Ianto Jones was a character in Torchwood, a spin off series from Doctor Who. I decided to put him in my blog to demonstrate how absolutely insane fanship can become. As a family we were recently lucky enough to attend the First EVER Official Doctor Who Convention in Cardiff. As you can imagine we were a little excited at the prospect initially then as the months rolled by from ticket purchase to actual attendance I realised that not only could we attend the Convention but we were going to be in Cardiff where both Doctor Who and Torchwood is filmed. We would be able to visit some of the places we have seen in some of our favourite stories, the diner in The Impossible Astronaut for example, this is where the excitement of being a fan gets a bit insane.
Sometime between ticket booking and event The Radio Times began including ‘Famous TV Walks’ booklets within its leaves, the very first one of these had a Doctor Who/Torchwood themed walk placed luckily around and about The Millennium Centre in Cardiff which was where the convention was to be held. To be honest I gave this a brief look over but didn’t think I would find it that exciting figuring that looking at a building that The Doctor had stood in front of if he wasn’t actually standing in front of it at the time wouldn’t enamour me. I obviously hadn’t made allowances for the fan-obsessive that was bubbling and growing excitedly within me. We got to Cardiff on the Friday, the convention was being held Saturday and Sunday, so we decided to have a wander see if we could find The Millennium Centre, and wander we did, in abundance....I think the word I am looking for is lost. Then we turned this corner and there in a gap at the top of the street I saw that beautiful imposing building with its lettering catching the sun and I felt that fluttering of excitement rising from my toes, I was instantly transported to all those episodes of Torchwood where we see this fine building, and it has been featured in so many Doctor Who episodes. As we got closer I saw the silver quite alien looking structure of the water tower and my heart skipped a beat...that’s the lift entrance to the hub I squealed. The rest of the family don’t watch Torchwood and although I watch it I am certainly not as obsessed about it as I am about Who so even I was surprised by my delight when I was standing there in front of the water tower posing for the obligatory photograph.
In my little booklet from The Radio Times I’d noticed mention of a shrine to Ianto Jones that was on Mermaid Quay. So on that absolutely gloriously sunny day off we trotted, Father, Daughter, Small Child and I to find the shrine dedicated to a fictional character from a Science Fiction TV show. It took a little looking to find it, I think mainly because it was so busy, there were people everywhere. Mermaid Quay from what I saw on my three days there is a hub of eateries, bars and boat trips, it’s quite lovely but obviously also quite a draw for tourists and locals alike especially when the weather is good, which is was. When we finally saw it from a little distance I was totally gobsmacked. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, a dried out bunch of flowers with a hastily penned note perhaps. Whatever I was expecting it certainly wasn’t this.
All photographs copyright Lisa Hazlegreaves
I wish I had taken more photographs in the forty five minutes or so that we were there looking, some of the items on the shrine must have taken hours to make, some of them months..there was this one book, all laminated and carefully bound in which someone had taken their Captain Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones toy figures around the world and taken photos of them in various settings, it was inspired. There were handmade paper flowers and wreaths. There were some letters that Father and I read that made us look at each other and raise an eyebrow and thank the TARDIS that the person who wrote it wasn’t there with us. I am a massive Doctor Who fan it is true, and yes I did shed a tear when I had my visit to the BBC TARDIS set but some of the things on this shrine for a fictional character, from a TV Science Fiction show, quite frankly some of this was insane. Although, however scary and insane some of it seemed, the thought and quite frankly the love that had gone into this was beautiful. It is also a credit to the people of Cardiff Bay that they allow this shrine to continue and thrive, and that the local council haven’t removed it. I wished I had made something to place on it, but I hadn’t so if you are going to Cardiff and you intend to visit Ianto’s shrine can you write a note from me please and can it simply say this.
Ianto Jones, your story lives on and some of your fans, well, some of them are absolute nut-nuts.