For the uninitiated, a Doctor Who convention is the mutated offspring of a television chat show and a fancy dress party with renegade DNA elements of a stag or hen party. The stars of the show along with us lesser mortals are interviewed on stage or sit on panels discussing the finer points of writing, or acting, or the rich history of the TV programme itself. One panel even asks is Doctor Who is a religion (well, enquiring minds want to know)!
And of course there is the dealers’ room (pictured, right) where every possible merchandising opportunity has had a Police Box slapped on it – from t-shirts to teacups and posters to coasters – along with the more usual DVDs, books, comics and action figures.
The several hundred fans attending the “con” mingle and chat, queue for autographs, watch the aforementioned panels and interviews, view their favourite episodes on the big screen and compete for the most outlandish or intricate costume. I will be blogging about the costume pageant tomorrow with a few images of this amazing spectacle, but the most important aspects of these conventions is the camaraderie, the sincere friendships that people – professionals and fans alike – make.
These things are great fun and a wonderful way to meet one’s readers, listeners and viewers. And, as you’ll see tomorrow, the creativity of the professionals is equaled by that of the “cosplayers” who go to such extraordinary lengths to make their costumes the best and most accurate.
There is such a lovely atmosphere at these US conventions. Everyone is upbeat and out for a good time. The cliché of the reclusive, awkward Doctor Who fan is blown away by the gregarious gathering of people here.
Because, in the end, that’s what we’re really here for: to meet up with old friends and maybe make a few new ones along the way. Although, it does helps if you know your Hath from your Eldrad…
Richard Dinnick is a writer of TV, comics and books who has contributed to the Doctor Who and Moshi Monsters ranges that Penguin publishes including: Doctor Who: Alien Adventures, The 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Sticker Book coming next year. You can follow him on Twitter (www.twitter.com/richarddinnick) or find out more by visiting his website (www.richarddinnick.com).