Gallifrey One is one of those cons that keeps you coming back. There’s a reason the ticket-buying process is a lot like The Hunger Games: the convention is consistently good, the staff are amazing and the experience is probably the best of any convention that any of us attendees have ever been to.
Obviously, I was crazy to miss out on last year’s Gallifrey One (or as we call it, Gally), but I did go to the UK instead, so I guess it’s all good. But returning this year was like going home, but this time, home felt even more inclusionary, diverse and wonderful. And that was the theme of this year’s convention: everyone has a voice, no matter what gender (or non-gender), no matter what sexual orientation, no matter what race or preference of Doctor. And I would have to say that this feeling of inclusion made this year’s Gally feel even more important than any other con I have ever attended.
I have so many wonderful memories from this con, so instead of a long blog post that would go on forever, I’m going to just give the highlights.
The Gallifrey One ribbon game has grown in the past two years. In fact, it’s completely out of control now. For those who don’t know what the ribbon game is, here are the basics: people have ribbons made with clip art from Doctor Who that include quotes, in-jokes, etc. and then hand them out to other people. It becomes this huge trading game with millions of ribbons floating around the con. It’s really hard to explain for someone who has never experienced it, but it is a con experience in and of itself.
So this year, I had a ton of ribbons before the con even officially started. By the end of the con, I ended up with 170, which is a new record for me.
Doctor Puppet, Steven Moffat and Gallifrey After Dark
Friday’s cosplay went over really well, in spite of me wondering if people would get it. In honor of David Bradley, who was attending the con, I dressed up as Verity Lambert as portrayed by Jessica Raine in An Adventure in Space and Time. I posed for so many photos. I also did a panel on sequels and when someone asked me what my cosplay was, I told them. And I got a round of applause. Without Verity, there would be no Doctor Who, so cosplaying her the year we finally get a woman Doctor felt appropriate.
I was super excited to meet the Doctor Puppet (with her new 13th Doctor puppet!) at the con this year. Her panel was really interesting, as she described how she created each puppet and showed a few of the Doctor Puppet videos.
Speaking of the 13th Doctor, there was so much love for her at the convention. Nearly every fan I talked to was excited about this change in gender, which led to discussions of inclusion, diversity and intersectionality in the Doctor Who world and its fandom. There were 13th Doctor cosplayers everywhere, including that one little girl who broke the Internet with her awesomeness.
If you ever needed a reason to justify why we needed a female Doctor, there it is.
I spent part of Friday standing in line for the David Bradley photo opp and autograph session. Interestingly enough, he remembered where I was from when I saw him again (because he asked when we first met). So I made an impression on William Hartnell 2.0, aka Filch, aka that really awful man in Game of Thrones. He was absolutely lovely, by the way, and his panel was fantastic.
And then it was time to just go hang at the bar and wait for the evening’s festivities. Except that Steven Moffat was also hanging at the bar, just talking to people. And somehow, alcohol gave me the courage to tell him that Doctor Who inspired me to become a writer and I actually got to thank him for that. It’s not every day you get to say thank you to your heroes, but I’m still reeling that I got that opportunity. We also chatted about the importance of River Song (and how Alex Kingston inspired the protagonist in my Alex Grosjean books).
But the real fun had only just begun. After dark is when things get a little more adult. I attended a session of the Doctor Who RPG that went completely off the rails that was definitely not for kids. Much kudos to the hilarious team that put that together and gave me nightmares about the First Doctor and Captain Jack Harkness. I laughed so much and can’t wait to see scenario they play next year.
Then it was time for Idiot’s Lantern, which is basically a sketch comedy show all revolving around Doctor Who. I have quite a few friends who are a part of that show, and I can honestly say that I think this year’s was probably one of the best. There should be some YouTube videos of some of their skits going up soon, so if you weren’t there, definitely look for them. Trust me: you will laugh and laugh.
Matt Freaking Lucas
I’m still in shock that Matt Lucas was a guest this year, as he doesn’t really do a lot of cons. But I ended up spending a lot of Saturday standing in line for him and it was worth every single minute. I not only got a photo with him, but when I was standing in line with a few friends to get his autograph, he asked us if he could take a photo of us.
Matt Lucas wanted our photo! How cool is that?
His panel was also absolutely hysterical, although it seems that when he’s not “on,” he might be a little shy, a little introverted, which makes me adore him even more.
We also sat through the Star Trek Continues panel. I’ll admit that I haven’t seen any of that fan project, but after watching the panel, I intend on checking it out.
We ended the evening watching Fraser Hines’ show, “A Time Traveling Scot.” He basically shows some funny things from his time on Doctor Who (including some bloopers) and tells some funny stories and anecdotes about being a companion on the series.
#MeToo At Gallifrey One
Sunday was perhaps the most important day of the convention. There was cosplay, of course (I was a Femme Steampunk 7th Doctor), but there was something far more important happening. The “Gallifrey Waits No More” panel featured a series of women from the world of Who discussing what it’s like being a woman in the entertainment industry.
I’m still processing that panel, because it became something far more than originally intended: every single woman on the stage (and there were many) had a story to tell about sexual harassment, sexism and utter b.s. that they have had to put up with throughout their lives. At times, the panel was shocking. It was also heartbreaking. It was maddening. It was important. Some of these stories have never been told before (and I’m tearing up again just thinking about it).
Instead of recapping it myself, I’ll let Whovian Feminism sum it up for you, as they did a fantastic job of covering the panel. Please read this post.
That wrapped up the final programming for the convention, and summed up a weekend that was all about inclusion, diversity and intersectionality. This was probably the most important Gallifrey One that has ever been and I am so grateful that I was a part of it.
Okay, I’m not quite as good at taking photos at cons as Natasha is, but here’s what I’ve got. Enjoy! And fellow Gally attendees, I’ll see you next year!