Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Gallifrey One Postgame Show - Part 3: You're...A Fan

Do you know how long I searched for a gif or a video clip of just the Fifth Doctor saying to the Tenth Doctor "You're... a fan!" from "Time Crash?" Apparently, people like the Master's Beard joke more (nothing wrong with that - but when I'm trying to find something else... *sigh* Oh well).

One of the big draws about Gallifrey One is meeting the stars of "Doctor Who."  Before I even got on the plane for Los Angeles, I was a bit nervous about how I was going to comport myself in front of these famous people, who I admire so much.  I certainly wanted to meet them, but I didn't want to get tongue-tied and make a complete ass of myself.  I'd heard plenty of stories from fans at Gally who just struck up semi-normal conversations with these actors and even kept in contact with them afterward.  Then there's me thinking "Pfft - right! I could never do that!"

I made it to LobbyCon and was definitely feeling starstruck when I spied Frazer Hines and Nicholas Briggs across the way that first night.  But I had the good fortune to fall in with some new Gally friends - Sara and Sarah from Texas (I need to find them on Facebook or Twitter or something) - and they coaxed me into asking Nicholas Briggs for a photograph, which he was only too happy to do!

I posted this on my first Gally recap - but I'm posting it again. It's that cool!
Oh, and of course, my infamous antics (at least, I felt like they were antics. Anyone watching probably wouldn't have noticed) trying to corner Frazer Hines for a photograph.  Getting Frazer's autograph was easy, even though was babbled like a nutty fangirl the entire time (Glenn can attest to this - that's why he got pictures of it. Actually, I'm glad he did).  There were so many times I'd see Frazer in the hall and try to talk to him, but he always had somebody else cornering him (I got to talk to Deborah Watling after the interview she did with Frazer on Sunday because of this, though. And I regret not getting her autograph too. She is like the sweetest, sweetest version of your grandmother, but with a hint of mischief in her eye.  So wonderful). Finally - FINALLY - on the last night, Mel pretty much dared me to go out there and ask Frazer for a picture.  And I'm damn glad she did because I would never have had the guts to do it without someone playing wingman - and Mel was a fantastic wingman (wing-lady).

Look how insanely giddy I am! I had to run back into the hotel before
I squee'd so much that I embarrassed myself. I mean, more than I already had

Here's a roundup of the autographs and pictures I got with the various guests -

The Dalek's a celebrity, right?

with Dan Starkey (Strax) before he even got his coffee.

Mel, Shaun and I found Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra) - Love her!

Ian McNiece (Winston Churchill)

Also - Autographs!

Mark Strickson (Turlough) - This was a special treat for me because, well, Turlough's awesome!

I was so excited to get Frazer Hines' autograph that I had to run up to the lobby and tweet about it.
I had not initially planned to get Peter Purves' autograph, but as the con went on, I realized that I really needed to meet Steven - he was one of my favorites from the First Doctor's era.

Freema Agyeman - she was such a treat to talk to.
Sylvester McCoy - love this guy.
(These are all going up on my wall as soon as I can find decent picture frames)

It's funny, but every time I met Doctor Who actors at Gally, the only thing I could think of to say is that I loved their work on the show.  Which was very much true!  Jamie is one of my very favorite companions of the Classic series, as is Turlough (I maintain that if Tegan had left earlier on in the Fifth Doctor's run, the Doctor and Turlough would have made an awesome team on their own).  Steven Taylor is another gem of Classic Who and I love Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones (as well as in some of the other things she's been in).  The point is that I wish I could have thought of something much more profound to say than simply "I love your work!"  But I quickly found out that often, that was the best thing you could say to these actors. 

This really hit me on Saturday night during the Classic Companion Panel (plus the Valeyard, but he's loveable anyway).  The first of two Freema Agyeman interviews was scheduled for that night in the main ballroom and they were encouraging people to pick one or the other so everyone had a chance to see Freema.  I had decided to go see Freema on Sunday morning so I could see the Classic Companion Panel (actually, it was called Legends and Lore in the program guide).  Mel kept talking about wanting to see Turlough (Mark Strickson) and Glenn and Shaun couldn't figure that out until Mel and I spelled it out for them.  So, we all went to that on Saturday.  We talked about it on one of our Gally Updates (I think it was Gally Update 3), but I can talk about it here.

The "Legends and Lore" panel - I can't get over how awesome this panel was.
All of the panelists were fantastic.  There were so many great stories from all of them about being on Doctor Who and their work since then - can I remember them all? Of course not! (note to self - bring a notebook next year!)  But the feeling in the room was one of genuine love and admiration, both from the fans and from the actors to the fans.  I think it was Mark Strickson who talked about how amazed he was that so many people would come see a panel of people talking about a show that they did thirty, forty, fifty years ago when they could have gone to see Freema Agyeman (i.e. - someone more modern) downstairs.  The rest of them more or less agreed that they didn't think there would be so many people in the room - and it filled up fairly well.  A running theme throughout the entire panel was that, it might have been an embarrassment at one point to admit you'd been in "Doctor Who," but the fans made it all worth it.

Michael Jayston (who played the Valeyard in "Trial of a Time Lord") said that something that impressed him about "Doctor Who" fans was that we are in love with the stories.

Deborah Watling (who played Victoria Waterfield in the Troughton era) was absolutely lovely.  She told a story about writing her autobiography and how that was one of the hardest things she's done.  She spoke her time on "Doctor Who" with such fondness and love - even when Frazer Hines was teasing her a little bit (you could tell that those two are the best of best friends - more on that in a bit).  Speaking of Frazer - he and Mark Strickson both talked about coming back to do Big Finish and they both gave a little performance as Jamie and Turlough, which made the crowd go nuts.  It was great - at first, they both were acting like they were dragging in the morning and tired and whatever and once it was time to be the character - they both became their characters.  I mean, it's one thing to meet these actors and know who they played back-in-the-day, but to actually hear the characters' voices coming out of their mouths and realizing - "Holy crap, that's Jamie!" or "Holy crap, that's Turlough!" - it was so cool!

But the best part of the entire panel (and I could have listened to all of them go on and on for hours) was at the end when they were wrapping up.  And I talked about this on the podcast, but it still stuns me that this happened and that I was even there to see it - all of us fans stood up as one entity and gave these actors a standing ovation.  It wasn't just one person here, one person there - ALL of us stood and applauded.  And if that wasn't enough, the panelists stood up together as well and gave us, the fans, a standing ovation right back.  Shaun later said that he saw Deborah Watling tear up a bit at the reaction.  Make no mistake - it was a powerful moment.

Something I love about British actors - and I didn't quite realize this until the end of Gally - is how genuinely humble they are.  I don't think this happens with "mainstream" American actors because of this disgustingly ridiculous celebrity culture we have.  The actors I got to talk to at Gally were so gracious and so easy to speak with (once I got over my "ZOMG - IT'S YOU!" fangirl nuttiness).  Even Freema Agyeman, who's been in "Doctor Who" more recently and has other shows she's been in that are running now, was so sweet and gracious and genuinely touched that I loved the things she's done (I saw her in Law and Order: UK and thoroughly enjoyed it. Which, I don't even watch the Law and Order series in America).  None of them seemed like, say, Mark Sheppard (who had a panel Sunday afternoon) who had this air about him of "Yeah, I know I'm amazing and I know you all worship me. Bow down before me, peasants!" (and then all the slobbering fangirls did exactly that, which earned a massive eye roll from me).  Even when they were onstage - they were just there to entertain their fans and share in the love and joy of this little show that didn't seem like much at the time, but has expanded to include everyone who falls in love with it.

You know, people give me grief over my interest - nay, obsession - with science fiction and fantasy, particularly "Doctor Who" (let's face it - how many people choose to spend a weekend a convention - any kind of fan convention?  With the possible exception of San Diego ComicCon, which has been taken over by the industry as a glorified advertising campaign and the media pretending to respect geekdom for a week and makes my bullshit detector goes haywire). But these moments are what make it all worth it.  It's the best kept secret in the world - whether you're a Whovian or whatever makes you SQUEE! - you know what it's like to love and love deeply.  The Not-We (for lack of a better term) may have their socially accepted interests and know how to be calm and cool for the in-laws and the boss and the rest of the world, but very few of them will ever get to experience a love for something that only they get.

(Did I just piss some people off with that line? Good. After all the crap I've taken from some of you, I feel justified).

And that seems like a good place to leave this recap for now.  I think all I have left to talk about is the Dealer's Room and my sentimental-type reaction to the convention as a whole.  Bring tissues.

No comments:

Post a Comment