I picked up my wife from school today (she’s a teacher) and with our car fully packed, we drove straight to Los Angeles (and hour and a half drive, in today’s sluggish traffic) for the annual “Gallifrey One” Doctor Who Convention.
Gallifrey One is the biggest dedicated Doctor Who convention on the west coast, if not the United States (though it’s probably a garage sale next to some of the UK-based DW conventions). My wife and I first started attending Gallifrey One about 4 years ago, and we’ve made it an annual pilgrimage since. It’s a blast.
After our long drive, we checked into our lovely Marriott Residence Inn hotel room across from the convention site (the Inn is a bit more expensive, but also has much bigger rooms and a lot of amenities, such as fridge, microwave and full kitchen). After wolfing down a quick pizza dinner, we registered, got our convention badges… and we were off!
Veteran Doctor Who writer/producer/showrunner Steven Moffat (also of “Sherlock” fame) was speaking in the main theatre, but I really wanted to check out the Dealer Hall first. I’ve heard Moffat speak at conventions a few times, and I’ve (literally) bumped into him once at Comic Con, so I chose to skip it. Besides, Moffat’s entire talk will probably be on YouTube in less than 24 hours anyway. At conventions, I tend to skip the larger panels in favor of more personal encounters.
So onto the Dealer Hall we went…
…and I’m glad that we did.
The first person I saw was actor David Bradley, who played First Doctor actor William Hartnell in the DW 50th anniversary special, “Adventure in Time and Space” and went on to play the First Doctor himself in the recent 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special, “Twice Upon a Time”). Also saw Camille Codury, who played Rose Tyler’s mum “Jackie” in the 9th and 10th Doctor series.
I then met and had a brief, pleasant chat with Andrew Cartmel. That name may not ring too many bells outside of DW circles, but he was Script Editor on DW in the late 1980s, during the 25th and 26th seasons; overseeing some of the BEST of the 7th Doctor/Sylvester McCoy-era episodes, including “Remembrance of the Daleks,” “Curse of Fenric” and “Survival.” We talked a bit about his book “Script Doctor” (detailing his work on the series). He said he liked my name (a compliment I’d also received from the legendary actress Jean Marsh a few years ago… oh, how the ego swells!) and we then we took a selfie together. I bought his book and he autographed it, along with 4 behind-the-scenes pictures. I’ve long admired Andrew Cartmel’s contribution to the series, and he is a real gentleman.
Speaking of the McCoy era, I also ran into… Sylvester McCoy himself (!). Didn’t take a picture, but I told myself I’d get his autograph tomorrow when I had my copy of my big, collectible Doctor Who Vault book, which I left across the street at our hotel (argh!). Luckily, he confirmed that he would indeed be back tomorrow (probably today, as you read this), so… all is groovy.
Without an urgent agenda, I took a few cosplayer pics as well; I just love cosplayers… they are the heart and soul of conventions. With their clever & amazing costumes, they truly make the show for me.
Then I went to the Titan Publishing table and tried to get the last few issues of my friend Nick Abadzis’ 10th Doctor comic books. My local bookseller has been just horrible about stocking them lately, and I’ve missed the last two or three issues. I was hoping to catch up on them here at the convention, but sadly, no dice. I need my stories!
And Nick? We sincerely wish you could make it out here for this year’s Gallifrey One. We had such a great time meeting up with you and your wife last year. Take care, my friend.
After my scouring of the Dealer Hall, I met up with my wife in Program Room ‘C’ for an update on the Curiosity Mars Rover given by Sarah Milkovich and Kim Steadman of JPL at Caltech. Some interesting factoids about the new 2020 Rover (as-yet-unnamed) that will employ a few upgrades to the original Curiosity rover design.
It’s always encouraging to see real science get a bit of fair play at science fiction conventions.
I would go to other events tonight (Day One), but sadly, the long slow drudging drive into L.A. has given my arthritis a nice kick in the ass, so I’m taking it easy at our hotel, writing this blog for you (hehe).
Tomorrow my rusty old bones will be rested and ready to face a whole day of ‘adventures in space and time’, and I promise to write all about it in this blog.