work for me. Right, what was your question?
Fan: Oh - it was her question (pointing to her friend beside her).
Mark: Right, what was her question, then? (as her friend goes to answer) No, no, no, I want to hear it from you! What was her question?
Fan (a bit taken aback): Her question is... um... what’s your favourite...
Mark: No, no. (to her friend) What’s your question.
Fan: Crowley seems to have a large amount of insults for Sam and Dean. What’s your personal favourite?
Audience likes this one, and shouts out several, foremost among which is (predictably) ‘Moose’.
Mark: Really? Is that your favourite one?
Several more are shouted out. One catches Mark’s ear.
Mark: Impressed I said it as what?
Fan: I’m impressed they wrote it into the show because it’s American.
Fan: Tout suite.
Fan: Isn’t that British?
I’m not sure what the implication of this was - just some phrase that she thought was characteristic of Crowley and liked, or if she was understanding it somehow as a nickname for Sam and Dean? Possibly I missed something in the second melee of nickname-shouting.
Mark: Tout suite? It’s French. Bloody hell, the Australian education system is - (checks himself, turns to point at the boy) - put your fingers in your ears! Kid! Put your fingers in your ears! Got ‘em? Covered? All kids’ fingers in ears? - the Australian education system is fucked. “Tout suite’s American, right?” It’s bloody English, we speak the same language! Oh, Jesus. Tout. Suite. Is - what? Meaning?
Fortunately for our collective reputation, we do get some people shouting out “quick” and “right now”.
Mark: (to someone returning to their seat and walking past him?) Hello, darling. I always follow orders. (Yeah, right.) What’s your problem, you got money in you? Phone, no?
Fan (a male one, goodness me, and it seems to be a disembodied voice because the origin is for a moment difficult to place): Hello, Mark!
Mark does a double take, looks around, stares at the ceiling.
Mark: I am not your father!
Fan: I was just wondering if your prior work in Charmed, shows like that, influenced your chance of getting your role in Supernatural, considering -?
Mark (indignant): No!
The fan is trying to explain himself, but it’s hard to hear under Mark making indignant noises - something about “you’re always playing fairly sadistic characters...”
Mark: How long did it take you to think of that question? It’s a crap question, just so you know. Did my work on Charmed influence Supernatural?
Fan: No, not influenced Supernatural, influenced you getting the role.
Mark: So me played a demon on Charmed, you think Ben Edlund thought that would make me the best Crowley? I think probably Battlestar had more influence than anything I was doing at the time.
Someone in the audience: You should be on Sherlock!
Mark: I should. I should be on Sherlock!
Fan (this one with a microphone, excitingly enough): Hello, Mark. Hello?
Mark: What? I am not your father.
Fan: I was wondering, did you sell your soul to appear in every single TV show?
Mark (looks shifty, then): Next question!
Fan: Hi! I was wondering - is it hard to fake cry?
Mark: I can’t fake cry, I’m useless at it.
Mark: Mm, I don’t fake cry.
Fan: Didn’t you cry in the last episode?
Mark: And you’re saying it’s fake why? What would make it fake?
Fan: ... I don’t know.
Mark: Who did you come here with? Oh, you’re hiding, I saw somebody duck. You brought him here?
Someone in the same row as him: Um... in a group?
Mark: So you’re disowning him already? I didn’t fake cry.
Fan: Do you know how to fake cry?
Mark: Did anyone here cry when they saw it? (lots of ‘yes!’ from the audience) You don’t cry if I’m fake crying. See? No, I was crying. Because it’s sad! (lots of ‘awwws’ from the audience) I mean, think about it. Can you imagine being somebody in that position having to consider when you do not want to everything that you’ve ever done? Pretty scary! (lets that rest for a while, then to one of the earlier questioners) You asked me earlier what was my favourite insult - my favourite insult was definitely “moose”. Because of the way it arised, it arised in - arosed - arise - it, it - it arose - it happened when my place was destroyed and my tailor had been eaten and it was just a simple question - “Where’s your moose” - to which Dean is like, “Oh, he went...” It’s just the funniest thing of all of them. I mean, there’s only so many things you can call him. Gigantor... mop-headed lumberjack... (Someone calls out ‘Samantha’) What? Oh, yeah, Samantha, that was funny. (in Crowley’s voice) “Samantha...” But “moose”... “moose” is personal. So now of course Dean’s become “squirrel”. (as Crowley) “Ah-ah, Squirrel! Moose did the trials, Moose signs.” It’s fun, it’s just fun to say “moose”. I think he hates it. But it’s led rise to the Mooseketeers, which is brilliant. What? The bathroom’s out there.
Fan: With Ben Edlund’s departure, which has been recently announced, how do you think the rest of the cast will react to that? Will they just go on or will they - well, they’ll have to go on, I mean -
Mark: No, no, they’ll all just kill themselves. In a mass Jonestown-like massacre. Don’t laugh, it’s not funny. You’re laughing, stop laughing. You okay? Good, back with us.
The lower door - the one leading onto the stage, which is only for the use of the guests and people with access difficulties and is therefore currently locked - rattles, for the second time in ten minutes.
Mark: What the hell’s going on back there?
Someone in the audience: I think someone’s at the door?
Mark (dryly): They are? I don’t really want an answer, you know! If I need a straight man I’ll apply for you.
Fan (the one who was asking the question; the first few words lost under audience laughter): ... writers, who do you think will pick up the... edgy comedic edge that he has?
Mark: The edgy comedic edge? As opposed to the edgy comedic what? Ben’s great. Ben created Crowley! And he’s off to pastures new... he’s got plans to do all sorts of things... but he created Crowley! He gets a character payment every time I appear, so he’s gotta still be happy. I think he gets like 75 bucks every time my character appears. Kind of fun! I think I should go on for a while, don’t you? Fun, innit? I only came on as a guest star. Came on to do an episode. 25 episodes later, it’s like, Jesus. Who here was at Sydney? Alright, not a lot of you. I may repeat myself in some ways. It was... we were talking about the baddies on the show, and a lot of the baddies on the show are supreme baddies, and the boys have a really hard time beating supreme baddies, but we’re not... I don’t think we’re quite as fascinated by... you escalate it, there’s, you know, Death was of course brilliant because you thought you had to take on Death, but ultimately as you discover taking on Death wasn’t the purpose at all: that wasn’t what it was about, which is what made the end of season five so fascinating. And then when you go into six and seven and you start talking about Leviathans and stuff, you’re making bigger and... “worser baddies”... sorry about my English. And the bigger the baddy is, the more you have to get rid of them at a rapid rate, because there’s not really a lot you can do to them. I mean, they’re either going to kill the Winchesters or the Winchesters are going to kill them. But what’s interesting about Castiel when Castiel is turned, or Crowley when Crowley’s being adversarial is that... they have this love/hate relationship with both these characters in any of these situations. And there’s a benevolence to Crowley that doesn’t exist with, say, Dick, or any of the other - (suddenly changing tack) that was so much fun to do. They wrote that so you could say - “Just call me Dick.” “Well, Dick.” That’s all it was! They put a gag reel together of every instance that the word “Dick” was said in that season. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. “Dick dick dick DICK dick Dick DICK dick dick DICK.” ... Wrong convention. I sound like Sebastian now, sorry. (to somebody and I have no idea what this was about - possibly they were trying to ask something and stuttered so had to restart?) Careful. Swallow. (the audience makes the trademark WE DETECT INNUENDO laughter) Oops! Going for the long joke there, sorry. But yes, so, when you get Abaddon, for example, right? And Abaddon was great, Alaina’s brilliant, she’s so much fun to do, but - (pause. WE DETEND INNUENDO) I did it! I’m happy! I win! So much fun to do. You can’t have an all-encompassing, all-powerful baddy. I mean, Crowley... you can’t quite work out what Crowley’s doing or why is doing it. Can you? Really? I mean, those last three, four episodes of the season there’s a genuine argument about why I’m doing what I’m doing: they’re going to do something to destroy me and my kind, so there’s a real fight going on. So a few people die along the way, Sarah whatshername, a couple of other people, who gives a damn - oh, shut up! Shut up, you lot, who cares, she was whiny anyway. But yes... well, I didn’t kill Sheriff Mills! I didn’t pay the cheque either... but I didn’t kill Sheriff Mills. When you guys saw that, when you guys who bothered to watch the last episode of the season saw that, did you all go like “oh my God, oh my God he’s going to kill her!”, right?
Mark does his evil cackle again.
Mark (as Crowley): “I too have lost someone.” (waits a beat, to see if we get it, then mimes patting an invisible dog’s head the height of his shoulder) They killed Growley! You only just worked out that’s the name of my dog, right? I have an owl called Owley and a cow called Cowley... and a cat called Meowley... and a chicken called Fowley... and a pig called Sowley... It just goes on and on. The gift that keeps on giving. “They killed my hellhound.” (a few ‘awws’ from audience) Yeah. See? It’s reciprocal! I killed Sarah, they killed my hellhound. But baddies can’t be all-encompassing baddies, which makes it interesting that Crowley - I think Crowley sort of endures because I keep changing sides. Actually, I never change sides, I’m just on Crowley’s side the whole time. Kinda works out that way. Who did you hand the microphone to?
Fan: You’re probably not going to like it...
Mark: So, somebody else have a question?
Mark: Hey what? Hey, sir.
Fan: Hey, sir.
Mark: That’s better.
Fan: What was it like working on the set of Charmed?
Mark: Charmed? It was fun.
Fan: What was the cast like?
Mark: They were really nice to me. I don’t know if they’re all nice to each other but they’re all nice to me. I love Rose, Rose is so much fun. I used to hang out there a lot, I got really bored so I just used to go there every day. Do nothing. It’s kind of fun. Pissed them off a bit. I’m strange like that. Hey, you’ve had your arm up for ages, you.
Fan: When you played Badger was it very [well?], [were there highlights?]?
Mark: Oh yes. Firefly was an amazing experience. Firefly was... it was a thing... look, a lot of shows... (to all of us making sad whimpery noises) stop whining, you sound like Growley. Firefly was one of those things that... the reason why we got so upset about it is that it was stolen from us. It didn’t end naturally or disappear, it was... at a time when they thought that the kind of numbers that Firefly got weren’t good enough and shouldn’t be continued, and they made a huge mistake in getting rid of it. Because Joss had built the world, and it could have gone on... at least a couple of seasons. It would have picked up in a second season so well, it really started to get interesting. And Nathan as a hero is a fabulous hero, and Adam... great counterpoint as a - certainly the butchest men that Joss has ever dealt with. I mean, really, let’s be serious there. There’s a lot of very lightweight male characters in a lot of stuff that he did over the years. No, seriously, if you think about it - then you think about - there’s always these tough waify girls... then you look at Firefly and everyone’s six foot four. It’s a very different tone and feel to the rest of his stuff, which I thought was fabulous. And, just... Nathan was brilliant, it was fun, it was such a nice thing to do. And we were all pretty close to each other, and knew each other very well, and it was just one of these things where the carpet got pulled out from underneath it for no apparent reason, and it always felt like it was a stupid decision to do it. And it will never be put back together again, it’ll never exist beyond either comic book form, or... someday somebody’ll do it as a cartoon somewhere. But... you know. “Young Firefly!” We’re all a bit old. But, yes, it was a special thing. Same with Battlestar, but Battlestar... Battlestar’s one of the few things where - put your hand up if you’ve never seen Battlestar Galactica?
Some hands go up (mine among them, but after what he says here I have downloaded it!). Some people whose hands do not go up jokingly say things like ‘Get out!’
Mark: No, no, don’t tell them ‘get out’! Listen to me. Don’t feel pressured, I’m going to explain something to you. The weird thing about Battlestar Galactica is that it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, which very few sci-fi shows have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Most sci-fi or genre shows get pulled or yanked before you actually get to an end. So what’s fantastic about Battlestar is not only is it one of the best human political dramas you’ll ever see - it’s kind of like The West Wing in space - I don’t know what you’re laughing at, it kind of is, we won Emmys and Peabodys and everything else for it. It’s fantastically written. It’s got some of the greatest female characters you’ll ever see on television, which makes it interesting. Some of the most beautiful women you’ll ever see, too. A female president and all sorts of fun stuff. And deals with issues that no other show was dealing with at the time - which, everybody says that, but it’s actually true. And it has a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s worth watching. And at some point you will watch it, that’s the point. Somebody will either give it to you, or you’ll start dating somebody who’s watched it and you’ll end up watching it again. And it’s a fun thing for that. But... who here hasn’t seen Doctor Who in the last three years? (I don’t remember how many hands go up) Now that’s fascinating to me too, because the number one question in Doctor Who is, where do you start, right? So, start with fishfingers and custard. Start with season five - they’re only in season seven - (someone shouts out something, possibly something about starting with season one) - what? - why? - why don’t you be quiet and let me talk now? You don’t have to start with season one, start with season five. Watch fishfingers and custard, watch what it is. You’ll catch up. In the space of a couple of weeks you could watch what’s necessary to watch, and by the time you’ve watched that you’ll be hooked. And then you can go back and watch whatever you want. You can watch 47 bloody years of the stuff. Don’t count the few years that it was off the air, but that’s where you’ll get the essence of what it is that exists, you know? That’s the point. Doesn’t matter who the Doctor was, somebody was carrying the mantle for a reason. But the show is so brilliantly written, and so fascinating. And I think, you know - however good Chris Eccleston was, etcetera, it wasn’t the writing of Neil Gaiman and Steven Moffat that we know from seasons five and six, which I think is... you know, you can’t just say “I like David Tennant more, so everything they did...” which, you know, everything was encompassed and sorted out in 42 minutes. When you get to seasons five and six, you have the long game starting to be played. Season six was about stories and about characters you’ve never seen before - I think “The Doctor’s Wife” is one of the most amazing pieces of television I’ve ever seen - and when you talk about “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon” you’re talking about the two biggest episode they attempted to do on a TV series. And you guys know because they put them on in the cinema, right? That was amazing to watch on the screen, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it different from watching it on a small screen? Helicopter shots and all sorts of other stuff. But that’s the point - so if somebody wants to get into it give them a door to go into instead of saying “It’s not good enough unless you start with the one I like best!” Start at the most recent and you’ll work your way through. Battlestar, it’s the same thing. If you’re asking somebody to start with Supernatural, where would you start? (most people say ‘one!’) Naaah, you don’t make ‘em do that! How’re you gonna get them into a show? Start them at five! (objections! some ‘season four!’s and the occasional ‘one!’) “One! One! One!” Why, because the conversation’s different in season one? People go back and watch - yes, but you don’t have to start them at one, you don’t have to. Calm down, now. You don’t have to, that’s not the point. The point is that if you get hooked on whatever it is that you’re doing, you will. You’ll want to watch whatever it’s all about and where it comes from, the subtleties and the nuances. But this elitist crap that we keep coming out with, that you can’t be a fan of the show unless you watch every minute of every episode that’s ever existed, is garbage. (applause) Supernatural is not serialised. Battlestar’s serialised - try starting Battlestar on epsiode 23, you’ll have no idea what’s the hell’s going on. You have to start at the beginning, there’s no way around it. But on shows that aren’t serialised, you can start somewhere, see the best of it, find the essence of it that you love, look for the stories, look for the characters that you like, then you’ll go back and fill in. So never be daunted by the idea of “where the hell do I start”. Fifty years of Doctor Who - how the hell do I watch fifty years of Doctor Who? I don’t know - I know very few Doctor Who fans who’ve watched all Doctor Who episodes that have ever existed. It’s kind of difficult to do. What? Looks like the Nuremberg rally over there, what’s going on? Who’s going to talk, who’s got a microphone? Yeah, go on.
Fan (who has a fairly high-pitched voice): Hi. Um...
Mark (mockingly high): Hi, how you doing...
Fan (deliberately squeaking): Don’t make fun of me!
Mark: Sorry? I can’t hear you. Lower.
Fan (low): Oh, okay then.
Mark: No no, lower.
Fan (indistinguishably low): Hello.
Fan (low): What?
Mark: Come on, you can do better than that.
Fan: I’m wasting everyone’s time! Anyway, I wanted to know - sorry! - what your thoughts were on Crowley’s purification in the last episode of the season?
Mark: What my thoughts were? What are yours?
Fan: Well, I was sad, but I kind of liked to see that human aspect of him. It was interesting. But I still liked him as the King of Hell.
Mark: What do you mean liked him? I’m still the King of bloody Hell! The place runs without me, I don’t have to sit there at the front door!
Fan: If I was in that situation -
Mark: You’re not!
Fan: That’s why I said if! If is a very important word!
She gets a cheer from the audience, because we all love Mark but we consistently like it when someone doesn’t let him confound them.
Mark: Lower. You can stand up if you want to.
Fan: You’re lucky I like you.
Mark: You’re lucky we never dated.
Fan: Dude, I’m seventeen.
Mark: You’re really lucky we never dated.
Audience cheering and clapping some more, then... silence.
Mark (gleefully): You’re really stuck now, aren’t you?
Fan: I think -
Mark: What were my thoughts on it? My thoughts are... we won’t know what the ramifications of that are until we get into season 9, right? Remember, Abaddon went through the process. And what did she come out like? Nothing changed, right? So - do you think nothing changed with Crowley? (pondering silence from audience - Mark waits, then, impatient) Did any of you watch the finale of the show? The Crowley show? I know, you’re sitting there going (falsetto) “Dean! Deeeean! Saaaam! Sam! Castieeeeeel! Oh, and the other stuff. CASTIEL! Dean, Dean...” (sighs) I loved doing it, it was so much fun to do. My “fake crying”. (Bloody hell, you can’t win.) (eyeing off somebody who has their hand in the air) It’s a bit Nazi, you gotta go easy with the salute thing. You’ve got crutches, I’ll give you the pity mike.
Fan: I know we’ve seen what Hell looks like in the show, but what do you think it actually is like? What can I expect?
Mark (pointing to all the people around her and grinning evilly): Look around you, honey. This is Hell. (more seriously, but still not very) Hell is what you make it. Hell is definitely what you make it. I like the fact that Crowley’s redecorated Hell a couple of times. It’s kind of, “yeah, it’s a line, oh, we’ll put some fire back in...” But talking about Ben, when he’d first done the Hell - me and the horrible Hitler photograph - that was so bad, so bad - and you know that line, I said, “you know, Ben, you do realise everyone thinks it’s a convention line?” He’s like, “No!” and I’m like “Yes!” It’s every bad experience in a convention!
Mimes taking a ticket, moving one step forward, waiting, looking at watch, one step forward, etc.
Mark: Kind of funny. But yeah, what can you expect in Hell? (sudden Crowley voice) ME.
Mark: That’s encouraging. Who’s got the mike? I will get over to you. What?
Mark: You have to try the sides too sometimes (tapping side of microphone). I’m just giving her trouble, go on. Hurry up!
Fan: I figure if I’m going to Hell I might as well make fun of it. I was just wondering (over the repeated sound of Mark tapping microphone against his chin) what kind of backstory Crowley and Naomi have?
Mark: You were just talking about my backstory? What were you going to say?
Fan: I was just wondering what kind of backstory Crowley and Naomi have.
Mark: Ah, well, obviously, we were lovers in Mesopotamia! And your question is what?
Fan: How did you manage to piss her off so much?
Mark: Piss her off? You’ve never slept with me, obviously. I’m a demanding lover. (to someone who’s laughing, apparently a bit out of control) Stop crying. Stop crying, you, that’s bad. Go on, who’s got the mike? Hi!
Fan (who’s standing up because she had to get out of her row to receive the mike): Sorry, I’ve been kicked out of my seat, it was too far away. Which is fitting - Tasmania!
Mark (befuddled): Which is what?
Fan: Which is fitting! I’m like the island on the bottom of Austr-
Mark: You’re Tasmania?
Fan: Don’t say that like it’s an illness! So, we’re sort of seeing hints of -
Mark: Your voice just went higher.
Fan (all in a fake deep voice): I’m sorry. So we’re starting to see hints of 2014 and Endverse coming into play in Supernatural - what do you think Crowley would be doing if Lucifer does again rise?
She gets a smattering of applause for carrying that all off in that voice.
Mark: Say that again in English?
Fan: We’re starting to see hints of Endverse coming into play in Supernatural. If 2014 possibly happens, Lucifer rising, you know, taking down the regime - sorry, man - what do you think Crowley would be doing, do you think he’d side with the hunters or do you think he’d be, you know -
Mark: Every man for himself. Crowley does what Crowley wants to do. Crowley does what works for Crowley. So...
Fan: Surely you’d want some backup, so...
Sudden surprise Rob: That’s the truth!
Audience cheers, Rob comes down through the audience, Mark tries to avoid him by walking up the other aisle, someone calls out ‘He’s behind you!’
Mark: (squeaky) Oh no! Are you going to speak with a high-pitched voice again or are you going to talk properly down low?
Rob: (squeaky) This is my imitation of you! No!
Mark: (squeaky) No!
Rob: You at six.
Mark: Me at six was (deep) No!
Rob: “Come on, have some porridge!” (squeaky) “No!”
Mark (appalled): Porridge? Who the hell eats porridge? I’m not Scottish! Porridge!
Rob: “Come on, have some... bangers and mash?” (squeaky) “No! No! I don’t want it!”
Mark: Bangers and mash for breakfast? What about bubble and squeak?
Rob: You don’t eat bangers and mash for breakfast?
Mark: You ever had bubble and squeak? You know what bubble and squeak is?
Rob: Not a clue!
Mark: Well, after your Sunday roast, you get, you know, the Brussel sprouts and the mashed potatoes that are left over, you get butter, put ‘em in a pan, fry it up... and why’s it called bubble and squeak?
Mark: It’s what it does to your stomach after you’ve eaten it.
Rob: Oh, then I’ve had that! I have that daily!
Mark: There you go! (to someone laughing in the audience) That was the weirdest laugh I’ve ever heard in my life. Who was that?
Rob: Big fan of my gas.
Mark: Big fan of the gas you pass?
Rob: So bangers and mash is - are there eggs in bangers and mash?
Mark: No. Bangers is sausages and mash is mashed potatoes.
Rob: Oh, there’s no beans or eggs?
Mark (very indignant): No! That would be bangers, mash, beans, and eggs! That’s like -
Rob: No wonder I keep ordering bangers and mash and they keep giving me mashed potatoes and sausages!
Mark (starting to laugh): And becoming disappointed that there’s no beans? There’s no ice cream in it, either!
Rob: I needed some eggs and beans!
Mark: Eggs and beans and ice cream. We always - eggs, bacons, beans, and a fried slice.
Rob: What’s the fried slice of? Tomato?
Mark (as if to an utter heathen): Bread. Fried bread.
Rob: So I’m in the wrong country.
Mark: Terrible. (appealing to the audience) Same in Australia, right? (audience calls out ‘yes’) Cup of tea - I don’t like the white tea thing, that’s a bit weird, innit.
Rob: White tea?
Mark: White tea. Tea.
Rob (hefting his takeaway coffee cup and stumbling over this weird Aussie nomenclature): I just ordered a, er, er, flat. White? Flat white?
Mark: Flat white? That’s paint.
Rob: I know, right?
Mark: That’s what you use to paint your kitchen.
Rob: More of an off white.
Mark: Eggshell. Biscuit.
Rob: How did this go today, your Q&A?
Mark: Boring. They’re really annoying me. They just annoy me! I mean, they don’t even try!
Rob: They’re scared of you, Mark.
Mark: I know. Little bit.
Rob: Little bit. Who’s not?
Mark: Am I leaving in a minute? Have I got to be done?
Rob: Yeah, this is about your wrap-up. When I - I’m like your green light.
Mark: You are my green light?
Rob: Yeah. You know in comedy they give you the light, it means you’ve got like two minutes.
Mark: The hook?
Rob: Yeah. Not the [?] light!
Mark: Right, well, I’ll wrap it up. It’s an important thing to me - I said this yesterday but I’m going to share it with you again today. There’s a reason why we do what it is that we do, and the reason why we come to these events is not primarily for money, or to visit - or necessarily to have a vacation! A lot of the time, like this time for me, I got off a plane, went to an event, got on another plane, went to another event, and I’m here and I’ve seen about as much of Melbourne as, you know, I’ve seen of - I’ve actually seen more of the airport than I’ve seen of Melbourne - but the truth is, the reason why I come here and my friends come here is to see you, and share this with you, and it’s a very interesting - (the audience is making ‘aww’ noises and being all touched) No, it’s true, it’s absolutely true, think about it! We - I come from live music, as does Rob, and live theatre, and the great amazing - (to someone trying to creep out) I see you! the bathroom’s that way! (as she waves) No, that’s Nazi, you can’t do that - but I come from live theatre and I come from live interaction and live music, and the bond between the performer and the crowd - and the audience - is a fantastic one. I’m also an audience member and a lover of music, and theatre, and this genre - I love this genre as much as anything, I mean, the storytelling that we have, the storytelling in our fantasy worlds that we create and participate in is the greatest thing ever. And that’s why it endures and that’s why it’s so brilliant. The geeks really have inherited the earth, and that’s what makes it fun. But the truth of it is that we make our television and we do our stuff for you, to share with you. But you’re not there. You’re not there when we’re doing it - it’s just us and our hundred and fifty friends, the same people over and over again. Which is a lovely thing to do - don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic - but it’s - and they’re pretty good gauges of whether it’s good or not and the rest of it. It’s a great feeling, you know, when you know you’re trying to do something good, doing the finale and everyone’s just walking around going this is just fabulous, this is why we’re here, we loved every minute of making it, for you - but it isn’t until I come to something like this that I get to share that audience feeling with you. Because I don’t get to come to your houses - this is the equivalent of - let’s all go hang out in one place together and talk about the thing that we love to do and we love to share with you. And for that it is a truly sacred thing, for me and my friends: we love every minute of being here. You can get grumpy about the lines, and the queues, and the stuff that needs to be done, and the stuff that takes time, but the interaction with you guys is the greatest experience we can ever get. And for that I truly, truly, truly love all of you, and thank you so much.
Audience applauding and trying to give him the same sentiment back as he leaves.
Rob: Mark Sheppard! He’s a pro. That’s what we call a pro, in the industry. I guess that word’s... not just our industry. Lot of people are called pros. “A little term we like to use called ‘pro’”. Everybody says that.