10 Sep Trev in The Wormhole…
Some of you are asking what actually is The Wormhole? Well, it’s a member’s only web area in which we place news from behind the scenes.
Film of Trev & Simon Packing Perks, aided & abetted by Trev’s sons has just gone in there… Sophie has a couple of pieces coming out over the next week… Wormholers are currently deciding on some captions for a new promo piece of ours, and there’s been a competition for them to win a very special piece of Lee Sullivan signed artwork. And here for you now is a copy of one of Trev’s recent posts …
Hi again Mirthlings and Wormholers!
Trev here again. This is a kind of Part 2 to my last post about camping in Wales with my family. We stayed on a working farm in the Brecon Beacons. It rained a lot but it was also really good fun and great to be in the heart of such beautiful countryside. I have a bit of a thing for Wales. I hadn’t been for ages and it was exciting to be back. My grandma was Welsh. She grew up in a traditional mining town in Glamorgan in South Wales. Her father was a coal miner and so were her brothers. She had Max Boyce records and baked delicious Welsh Cakes. She was the real deal.
In Episode 1 of Strangeness in Space – “Featherheads”, we discover that LEMON, the ship’s on board computer robot, was created by a NASA computer technician from Glynneath. LEMON tells Sophie that he’s been “hard wired to appreciate all things Welsh”. Barnaby Edwards who plays LEMON did a fantastic job when it came to creating the character.
Barnaby isn’t Welsh. He is however an extremely gifted actor with a fine range of accents available at his vocal finger tips (if that’s possible). In this case, we decided that it wasn’t appropriate for him to attempt a Welsh accent for the character of LEMON. Instead, Barnaby portrays LEMON with a distinctive voice of his own, which is part human, part machine. As a character, he approaches information and language as a computer robot might… extremely precisely. Barnaby researched the pronunciation of the Welsh names and references very diligently and then proceeded to vocalise them in a way that conjures up the sound of an audio language teaching aid – or a Wikipedia translation tool. This was perfect for LEMON, who was suddenly expressing human feelings (in this case a love of all things Welsh) in a very unemotional and slightly detached way. With this performance, Barnaby added a brilliant extra layer to the comedy.
In Wales, we were camped very near to Pen Y Fan, the mountain LEMON refers to in Ep1. Before we left, Clare asked me to take some pictures of it for the Wormhole. Unfortunately it was so wet and foggy I couldn’t get a good photo– and we certainly didn’t get to walk up it! We did however walk up Fan Y Big, which is fairly close but not quite so high. The name Fan Y Big amused my youngest boy for the entire holiday. Walking up it in the rain though didn’t amuse him quite so much.
It’s no coincidence that there’s a Welsh theme in our scripts. When Simon and I write together we often include references and themes which come directly from our personal lives. Sometimes they are really obscure, sometimes they are very obvious. In the first draft script of Episode 1, the Welsh NASA computer technician was called Gareth Evans. Gareth is another old friend of ours from Manchester University. These days Gareth is a very talented script writer and storyliner for the Welsh TV drama Pobol Y Cym on S4C. We needed an authentic Welsh name and Gareth’s came to mind. Putting his name into the script would have been just our little tribute to a mate. However Gareth’s name never made it to the final production script… (sorry Gareth!)
As part of the campaign to crowd fund the project, Clare came up with the genius idea to offer a perk in which backers could hear their own name featured in the episode. Thankfully several generous backers chose to pay for this perk, which helped to fund the whole thing (thank you Mirthlings, you know who you are, as does anyone who’s listened to Ep1)! Of course, this also meant that Simon and I then had to find a way to feature them in the script. It was good fun trying to come up with various ways to include their names – and even more fun when it came to recording and producing the way in which they were used (but that’s another story – which involves our intrepid sound designer, Dave Palser, chasing geese around a farm)
The strangest coincidence happened in choosing the new name for the Welsh NASA computer technician. Gareth Evans was substituted for one of our backers, Paul Mellin (thank you Paul!) It was only after we’d chosen his name for the character– and after we’d recorded it– that we discovered Paul actually lives in…Glamorgan.
Strangeness in Space? Strange indeed!
(Clare has copied all this over from The Wormhole… that’s because she knows you’d really enjoy it in there with us if you joined! £20 membership will give you and your household members access to all our behind the scenes capers, news and videos, and in joining, you will have helped us make more Strangeness in Space!)