Goin’ to Gally 2020 – A (Long) Weekend of Doctor Who Fun

Now that I’m at the airport, ready to fly home from Gallifrey One, having written not one, but two, posts about the non-convention stuff I did on this trip, how about we get down to brass tacks and talk about how I geeked out over the last few days? Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin. 🙂

As I’ve posted about before, Gallifrey One (or Gally, as we all call it) is my favorite Doctor Who convention and I always have an excellent time. There are panels, autograph and photograph sessions, karaoke evenings, and lots more, all happening in one hotel over the span of 3+ days (the convention proper runs Fri-Sun, but some activities start on Thursday evening). This one in particular is extra amazing because they get SO many outstanding guests. While I enjoy all the conventions I go to, Gally is special because they get people like Christopher Eccleston, who made his first US Doctor Who convention appearance this weekend. While that may not sound surprising (he’s a Doctor Who actor at a Doctor Who convention, after all), Mr. Eccleston has always shirked conventions and even discussing his time as the Ninth Doctor (the first actor to pick up the mantle when the show came back on the air in 2005), but he has become more open to it in the last year or so. He’s been to a few larger, more commercial conventions so far, but to have him at a dedicated Doctor Who convention, where 3500+ Doctor Who fans can see him, was outstanding. Of course, he was just one of many guests at the convention, but his appearance was particularly special. Personally, I was very excited for him, but also for the guests there from “my” era of the show, including Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, and Mark Strickson, who were all part of the Fifth Doctor’s time on the show. That has always been my favorite era and it’s not often all of them are together at the same convention, so again, that was an extra special touch (you can see my photo with them in the featured photo at the top of this post).

Now, having said all that, how many convention activities, panels, etc. did I actually attend? Almost none. 🙂 I’ve been going to conventions for 20 years and I’ve seen lots of panels and Doctor Who celebrities in that time, but since I work at this convention (and Chicago TARDIS every November), I’m often busy doing that rather than actually attending panels. As I’ve written about before, I volunteer as a guest liaison, which means I work with guests to make sure they get to their panels and events safely and on time, help them manage their schedule, etc. I always have a lot of fun doing it and getting to know different guests, but this year was a little different as I wasn’t working with just one or two guests, but rather with a large collection of guests whose appearances were sponsored by one of Gally’s partners, Showmasters. Their convention experiences are different because they spend a lot of time signing autographs with Showmasters staff, so the three of us that worked with them had to do a lot of picking up and dropping off, but not really any sitting to help with autographs or photo sessions. It’s more hectic to do that (since there were about a dozen of these guests), but we set up a schedule for each day, based on where each guest had to be and when, and divvied out duties amongst the three of us. Everything ran smoothly, the guests had a good time, and the attendees were happy, which is exactly what we want to happen. Although we were kept busy, one of the nice things about working with so many guests is that I got to see bits and pieces of many panels, but I didn’t sit down to watch anything in full. So I definitely still got a nice flavor of all the great programming!

In addition to really enjoying the work I do at conventions, the other big reason I attend is to see my friends. With us living all over the world, it’s amazing to get the chance to hang out when all of us come to the same place at the same time. So when we aren’t trying to attend some convention activities (which we all do to some extent!), we’re chatting in one of our rooms, enjoying a beverage in the lobby, or eating a nice (well, decent, at least) meal, usually in one of the hotel restaurants. Yes, it’s a weekend about celebrating Doctor Who, but at the end of the day, this convention (and the others I attend) are really about friends and fun.

Those are a lot of words to basically say, what a great convention! Let’s look at the visual evidence now, shall we?


With Felicity on my balcony on Thursday evening.


The boys from Radio Free Skaro at this year’s kick-off show, These Go To Eleven. They interviewed 11 guests, one of them being our mutual friend Gary Russell.


My friend Ken interviewing Geoffrey Beevers, who played The Master and is one of the guests I worked with this year.


With Felicity on Friday night.


Hanging out in the lobby!


My friend Chris singing karaoke on Friday night.


Revisiting everyone’s favorite spinoff, The Sarah Jane Adventures. Anjli Mohindra (second from left) is another guest I worked with at this convention.


Sage and Kim of Head Over Feels playing their now-standard game of This or That with guests Tosin Cole, Michelle Ryan, and Pearl Mackie.


A glimpse at the crowd of attendees in the main programming room.


Grabbing a photo with the Kerblam! Man in the dealers room.


My friend Ken again, this time interviewing Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison. My favorite Doctor!


A backstage view of Steven interviewing Christopher Eccleston.


If you thought the main programming room looked full in the photo above, check out the even bigger crowd for Eccleston’s interview!


Enjoying breakfast at Denny’s with Jeff (and Matt and Felicity, not pictured).


The massive crowd of people we ran into after breakfast. They were all leaving the main programming room after Christopher’s Sunday morning interview.


Looking at some animatics for the upcoming animated release of the otherwise-missing story Fury from the Deep.


My friend Gary, who is directing Fury from the Deep, from his position at the computer to show off the animatics and clips.


Gary again, this time on stage with Russell Minton and Pete McTighe, talking about the very excellent Doctor Who Blu-ray releases.


After talking about the Blu-rays, we were treated to a presentation of a fan-colorized version of a black-and-white episode of Doctor Who. This is the second episode of the 12-part serial The Daleks’ Master Plan.


Another shot of the colorized episode.


Unless I’m working with a guest who smokes, I always forget to step outside to check out the nice patio space. Great for photos, taking in some fresh air, and grabbing a quick meal from one of the food trucks that were parked outside throughout the weekend.


Stopping into one final panel featuring loads of stars and guests of Doctor Who.

In addition to the photos I took myself (plus the few above that came from Felicity), I also availed myself of the convention’s photo studio so I could get professional photos with some of the guests. Big kudos to the photographers at GilesG Photography for making these digital copies available so quickly, just a few days after the convention!


I hadn’t met Geoffrey Beevers before this convention, but he was a great guy!


Although I had a photo taken with Pearl at Chicago TARDIS 2018, I got another one with this cool TARDIS console room green screen.


Since I had never met Christopher before, I HAD to get a photo with him! And the green screen of the TARDIS console room from his era.


Michelle Ryan, who played one-off companion Lady Christina de Souza in 2009, is another guest I had never met before. She loved my shirt! 🙂


I met Anjli the one other time she came to Gally, but I don’t think I got a photo with her then.


I was really excited for this one! I’ve met all these guests before, but never had a group photo with them. Now I have one! 🙂

And that was my weekend at Gallifrey One 2020! Even though this was my 19th consecutive time coming, I love it just as much every year and always come home feeling happy about the friends I got to see and the dedicated geek time. And I’m already counting down to 2021! Less than a year away. 😀

I’m not quite done yet! Stay tuned for one more quick post about how I spent my Monday after the convention. Coming soon!

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About thejeffelston

Based in St. Paul, MN and love to blog about travel. Comment, follow, and join me on my journey!