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Doctor Con Event Report

Auckland, Saturday 2 February 1991

by Paul Scoones

Doctor Con was conceived of initially to raise funds for the club, as when it was handed over to me by Mr Poulsen, its finances were in a sorry state to say the least. It was decided by Felicity and myself to attempt a full-scale Doctor Who mini-con (one-day convention). The club had staged several Doctor Who days in Auckland since late 1989, but these were primarily video-watching orientated events. This time round, we decided, there would be a full programme of events as well.

The idea was adopted by both the Christchurch and Wellington Chapters, who utilised a number of ideas from our programme, most notably the video making we had scheduled.

A week before the convention, Felicity organised a promotional drive for the con outside the MidCity complex on central Auckland's Queen Street on a Friday night. Several people and a Dalek we had borrowed for the con positioned themselves on the pavement and handed out over one hundred flyers. I spent more than an hour operating the Dalek to the delight passers-by.

The following Friday, we were amazed and delighted to find ourselves mentioned on, of all things, a television weather report. Penelope Barr, the TV1 weather presenter commented that the weather would be fine for the Doctor Who convention being held in Auckland, and the city was labelled on the map as playing host to this event - which is more than WhoCon got in the way of advance coverage!

Unfortunately, Penelope's forecast was as much off the mark as it could possibly be, and Saturday proved to be a dismal rainy day. This did little to dampen our spirits, and even the initial refusal of an abusive caretaker to let us into the hall we had hired for the day, or the very late arrival of the Dalek, or the troubles we had finding doors wide enough to get it into the building, detracted in any significant way from our enthusiasm for the event.

We are uncertain as to the exact number of attendees, but it is believed to be at least 60. On the video we screened the Benton solo-story, Wartime, an amateur fan video produced by an English group called Spectre from the Past, a documentary about the making of Silver Nemesis, various Sylvester McCoy clips, and the classic Tom Baker story, City of Death, due to be published by TSV books later this year.

After a brief introductory speech by me, Felicity ran a Doctor Who Pictionary game which proved very popular indeed. Throughout the day, various attendees got the chance to be Dalek operators, which for some was undoubtedly the highlight of the con. Jon Preddle, who was up from Thames for the weekend, then gave a talk on his experiences of Doctor Who events and locations in Britain and Europe, and a short time later was up before the audience again to answer the hardest questions of trivia they could throw at him in Stump the Superfan.

Perhaps due to the bad weather conditions, not many people had turned up in costume, so the scheduled costume parade was rather thin on numbers, but those who had made the effort were able to show off their garb by acting in the video making session which occupied the early part of the afternoon, proceeded by a talk by Nigel Windsor on his plans to make a Doctor Who video production in Auckland. After the video-making, I gave a short talk on the changes to the NZDWFC and my plans for the club and TSV, which I believe were met with approval.

Earlier in the day, a short audition quiz had been held, and from this two 'expert' and two 'not-so-expert' teams had been formed, to participate in a main quiz made up of three parts. The first of these were three questions each on a certain topic chosen from a list, followed by questions on a series of video clips, and concluding with a quick-fire round. A deliberate attempt had been made to make the questions in this quiz easier because of complaints that my earlier quizzes had been too difficult. However, I feel I went too far in the opposite direction this time, as only about three questions at most were not answered correctly.

The attendees then got to see the results of their video-making, which utilized the Dalek, and then I closed the con - on schedule, for possibly the first time in all the Doctor Who days I have run! The day was judged a success by all who attended, and we made well over $400 after all expenses were paid for the club. Felicity and I went home happy but exhausted. The question I'm asked now is, "When is Doctor Con II?" We'll let you know!

[Dalek] [Dalek]
A Dalek invades the Auckland Doctor Con (photos: Keith Smith)

Wellington, Saturday 2 February 1991

by Ian Bisset

The Wellington Doctor Con got off to a great start with 'The Opening Thingee', it was called 'Thingee' instead of 'Ceremony' because it wasn't very ceremonious due to the capacity crowd of twenty people (half of whom had started watching videos). David Lawrence opened the con and with my help also got the charades going, but unfortunately they never really left the ground, the attendees who weren't watching videos were divided into two and a bit teams (the bit team consisted of David and myself). The people, monsters, Doctors and other miscellaneous topics ranged far and wide as the teams raced against the clock to guess them (and it wasn't easy doing a stuntman) but eventually team two won the day.

The debate followed with two instead of three speakers per team, the topic was 'Was The Colin Baker Era Any Good?' and got off to a great start with my brilliant opening speech for the affirmative which I must say kept the audience (all of six people) hanging on every word. The debate progressed only interrupted by the outbursts of a member of the negative team, but due to the fact that the adjudicator was biased towards the affirmative a vote was taken and the vote was a draw.

Next was the preliminary round of the quiz in which all eight contestants qualified for the final, then the photo session with a Dalek which included three Doctors - the Second (me), the Sixth (Jacob O'Riley), and the Seventh (David Lawrence). After a break for lunch came the video-making session, unofficially titled Revelation of the Dalek (because we only had one Dalek). I played the Second Doctor opposite David Lawrence's Jamie McCrimmon. After a lot of running around, costume changes and leaping over lively corpses, we came to the end, which included the Doctor regenerating into a woman.

The next item on the programme was the quiz final, in which a long battle between eight contestants was fought in which Iain Stewart emerged the victor. Unfortunately the con was drawing to a close with the viewing of the Revelation of the Dalek video, the presentation of the awards for the day, and of course, the 'Closing Thingee', which I think had a slightly higher attendance than the 'Opening Thingee'. Following this, we rebuilt Evans Bay Intermediate, which was our venue for the con, and paper plates were handed round for signing, then everyone departed happy, if not somewhat weary.

In conclusion a great day was had by all, including the person who occupied the Dalek for most of the day.

by David Lawrence

The Wellington Doctor Con didn't run quite to plan, with the video and TV not turning up until 20 minutes after the video should have started, and the person who was meant to be supplying the tapes didn't turn up at all, so we had to settle for the tapes I had on me - a selection of Troughton episodes and bad quality black and white stuff.

The 'Opening Thingee' was followed by charades, which contained some weird mimics - Channing, Adric, Mel, a Yeti in three words ("Great Hairy Beastie"), Alpha Centauri, Jon Preddle, a Nimon and Terry Walsh. Top marks must go to Blair Rhodes for his "Na, Davros was a poof!" during his Alpha Centauri charade.

Following the charades was a debate - 'In Favour of Colin Baker' - which didn't last long before turning into a full scale argument. The end result was a draw, meaning that at the end the certificate had to be torn in half, with each side getting one half, and then split up between team members!

The Quiz auditions also gave some bizarre results. When asked whose spacecraft the LIZ 79 was, four people wrote "Liz's". When asked which two storybook characters Ace has been compared with, answers included Ratkin, Noddy, Big Ears, Basil Brush and Snow White. The most literal answer was Simon Quirke's response to "What is the Misos Triangle?" - "The triangle of Misos"!

"Stump The Superfan" resulted in me being asked about my favourite trivia subject - The Trial of a Time Lord, for which I used Jon Preddle's theories. Lunch took place at the same time, and I took this chance to buy one of the last remaining pairs of Cyberman earrings from the non-existent sales table! Now I'll just have to get my ears pierced.

An impromptu story-telling game ensued as we waited for Keith Harrison and Iain Stewart to return from dubbing the tape of the morning's events with the video camera, during which we told stories about Ace going to the park and indulging in some disgusting activities! We were running 15 minutes late when the camera returned, and Ian Bisset and I ended up playing the Doctor and Jamie in the best impromptu video I've ever seen! This overran by a long time, and was followed by the quiz, which didn't go to plan either.

For a start, we had too few people to make it a team quiz - only eight people! The contestants were Simon Quirke, Jessica Smiler, Haydon Brunning, Blair Rhodes, Jamas Enright, Graham Howard, Matthew Eglinton, and Iain Stewart, who won with a 123 point margin over his nearest rival!

A number of stupid awards were handed out at the Closing Thingee, and then anyone who was still around got to help clean up. The con ended with everyone signing all the left over polystyrene plates for each other - I am proud to have a plate stuck to my wall signed by various attendees!

This item appeared in TSV 21 (February 1991).