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I have been talking to Ty Davies, a Facebook contact and blog regular, he has sent me a report on this years ReGenerations, with pictures. This is a report of Saturday, Sunday will follow later today :)
Where do I begin to explain what a marvellous time had by all this weekend. Frankly, it was the best convention I have ever attended from start to finish. By all measures, it was a small con with around 200ish people there, but you wouldn’t determine the calibre of the guests by number of attendees! I give you, in order of appearance & highlights (Saturday only in this post);
As we all took our seats, unspooled was a stunningly cut selection of videos to music from the Who legacy. Frankly, it was worth going for that alone but the weekend had only just begun. Dammit, THAT THEME at volumes all the way up to 11. The weekend opened with a Dalek invasion! All smoke, darkness then both the Supreme Dalek and Dalek Caan both introduced us to the Abomination - none other, than show organiser and frankly all round legend Mr Cary Woodward. Before anything else, I want to congratulate Cary and his crew for delivering the finest convention. Good work!
Gary Russell opened the convention, advising us to harass the guests as much as we like and to treat all the stewards as our, well, think of a similar sounding word to Britches! Appreciate the children out there in the audience! So onto the guests and a few highlights that you may not have heard elsewhere in fandom;
* Recently returned from a tour of performing as Charles Darwin, where upon being seen by Darwins descendant Sir Ranulph Fiennes, commented that Terry had unbeknownst to him captured the family laugh. He was also intrigued by reading Darwins original journals, to see that Darwins children had drawn some doodles on his paperwork, which allowed Terry to connect with the man as a human being rather than an icon.
* Terry commented that the BBC wanted to kill off his character, over one Xmas from The Archers with a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head! However, sanity prevailed but then discussed very funnily about actors he has worked with written out without prior knowledge!
* Discussed audio adventures The Scarifyers and the pleasure of working with his esteemed cast with of course Nicholas Courtney and recently Brian Blessed!
* Pissed off at border security in the US, on a previous trip, was requested by an immigration inspector to lose the equivalent golf balls in the US that he lost on a trip in the UK.
* I think I am fair in saying that he was disappointed not to be consulted over the return of Davros in The Stolen Earth/Journeys End.
* Found the most rewarding Doctor Who fan encounter was when he met a little Autistic lad who had drawn Daleks in wonderful detail and showed him designs for new ones for him to make!
* Found the least rewarding moment, when approached by a fan dressed as Romana, except it was a man!
* Do you know that the Toclafane was to be the new Dalek and was to be used in place of aforementioned Dalek in the episode of the same name, had the rights not been obtained from the estate of Terry Nation? The Nation estate eventually buckled when it was clear that it was a mutually beneficial situation to have the Daleks back.
* Phil hated the speculation on who the new Doctor was going to be. They knew they needed a real actor to take on the role, to show how serious the production was being taken. Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee were never in the running to play The Doctor and companion! However, Chris Eccleston late in the day expressed an interest and was immediately cast.
* The audience and Phil agreed on how important Murray Golds music has been to the new series. The reason for the big names in the credits, was to give the series the real oomph needed for a classic Saturday night series on a Hollywood scale. The impression the team wanted to give, that these are the biggest stars ever! However, the classic Doctor face in the titles was never entertained!
* As soon as being offered the series of Doctor Who. Phil immediately watched loads of Buffy and Smallville to see how they can pitch the new series of Who into a world with that Science-Fiction mindset now without losing the essence and importance of what Doctor Who is all about.
* In a previous life, was an actor! With a prominent role in Coronation Street as the man that set up the dodgy mortgage with Deirdre Barlo/Rashid that got her arrested! So, it is Phil we have to thank for the Save Deidre Rashid protests!
* He says that he absolutely lucked into producing. As a script editor, he was asked to take on the producer mantle on Peak Practice when the current producer left on short notice. An experience that he thoroughly enjoyed, working on a massive scale with explosions and accidents, which put him in good stead for Doctor Who!
* Phil said that he didn’t sleep through most of his tenure on Who!
* He kind of knew that Christopher Eccleston was only doing the one series but it wasn’t immediately apparent. However, couldn’t believe that his departure was leaked before Rose had aired. However, it did turn to the teams favour as Phil believe that first season embodied the who spirit of Doctor Who with a regeneration at the end of the series on a classic note
* Could not believe when Graham Nortons voice leaked over the opening credits of Rose! (Norton had just prior made a live trailer for Strictly Dance Fever due after Who). Phil spoke to Graham later, who confirmed that he was glad that he didn’t use the bathroom at that time which he nearly did! Can you imagine a radio-mike on that time! Would have been a national outcry! Charlie Ross confirmed that no-one in Scotland had a disturbance by Norton though!
* David Tennants casting was a no brainer based on how brilliant he was in Casanova.
* Recalled the nightmare shoot of The Unquiet Dead in Swansea with the pandemonium of rearing horses and massive media interest! In turn, constant editing of the script between Russell T Davies and Mark Gatiss to punch up the story.
* Speaking of The Unquiet Dead, Simon Callow himself suggested Charles Dickens to join the world of Doctor Who to Gatiss!
* Phil said that producing Who never got easier but rather it became more organised through establishing the teams involved and having the right people in place.
* Working on a new James Herbert adaptation for the future and some really interesting projects for the future, so keep watching!
* The white Romana dress was made out of jersey, which caused the flowing material to grow longer by the day! Each morning, dress fitters had to scissor away the loose fabric from the bottom of the dress to avoid any Time Lady trips and spills.
* Spoke wonderfully about her Romanian heritage which can be read about in her book First Generation, so I won’t spoil it for you here.
* Asserts that it was indeed herself that proposed Lalla Ward as a replacement for her on Doctor Who. The fact that Tom Baker had taken a bit of a shine to Lalla too, may have also had something to do with it! (They were married soon after for a brief time! Lalla is now married to Richard Dawkins of The God Delusion fame, also from The Stolen Earth cameo!)
* The reason why Mary left Doctor Who, was her disenchantment over the definition of her role. It was sold to Mary on the basis that she would indeed be a fully fledged Time Lady, having an episode every now and again with The Doctor locked into a cupboard somewhere and Romana to go rescue! However, it became clear that the role was as a pretty dyed in the role companion.
* Confirms that things were a little tense when first joining Doctor Who, as she was already an established actress before arriving on set (Including a very high profile role in the film The Odessa File with Jon Voight and yes, Sir Derek Jacobi), which caused some friction between her and Tom Baker which soon disappeared and very quickly becoming friends.
* More fascinating away from the world of Doctor Who! More adventures of interest in Real Time & Space besides her wonderful work on Who. This is all fabulously detailed in her books Self Portrait and Naked.
* Went to India to find herself after her marriage break up with Michael Gough (Celestial Toymaker).
* Drove a U-Haul truck over Canada for work!
* Found out at her Gallery in Vancouver that Geoffrey Sax was filming the new Who close-by! In turn, Anneke went to the wrap party to meet the cast and found Paul McGann, in turn wishing she was 20 years younger!
* Told a hysterical story about a rather inebriated Sylvester McCoy playing the spoons on a very burly doorman of the hotel where the McGanns Whos wrap party was happening. In turn, caused the big guy not to hit him but to politely remind him of the scale issue between the two!
* Sylvester McCoy had an open crush on Daphne Ashbrook! Who can blame him eh chaps!
* Anneke thought it was really wonderful, that as the guests were pouring themselves into taxis away from the wrap party that the cast and crew of The X-Files were returning to the hotel from a location shoot! Talk about a meeting of legends!
* On a personal note, Anneke did a really funny thing whilst in the hotel foyer, randomly removed a small Xmas tree from a table advertising a Turkey and Tinsel deal, hid it and commented to me Too early for Xmas eh!. It was a real Time Lord esq. moment for me, which I will treasure!
* Anneke recently met David Tennant, who absolutely loved her character of Polly and got to stand in the TARDIS!
Katy Manning, Stephen Thorne and Nicholas Courtney.
* I can assure you all, based on his pallor and general where with all with a hearty handshake to me, Mr. Courtney is fighting fit after his recent health scare.
* The panel had a touching discussion about Roger Delgado, adding naturally to general consensus that he was taken too soon. Katy commented that she was actually with Nicholas on the day they found out that he had died by seeing a newspaper hoarding stating Doctor Who Star Dies. Nicholas commented that Delgado was very much a gentleman. One evening, all were invited to dinner with Delgado to have the door opened by a disarming image of The Master with Pipe & Slippers
* No secret to many but Jon Pertwee was loved by all but a terrible scene stealer. Stephen Thorne commented that during his scenes as Omega, there was as much comedic bickering between Pertwee and Patrick Troughton on The Three Doctors, as between The Doctors! He also told an hysterical story about how hard it is for Pertwee to not do small autographs! That when he asked him to sign something, he flamboyantly uses up the whole page!
* Katy is a big friend with Liza Minnelli, who thinks of Doctor Who as this whole kooky show you did back in Britain.
* As revealed, The Mind Of Evil has been colourised with a commentary by Nicholas Courtney in the can, as I type!
As both days are very long, I have split this into 2 posts, Sunday will be posted later today, meanwhile here are a couple of photographs from ReGenerations at the top, and you can see a gallery here, all by Ty :) A really BIG thanx to Ty Davies for choosing my blog for this :)