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!)