Anglicon 2016 marked the second annual revival of Washington state’s beloved British Media convention. Last year had been their first comeback from a hiatus that was more than a decade long, and just like last year they aimed to please with some truly great special guests. From Doctor Who they had guests Dan Starkey, aka everyone’s favorite homicidal potato, Strax, and Annette Badland, who played Margaret Blaine. Also in the Whovian lineup was Terry Molloy, who played Davros, creator of the Daleks, in the 1980s. Lastly, they had Norman Lovett, from Red Dwarf, who played the much-loved senile artificial intelligence, Holly.
Unfortunately for me, Anglicon took place the same weekend as International Sailor Moon Day this year. Since I couldn’t miss an event I was coordinating that left me missing out on both Friday and Saturday of Anglicon. Thankfully, my Sunday was free and I was able to attend with my good friend Erin.
We arrived at Anglicon around 11:30 and immediately stopped by the café in the lobby to get some lunch before catching the last of Norman Lovett’s panel. Since we were coming in late and didn’t want to disturb anyone, we opted to sit at a table in the very back of the room. By the time we got to Lovett’s panel, he was answering the last few questions from the audience. We did, however, get to enjoy learning a bit about his time on Red Dwarf and what it was like to play Holly, the sarcastic and senile artificial intelligence of the Red Dwarf ship.
We knew that Dan Starkey’s spotlight panel was next and didn’t want to miss it. So, after Lovett’s panel ended, we stuck around and headed to the front to get better seats. Dan Starkey’s panel was so delightful! He came out so animated and didn’t lose any of his excitement the whole panel. You can tell from all his stories and the way he speaks about being on Doctor Who that he genuinely loves being on the show. He kept slipping into his Strax voice and delivering some of the character’s most well-known lines, which was a special treat for us all. We also got to hear about the vigorous process that is getting him into the Strax wardrobe and makeup every time he’s on set. It takes just over three hours to get into the makeup for Strax. He jokingly said that he sometimes dozes off in the makeup chair as himself and wakes up to Strax’s face staring back at him in the mirror. He also noted that the makeup crew does an excellent job of taking care of him when he’s wearing all those prosthetics. It can be a hard job but a reliable crew make it easier and safer for all involved. Despite the overheating conditions and mobility issues that the costume brings, he truly loves playing Strax. It was such a treat to hear from the man that portrays our favorite potato head.
After the panel, Erin and I headed to the autograph room so she could get Dan Starkey’s autograph and a photo op. It wasn’t busy in the autograph room and we had a chance to talk with him and some of the staff for a while. It was much like his panel: he was just as enigmatic and excited to tell stories about his times on set.
In that same room was Project Dalek’s booth. We all gathered around it and talked with them about the process of building Daleks. They had parts scattered all over their tables for people to look at and touch to really get a feel of what goes into making a Dalek. They also had a really adorable cat similar to K-9 that was called Fe-9. If I remember correctly, I believe the man in charge said he made it for his daughter.
With autographs and photo ops acquired we decided to finally go visit the vendor’s hall. The hall was small but had some really great booths. There was some pretty fantastic Doctor Who merch, including knitted Fourth Doctor scarves and T.A.R.D.I.S. beanies. I ended up getting myself a very pretty Team Valor (from Pokémon Go) cameo pendant from Stick Dragon Products. Erin and I also stopped by Miss Haley Bombshell Boutique to visit with Haley and the rest of the gang. It’s always a pleasure to see the corset crew. Erin even ended up getting herself a new black corset.
By the time we were done in the vendor’s hall, Anglicon was winding down. We stopped by the game room to take a peek but they were already packing up when we arrived. The hospitality room was just next to that so we grabbed a few free snacks and some British soda before spending the last of con in the main lobby by the selfie backdrops to get some photos of any remaining cosplayers.
It was a very laid back Sunday at con that I greatly enjoyed after a hectic weekend. I’m bummed I couldn’t attend all 3 days like I had the year before, but luckily next Anglicon is going to be taking place in December and shouldn’t conflict with any other events that I know of. The time I was able to spend at Anglicon was just as great as the year prior. I really enjoy the intimate feeling that Anglicon brings to its attendees. You leave there feeling like you’ve befriended not only all of the fellow attendees and staff, but the guests as well. Everyone is there for their love of fandom, and you can tell. I think Anglicon has been doing a fantastic job since its revival and that it’ll continue to get even better. In fact, they’ve already announced their first guest for 2017, the fifth Doctor himself, Peter Davison! They’re already headed in a wonderful direction and I can’t wait to cover the next one and many more after that.
*All photos in this article were taken and provided by Fearless Photoworks.*