Two Sundays ago, the British contingent decided it was high time that Sputters got his feet wet, at least as far as Dr Who conventions were concerned. Mind you, me and the Prof had only just been to our first one at Temple Park in June and I suspect that our gleeful frothing was what finally convinced his Time Lordship to go for it.
So myself, the Prof, Sputters and his good wife Emilly Ladybird trundled off to the Midland Railway Centre for Whooverville 2, organised by those smashing chappies, the Whoovers. We were met at the station by Dalek Derek, a fine specimen that Emilly was utterly entranced by. Now Em isn't a giant Who geek, but she does love a good Dalek and flirted outrageously with every Kaled mutant she could find (even the Special Weapons Dalek Storm, who otherwise was having a bit of a bad day, by all accounts).
Having been transported from the station to the railway shed (sorry, convention centre) by a steam train, we settled in for a day of talks, spending and trying to get celebrities to say "Dirty Whoers". We knew that Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Deborah Watling (Victoria) and Michael Cochrane (way too much stuff) would be there, along with the bloke that did the design work on "Amy's Choice" and some vampire babes, but the great surprise was that John Leeson (K9) was there as well. The lovely artist Steve Caldwell was also there (and we bought a few more of his prints for good measure).
Sputters had carefully retrieved his 1973 & 1974 Dr Who annuals from their place of safety so that Miss Manning could sign them, and he and the Prof promptly caused chaos in the signing queue as both Miss Manning and Miss Aldred flicked through them, pointing out all the completed quizzes and dodgy artwork. Signatures and promises of interviews acquired, the boys joined myself and Em in a slice of coffee and walnut cake.
And so the pattern was set for the day: talks, signatures, waylaying hapless Dr Who assistants and sloping off for the occasional cuppa. Sputters also managed to blag his way on to the podcasting seminar and it was good to be able to put faces to voices (especially the rather dapper Tom from the Dr Who Podcast). Sadly James Naughton from Podshock couldn't be there, because he is a knight in shining armour and there was a fair damsel who needed rescuing, but we made sure we got a recording of Tom's voice for Terry, because its just as silky smooth and I'm sure it will make her go all giggly.
All of the people we interviewed were wonderfully generous and very gentle with us convention amateurs. Sophie Aldred's eldest son was a pleasure to talk to, even if he doesn't like peanut butter cookies, and I could have listened all afternoon to Mr Leeson's talk on which were the best red and white wines for a tenner. Katy Manning was very funny (Sputnik was in puppy heaven every time he went near her) and Deborah Watling has a twinklingly evil sense of humour. In short, the guests here confirmed what me and the Prof had found at South Shields: the Dr Who family is fab.
Fingers crossed, next stop - Dimensions on Tyne!
Check out the podcast, with interviews, below.