As long time readers of my Nerdist work will know, I’m a big fan of what I consider the best fan convention in all the land, Los Angeles’ Gallifrey One, the yearly celebration of all things Doctor Who. This year will be my fourth consecutive trip attending, but the convention itself will be celebrating its 25th straight year, dating all the way back to 1989, when the guests of honor were Third Doctor Jon Pertwee and producer John Nathan-Turner, both of whom are no longer with us. The convention has grown by leaps and bounds even just in the few years since I’ve started going, more than doubling since 2011 and capping this year at 3,300 Whovians (that’s what you are, whether you choose to identify as that or not), and it sold out this year less than a month after going on sale, which for an “unofficial” con is pretty amazing.
If you happen to be one of the lucky folks going to be at the LAX Marriott this Friday-Sunday, you’ll be in a lot of luck, guest and panel-wise; the programmers have outdone themselves this year, celebrating their silver anniversary, with a veritable TARDIS-full of star guests from all of the different eras of the show. Like who, you ask? TWO Doctors for a start. Both Sixth Doctor Colin Baker and Eighth Doctor Paul McGann will be on hand, as will new series companions Billie Piper (Rose Tyler, of course) and Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams, of course). There will also be TONS of other companions, like Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), Jean Marsh (Sara Kingdom), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), John Levene (Sgt. Benton), and Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates). Also supporting actors like Mark Sheppard (Canton Deleware, also from every sci-fi show ever made), Tom Price (PC Andy from Torchwood), Stuart Milligan (Richard Nixon), and David Banks (the CyberLeader throughout the 1980s). That’s not even all the actors who will be there, either.
What I, a huge TV nerd, am perhaps most excited about are all the behind-the-scenes folks who will be there, not least of which is the legendary Terrance Dicks, who began on the show in 1968, was the script editor through the entire Jon Pertwee run, wrote several stories for Tom Baker, wrote “The Five Doctors,” and has written for every Doctor except the Ninth in print media. He’s also, along with Robert Holmes, perhaps the man most responsible for the show’s mythology, inventing the Time Lords, developing the Master, and writing the Fourth Doctor’s first serial. Joining him are new series (and book and Big Finish audio) writers Paul Cornell, Phil Ford, and Rob Shearman and Torchwood: Miracle Day (and many other great shows) writer Jane Espenson. New series director Steve Hughes and classic series composer Dominic Glynn will be there as well. It’s crazy!
And, if you’re a panel-goer, there’s lots of good stuff to choose from, exploring all manner of aspects of Doctor Who fandom from how the series deals with race and gender to whether or not there’s too much merchandise. It’s all there. I am quite privileged to be on two panels during the weekend; on Saturday at 2:00 pm, I’ll be on a panel called “The Non-Violent Solution,” dealing with the way in which the Doctor doesn’t (or sometimes does) use violence to solve problems, and on Sunday at 1:00 pm, I’ll be on “The Days of Whine and Roses,” in which we’ll discuss how fan opinions of the black and white years tends to change drastically. So, if you want to see me talk, that’s how you do it.
There’s so many other great things going on in the three days that I couldn’t possibly type it all here. But, if you’re one of the statistically high number of people not going but still want to be kept in the loop, I’ll be tweeting as much as possible about things. Follow me (@FunctionalNerd) and I’ll do my best to keep you informed. For everybody going, come say hello at some point. I’ll be the one who looks like me, enjoying myself for another year.