LI Who: An Unearthly Convention

Once again I am sorry for neglecting this poor blog for … four months now? Eek, I didn’t realize it had been that long. I promise I will try to post more frequently now. I’ve got a few things in mind, one in particular being a review of The Macra Terror DVD (which was finally released here in the States about a week and a half ago).

I also wanted to take the opportunity to share my thoughts on the great convention experience I had yesterday. LI Who has been holding Doctor Who conventions since 2013 on Long Island, New York. I live here and I only discovered it recently (but as they say, better late than never, right?). This year it was held at a Ramada Plaza in Holtsville, NY, just over half an hour from where I live. Because of this I decided not to stay overnight at the hotel.

Turns out I’d made a good decision. The hotel was undergoing a lot of renovations, pretty much taking out most of the lobby. There were some tables set up for people to sit and talk or get something to eat. There was also room for the registration/check in tables, and a separate area for autographs, panels, and a room down the hallway for photo ops. It was pretty cramped, but we all tried to make the best of what was available to us.

There was a great selection of programming on offer: panel discussions among fans, panels featuring the guests, a Saturday night dance party, and of course the aforementioned autographs and photo ops. Sadly I was only able to attend yesterday (Sunday) due to the proximity of Thanksgiving, and the fact my two dogs probably wouldn’t forgive me if I’d stayed away so long. But for the time I was there, I really enjoyed it.

People went all out for cosplay. I saw someone in a big dinosaur costume. A girl was dressed like Susan in An Unearthly Child and bore an uncanny resemblance to Carole Ann Ford – I mean, she looked exactly the same way she did in that story. There was also a girl dressed as Zoe in her quick appearance in The Five Doctors, bubble wrap and all. There were also quite a few dressed as the 4th Doctor and the newest Doctor. People were roaming the halls handing out ribbons for people to stick below their badges. Among them I picked up a “K9 Grey Brother” ribbon from an Ontario, Canada fan group, and a “Dalek Souffle” ribbon (“Eggs…stir…min…ate”). It was really nice to meet so many friendly fans. All the people I chatted with (admittedly, not very many people) were so nice.

The first thing on my agenda for the day was a photo op with Frazer Hines (Jamie). I admit I was a bit nervous as I’d never met him before but I had nothing to worry about. He really was lovely. As he approached the photo op room, we saw him carrying a Jamie balloon animal (there was a guy there creating balloon animals of Doctor Who characters), with kilt and all. He proudly showed it off to us before going inside. Anyway he introduced himself to me and then asked if he could put my arm around me for the photo (my reply: of course!). He was very sweet and thanked me once the photo was taken.

And here we are… I don’t photograph well. He looks great, though

Afterwards I decided to grab some autographs. I’d seen Louise Jameson (Leela) earlier walking through the hall. When I went for her autograph she said to me “Hello!… Again!” When she was signing my picture and asked me for my name (which is Jessica), she asked me if I was named after the Shakespeare character. I told her sadly, no. She was very sweet though. There was a huge line for Katy Manning (Jo)’s autographs mainly due to the fact that all the fans with the deluxe “Master Plan) passes had them included, so while I was waiting for the line to thin out, I got Frazer’s. I’d meant to ask him if he’d brought any of the Second Doctor and Jamie figures with him (several months ago he posted an unboxing video on Facebook, mentioning the website they’re from and said he might bring some signed ones with him to upcoming conventions), but I didn’t see anything apart from photos so I didn’t ask. Again he was very gracious and sweet.

Katy… wow. She is so energetic and such a sweetheart. She loves to give out hugs. When I went for her autograph, she jumped up and gave me a big hug. I told her it was my first convention and she said “Really!” and she told me how wonderful it is, that it’s where people can be themselves. She gave me another hug and said she hopes to see me at more of them in the future (and that they’ll invite her back!).

John Leeson (voice of K9) was very sweet too. He asked where I was from and told me he heard that people had come from as far away as San Francisco to attend this convention. I loved his autograph… I’ll include it at the end with some pics of the others. I also got a photo op with him and K9:

I had intended to go to three panels but was only able to get into two. The rooms where they were held were pretty small so you had to line up quickly in order to get in. The first panel I attended was Katy’s: “The Woman of Many Voices.” Again, she is so energetic and funny. Not much was touched upon regarding her voice work, except for the Time Lady she’s been voicing in the Big Finish Audios. She did mention that she made her voice go higher as Jo when she was on Doctor Who and at times it would get lower, prompting Jon Pertwee to tell her she sounded like a lorry driver. She was asked what her least favorite outfit on the show was. One of them was the white outfit she wore in The Sea Devils. She’d mentioned something about it shrinking when it got wet and how uncomfortable that was. She was very sweet, mentioning that she just likes to hug random strangers, even when she’s on the Tube in London she’ll turn and say to someone “Excuse me darling, can you tell me where such-and-such is” and after they help her she’ll say “Oh thank you” and give them a hug. She said she just loves people. She’s not fond of huge parties and crowds but individually loves people. Sadly I had to walk out in the middle of her panel for my photo op with John Leeson, but I enjoyed what I saw of her panel. Here’s a photo from the panel:

After her panel and the John Leeson/K9 photo op, I sat for Frazer’s panel, “The Animated Man.” The main topic was the lost episodes that have been animated (and are slated to be), but he also told some funny behind-the-scenes stories of filming other episodes. Frazer was a riot. He mentioned The Macra Terror and how he and Michael Craze had to wear these awful orange uniforms with tight Bermuda shorts. The animator told him they thought they were gray or blue, but he told them he definitely remembered them being orange. He also mentioned how large and cumbersome the Macra prop was, that you had to throw yourself against it to make it look like it was attacking you. The Faceless Ones, as the next one to be animated, was also mentioned and he mainly talked about how Ben and Polly just left in the middle of the story and only showed up again at the end.

The moment in The Tomb of the Cybermen where Jamie and the Doctor meant to grab Victoria’s hands and instead ended up grabbing each other’s hands was of course mentioned, as well as the tradition of Jamie and the Doctor’s “look at the size of that one, Doctor”-“Yes Jamie, it is a very big one, isn’t it” exchange (and I should mention he does a hilarious impression of Patrick’s Doctor). A photo of the Dalek Emperor from The Evil of the Daleks was shown and Frazer turned to it, mentioning it has a brassiere on, LOL. He even mentioned that Wendy cut them off in The Seeds of Death when Jamie points to the rocket saying his line, and the Doctor starts in with his but then Wendy cuts them off to say something else.

Fury from the Deep was brought up as a story that’s been recently slated for animation. Frazer mentioned that they don’t like them to go on social media and announce these things, but he said he recently went out to the location where they filmed the beach scene (I believe) for this animated version. It almost sounded like this might be an extra when it’s finally released on DVD. He also told a funny story about the helicopter scene in the episode. Apparently Debbie Watling (Victoria) told him she was afraid of heights and asked if she could get into the helicopter first and then have him and Patrick sit on either side of her. Frazer replied “Of course” but then as she turned around she saw him sprinting for the helicopter and started shouting “You swine, you swine!!!” LOL. On a more subdued note, he was asked about the ending scene where Victoria admits to Jamie she wants to stay. He said it wasn’t so much acting because they really did feel badly about Debbie leaving. I really enjoyed his panel. Here’s a photo:

I should say that the camera doesn’t do him justice. In person he has this real youthful spark to go with his sense of humor.

I really wanted to attend the 4th Doctor panel with Louise and John but after a very short trip to the restroom I learned the room was already full. Hopefully someone else has posted some highlights of that panel online somewhere.

All in all, it was a great (albeit short) experience and I’m so glad I was able to attend. If they hold it again next year I’d love to go.

Here are my autographs:

John Leeson wrote “Tail wags to my friend Jessica from K9!”

And here is a rogue K9 roaming the halls!

The heights of every classic Doctor and companion that I could locate (Some are missing, sorry), in Imperial measurements

xxladymxx:

1st Doctor: 5′8″

Barbara: 5′7″-5′9″

Ian: 6′0″

Susan: 5′1″

Vicki: 5′2″

Steven: 5′11″-6′1″

Sara Kingdom: 5′6″

Polly: 5′6″

2nd Doctor: 5′8″

Jamie: 5′6″-5′8″

Victoria: 4′11″

Zoe: 5′0″

3rd Doctor: 6′2″

Liz: 5′5″

The Brig: 6′1″

Yates: 6′0″

Benton: 6′2″

Jo: 5′1″

Sarah Jane: 5′4″

4th Doctor: 6′3″

Harry: 6′0″-6′2″

Leela: 5′6″

K9: 2′3″ (I’m sorry but I had to 😀 Took this measurement from a life-size cutout of K9 on Amazon!)

Romana I: 5′5″

Romana II: 5′5″

Adric: 5′5″

Tegan: 5′2″

5th Doctor: 6′1″

Nyssa: 5′0″-5′1″

Turlough: 5′9″

Peri: 5′3″

6th Doctor: 6′0″

Mel: 5′1″

7th Doctor: 5′6″

Ace: 5′3″


So what did we learn today? Apparently both Romanas are the same height (I thought Romana I would be taller by a long shot), and Ace and Peri are the same height (I somehow imagined Peri to be significantly taller…) Also, Victoria is far far far smaller than I had ever envisioned.

I kind of envisioned Peri being a bit taller too… I know you don’t have Ben but I think he was around 5′9″ or so? He appeared to be slightly taller than Jamie.

Thanks for putting this all together!