Children of Mirth: Day One [The Gallifrey One Report]

27th February 2010 • Blog Post by Ben Paddon •

Day one of Gallifrey One has come to an end, and I have to say I enjoyed it much more than I was expecting. I’ll be honest with you, time spent on Gallifrey Base and on SyFy.com’s Doctor Who Forum had left me with a very sour impression of Doctor Who fans in general. I viewed the masses of Who fandom (I refuse to use “Whovians” – it’s pretentious and stupid) as largely hateful creatures unhappy with every new addition to lore and pining for a perceived “Golden Age” that probably never happened.

My view was quite wonderfully shattered by almost everyone I met at Gallifrey, apart from one person who, his views on Doctor Who aside, thought that The Dark Knight was a messy pile of shit.

Friday’s Events

I’d hoped to start the day with Nicholas Briggs’ “Gallifrey Interview” at noon, but alas I was unable to make it. I spent much of the first hour or so at the con helping my friend Ray set up his area of the art gallery and so I missed it. I did make it to the “Doctor Who in the Comics” panel with Gary Russell, Tony Lee, Pia Guerra, Paul Cornell, Matthew Dow Smith and Richard Starkings, which involved a fair more casual references to Gary’s mum than I’d been expecting.

I found the panel to be very informative. They briefly talked about what the IDW Publishing license does and does not allow them to incorporate from Classic Who lore, and a very odd distinction between the “Companions” from the TV series and  “the Doctor’s friends” from the comic book series. An interesting turn of phrase, probably because they’re not allowed to call the Doctor’s travelling partners in the comics “Companions” for some absolutely ridiculous reason. I’m sure I could hear people editing the TARDIS Index File as this was being said.

I did later pop by to IDW’s table in the in the Dealers Room where I caught Paul Cornell buying a copy of “The Forgotten”, had a brief chat with him about the comics, and overheard IDW’s editor lamenting to Paul about how he’s never written for IDW’s comics. Indeed, this was touched upon in the panel – they were unable to come an agreement with Cornell’s agent over a price, it seems – a point Paul reiterated at the table, although he seems fairly confident that they can at least get him writing a One Shot at some point in the future. Fuck yes.

I bought a copy of “Through Time And Space”, a collection of some of last year’s One Shots. $20 I don’t really have, but sod it. Money well spent, so far as I’m concerned.

I’d planned on attending the “Midnight” live commentary but that fell through and so I reluctantly rolled into the commentary for the horrific “Dreamland” instead, finding myself sitting mere seats behind Phil Ford and the very lovely Georgia Moffett. Gary Russell was there again, this time in his capacity as the Script Editor for “Dreamland”, and for some reason spent a lot of time singing the praises of the animation team, who spent ages researching period props and lighting and the like. If only they had the same attention to detail with the animation quality, maybe it wouldn’t have been so shit. Alright, fair play to them – they did a halfway decent job considering there was only six months production time on the series, but bloody Hell is it bad. It definitely doesn’t benefit from the big screen treatment, either.

The opening ceremonies, which were in the evening for some reason, were fantastic. They opened by introducing a shit-ton of guests (I won’t waste my time going through them all when there’s a perfectly good list on the Gallifrey One website), and then played a lovely video from Steven Moffat apologising profusely for not being there but promising an incredible new series of the show. This was followed by an absolutely fan-fucking-tastic video from Peter Davison who also apologised for not being there due to having been cast in “Legally Blonde: The Musical”. My seething rage was subsided when part of the video included Peter dressing up as a Normal Person and interviewing attendees to ask them who their favourite performer was. No one said him. He was crushed.

And, of course, there was the surprise cameo from David Fucking Tennant at the end. Utterly brilliant. I hope it finds its way to YouTube soon because I can’t really describe it in my sleep-addled state.

Later we attended Karaoke, where I sang the harmonies on “St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, and we watched a Roger Delgado lookalike perform a remarkably good version of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”.

The TARDIS Wardrobe

There were some absolutely cracking costumes today. As usual at a convention, Doctor Who or otherwise, the Torchwood Lesbians made their presence known. There were more women dressed up as Captain Jack and Ianto than men, which I’m not going to argue about. There were an inordinate number of Tenth Doctors at the con, most of whom sported a straw hat and a flowery wossname (apologies, I’m starting to wilt), and a surprising number of Fifth Doctors of various ages and genders there this year – very pleasing to see so much support for Five this year.

There were a lovely couple of girls dressed as the Third Doctor and, bizarrely, the Cushing Doctor wandering around the floor together, and a girl in what may be my favourite costume of the day – a stunning Sixth Doctor dress. I’ll try to get photos tomorrow.

I’m not ashamed to say I got costumed up as well, opting at the last minute to go as an “evil” Tenth Doctor, consisting of a black suit, black Chucks, and a long black leather coat I bought on a trip back to England last year that looks fucking incredible, and has been described as the sort of thing Freddie Mercury would wear if he were in “The Matrix”. I even came up with a ridiculous backstory for my evil Tenth Doctor – what if the Doctor had been a bit quicker on his walk back to the TARDIS at the end of “The Waters of Mars”? What if he hadn’t seen Adelaide get killed? What would he have become?

Does anyone give a shit besides me? No? Fair enough then.

It’s been difficult live-tweeting the event as mobile reception near the airport and in the bowels of the hotel where the event is taking place is an absolute horse’s arse, but I’ll try to continue getting tweets out during the day where I can.

Ben Paddon certainly isn’t here to help a malevolent entity to bring down the website. Ben writes and hosts PortsCenter, a webseries about video game ports that exists solely because someone once asked him if Doom on the PSone was any good. His favourite colour is mope.

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