Anglicon! The first in some time, which is why it’s Anglicon: The Regeneration. They wound down the previous version of Anglicon just in time for Doctor Who to return to the air – thus winning the Best Worst Timing Award for 2006 – and it’s taken ’till now to get it running again. Having contributed to the Kickstarter a couple of years ago, I had a membership!
First: very odd being at the Norwescon hotel for Not Norwescon, like it usually is. Lots of other non-fans around. Anglicon clocked in at around 950 members (would guess something like 2300 gate count, eyeballing it?), and at times a crowd that size in a space that large did feel a bit rattly. But despite that, this first Regeneration Anglicon was in fact larger than all previous editions, so that’s definitely a win out the gate for them.
I did indeed get to play, on Saturday night. The new-to-performance Doctor Who song seemed to go over really well. This also made my first go at performing with the giant cheap tablet I’ve talked about, and out the gate I’m very much in a WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS BEFORE?! mood. Having such a larger selection of material available was unmitigatedly awesome. Out of nowhere, I ran into Fae Wiedenhoeft, a musician I’d met when I was first starting out and hadn’t seen again since, attending her first convention; we ended up throwing selkie songs back and forth at each other, something which absolutely couldn’t’ve happened had I just brought a single gig book, or just my own material.
(Hi Fae! Loved your pieces. <3)
I have to talk about Katy Manning for a minute. She played Jo Grant, companion with the Third Doctor (Fop Doctor). As a result, yes, she’s up there – she’s nearing 70.
But you know how you’ll talk about older people being “spry” when they move around well, particularly for their age?
Katy is not spry. Katy is athletic. Katy moves like a 35 year old. Katy has a grip that will crush iron. I am totally serious here. When I went to get that autograph in the top picture, she ended up looking at that Second Doctor sonic I built, and when she handed it back to me, I grabbed it expecting a weak grip, and dropped it, because no.
She’s also a hugger, and hugged me, and Anna, and pretty much everybody, and I’m just sayin’, that’s not a Grandma Hug. I would not be surprised if she could lift me. It was kind of awesome.
Talking of sonics, I got a chance to analyse a Dalek, and the readings I got will definitely help build out the next model:
Pleasantly, two people recognised it for what it was – once I called it out, anyway – one each day. Everyone was surprised by how many different things it does – two kinds of noises, a blue light, and particularly the tactile feedback. I quickly figured out the trick was to hand it to someone and say “Try it” without warning them about the buzzy bit. You do that and people go, “Oh wow.”
A few people told me I should manufacture them, that I would make boatloads of money, but, yeah, no. I don’t fear much, but the BBC licensing bureau? I know when to pick my fights. (Talking of, I ran into Ernst Blofeld – he’s not Guild, obviously – but we had a short pleasant chat and he has my card. It goes without saying that I have no photograph.)
Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor), it turns out, is an absolute hoot.
He’s been doing these for quite a while, of course, so he’s got loads of practice. But he does it well, and has interesting stories, some of which are of course quite recent. He made good fun of David Tennant (“Oooh, I’m young, I’m attractive, I’ve got pointy hair“) and got a lot of questions about his Big Finish Audio Productions work (loves working for them, is now acting across multiple ranges, will take pretty much any part they feel like offering), and the 50th Anniversary Fivish Doctors Reboot special.
I’d had no idea he’d been in their Dorian Grey series, but apparently he’s done a fair bit of work in that line, as well as another which eludes me at the moment. He’s also been keeping his hand in via small English films, and did a guest spot in “The White Iris,” the latest episode of Star Trek Continues, a fan production that’s been making waves lately. So that was all good fun.
For some reason they had a spot on Sophie Aldred while she was on stage:
It makes for a nice dramatic setup, I suppose, but it’s hard to get her face not washed out while keeping the backdrop. Since I failed, here’s the other exposure level for you.
She’s mostly been voice acting since her Ace days, and, like Colin, not just for Doctor Who-related work. But she spoke a good bit about all the problems with just trying to keep the show going in that late era, with BBC management wanting it gone, and the low-even-for-Doctor-Who budgets of the era.
She pretty much stepped away from stage/screen acting to raise her kids, and has only been taking voice-acting work for several years. But she did mention that she recently took on a screen agent again, now that the kids are growing up, so maybe we’ll see something out of her on that front soon.
Cosplay focused on the modern doctors. I did see a very good Rose, and a pretty good Sarah Jane Smith, but wasn’t in a photo-friendly environment at the time. Dalek Clara made an appearance, as did many, many modern Doctors (and two of my Shemp Doctor! I was surprised), and, of course a whole patrol of Daleks.
Plus K-9, who was, as always, a good dog.
There’s a fair lot of discontent over the most recent series in the modern Capaldi doctor – lots of unhappiness with the scriptwriting, and I’m not the only one who bailed on last year midway through. Thank goodness for Big Finish is all I can say to that. But I hope Peter Capaldi gets some better scripts – I’d like to see his take on things when the writing’s not such rubbish and not have to wait for years like, well, Colin Baker did.
Anna will no doubt write up her own report, and I’ll probably eta this to add a link. And here’s Anna’s report. Were you there? If so, what’d you think?
eta: I wrote up a bit of a build report on the sonic screwdriver, too. Lots of photos.