Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hooray for Who-Ray!

Having been alerted by our good friend Dalek Bruce, on Saturday 2nd July we trundled down to Stockton for Re-Generations, Who-Ray’s first birthday party, with guests Graeme Harper and the Northern Charity Daleks.

Who-Ray describes itself as a gifts and memorabilia shop, but what it actually is is a little treasure. Nestled on a side street just off Stockton High Street (widest in Europe, you know), it caters to both the hippy chick (incense, candles, crafts and jewellery) and the geek (comics, toys, badges and books, mostly but not exclusively Doctor Who). Run by Brian and Martin, it’s a friendly place that found itself that Saturday very much the centre of attention. It felt like the whole of Stockton had turned out to celebrate in the sunshine and apparently by day’s end, approximately 1500 people had indeed done so.

The staff and volunteers were a little overwhelmed by the turn-out (having only been expecting a hundred or so), but coped superbly wrangling Daleks and members of the public backwards and forwards between the main shop and some borrowed vacant units over the road. First off was a fan-film, which was pretty entertaining from what I could hear (being short and at the back, I couldn’t see the telly). Then Graeme Harper was introduced, only to be rudely interrupted by the Daleks making their presence felt by bursting through a screen of wall-paper, to the great surprise of those assembled.

Not only was Dalek Bruce there, but also Dalek Mack and a new addition to the clan, Dalek Nation (who was only 3 days old, bless him). The children were all very keen to have their photos taken with the Daleks, although some were a little spooked when they started talking. Being Northern Charity Daleks, the proceeds from the photo-shoots went to Butterwick House Children’s Hospice. As the day wore on and the temperature rose, the Kaled mutants were starting to melt a bit, but they were steadfast in their fundraising activities. The Prof even bought a Dalek Bruce mug. Which has 60 rells on it. Needless to say, he couldn’t stop laughing…

Graeme Harper was there not only to promote his book, Calling the Shots, but also to be interviewed by BBC Tees’ DJ Bob Fischer, an ardent Doctor Who fan we first met at Dimensions last year. This “Audience With” session was highly entertaining; mind you, we knew it would be as we’d gone to see him, Nicola Bryant and Maurice Roëves at a showing of Caves of Androzani at the Quad in Derby for Oolon’s birthday last year. Mr Harper is a very friendly, considerate and generous man who can spin quite the tale and who kindly allowed himself to be dragged into an alley for an interview (coming soon, as they say, along with Bob’s interview). His experiences on Doctor Who were fascinating to listen to, seeing as he practically grew up, career-wise, on the show and so knew many of the Doctors and assistants even if he didn’t actually direct them. He also holds the distinction of being the only original series director to have directed Nu-Who.

The highlight of the day had to be the Baa-leks, though; knitted Daleks from Nana Val, being raffled to raise more money for Butterwick House. I had my heart set on Baa-lek Doreen, the shocking pink hussy, but the Prof did manage to win Baa-lek Custard for me (as some lucky blighter managed to get to Doreen before him). He even came with an adoption certificate, signed by Nana Val and Mr Harper. He’s a bit soppy for a Dalek; we have to give him cuddles every night (it says so on the certificate and we can’t argue with Graeme Harper).

So if you are in the vicinity of Stockton, please do pop in to visit Brian and Martin. If you’re there on Saturday 3rd September, there’s going to be a showing of the Cushing movies (yes, Martin says they’re not canon, either) along with a guest appearance by Terry Molloy, the artist formerly known as Davros

You can also follow Who-Ray on Facebook here


Anonymous July 25, 2011 at 11:20 PM  

We would just like to say thank you for your wonderful feedback on our birthday event Re:Generations and we wish you could make it for DALEKMAINA. We will be thinking of you both and will send/facebook you lots of photos.

Happy times Martin & Brian xx

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