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Published on December 14th, 2013 | by Drew Boynton

ChicagoTARDIS Convention Highlights!

The ChicagoTARDIS convention was held on Thanksgiving weekend in the US, November 29-December 1. The line-up of guests was pretty spectacular, with no less than three Doctors (Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Paul McGann) and many companions (Freema Agyeman, Dan Starkey, Daphne Ashbrook, Frazer Hines, Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Louise Jameson) and many other guests.

Thanks to the great guests and the 50th anniversary, the convention had a record number of attendees – something like 2700 compared to 1200 in past years.

Here are some of the things that were highlights for me over the three days:

  • At his standing-room-only panel, Paul McGann said that he was driven to The Night of the Doctor set in a car with tinted/blacked out windows and was like something out of a spy movie.
  • Peter Davison was asked what he thought about the Doctor possibly being out of regenerations. He said that Steven Moffat had mentioned River giving the Doctor all of her regenerations in Let’s Kill Hitler. Truth or Moffat misdirection?
  • Colin Baker likened the Sixth Doctor to Pride and Prejudice‘s Mr. Darcy, in that, like Darcy, his Doctor would appear to be selfish and unlikeable at first, then would be revealed to be the most upstanding person in the story.
  • Several women – and at least one man – praised Louise Jameson’s portrayal of Leela to be greatly inspiring to them.
  • Dan Starkey entertained the audience with a humorous question and answer session of his panel, and did his Strax voice several times: “I am not a performing monkey!”

  • Baker and Jameson enchanted the audience with a performance of “Love Letters” to a nearly full house on Friday night. It was a perfect occasion for a convention date night and nice to see a great non-Who performance from the two stars.
  • *Michael Jayston seemed a little miffed that he hasn’t been asked back in light of the Valeyard’s name being mentioned in The Name of the Doctor. He also compared the Valeyard to John Hurt’s War Doctor as each being a “dark side” of the Doctor.
  • All of the guests seemed very nice and comfortable on stage. I was especially impressed with Richard Hope (The Hungry Earth), Sarah Sutton, and Nicola Bryant.
  • Sunday morning was the highlight of the convention for me, as Night and Day of the Doctor were screened in the Grand Ballroom to a packed audience. Peter Capaldi and Tom Baker’s appearances on screen resulted in huge cheers from the convention goers. Then, shortly afterward, there was a screening of The Five-ish Doctors Reboot, and Peter Davison made a surprise appearance on stage to introduce the show and take questions after. Fantastic!
  • Two video rooms screened many episodes, etc. I was able to catch the first episode of the now-found The Enemy of the World, as well as An Adventure in Space and Time, and countless others.

Overall, it was a great convention. I had not attended a ChicagoTARDIS since 2006 and it was just amazing to see how big this year’s con turned out to be. Not to mention seeing all of the families, women, and children who were in attendance – and many of them dressed as their favorite characters!

Here’s to 50 more years!

(Thanks to Sara Robbins and Matt Craemer for their photos!)


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About the Author


Drew has been a fan of Doctor Who ever since he flipped through the channels late one night and saw a girl blowing up an army of funny robot men with nothing but a slingshot and some old coins. He currently lives somewhere in the woods of Missouri with his beautiful wife Barbara.

4 Responses to ChicagoTARDIS Convention Highlights!

  1. avatar Bob James says:

    I can’t resist saying “I was there!” My avatar is a picture taken at the event. The last of the smaller, more intimate, quality face time with Who personalities US events, that maybe isn’t going to be that way for very much longer. Private parties for certain memberships, brunches, hanging out in the lobby of the hotel, not to mention the bar, right up close to your favorite Who personalities and chin wagging away until the early hours sometimes. I’ve been to every one since the first in 2000, and it got bigger this year, and next year looks to be even bigger than this one. Are thoughts of the “good old days” far behind?

  2. avatar l. says:

    I was there too and had a great time. I enjoyed reading this recap–lots of fun! I knew little about Richard Hope going in, but he was wonderful.Very outgoing,friendly, remembered my name at the end of the weekend. Louise Jameson was also terrific, and Paul McGann was so nice too. Tracey Childs from Big Finish impressed me, but then again, I loved all of the guests.

    As for what Bob says about this con being “the last” of the smaller ones in the U.S., I don’t think that’s correct. TimeGate in Atlanta had around 800 attendees last year (it’s a joint con with Stargate, of course), and the new ConSole Room in Minnesota will likely not be huge in its first year. Not sure about the size of Hurricane Who, but that’s another possibility. I also don’t think the attendance at next year’s Chicago TARDIS will be as big as at this year’s. It won’t be an anniversary year, and I don’t think the con will have the same number of big-name guests. I believe attendance will be down sharply.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Keep your eyes peeled as to next year’s Chicago Tardis guests. Perhaps not as great in number as you said, but the wheels are going to start turning. The bigger names start turning up, and the turn out will follow. Witness Los Angeles’ annual Gallifrey Convention, and it’s 2014 event being sold out well before the end of this year, and well in advance of the event. The smaller ones might keep going, God bless them, but some of the smaller ones are also going bigger as the show gains a larger audience.

  3. avatar Dave Duca says:

    CT 2013 is seen as a pure & blessed Doctor Who Convenion that is fixed and focused
    in all things Prydonian. The “Quality of Enjoyment” best describes this conventions, rather than to compare and be sophomore.
    The matter of increased numbers deminishes the affair to a grocery store, as Chicago TARDIS remains a restaurant.

    There is a trend happening in North america, what with Fan Videos and Podcasts making
    their viral debut of interest; the younger set are becoming keen and avid with imagination
    and increase in reading/writing skils of stories that will out-live the solar System.

    And, a great thanks to both, Sara Robbins and Matt Craemer for posting photos of my Black Dalek Supreme Sec.

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