Well! After spending the better part of two days doing things other than attend the convention I traveled to LA for in the first place, it was time to get down to business. And by “business” I mean spending a few days getting geeky about my favorite TV show, Doctor Who. Panels! Photographs! Autographs! Etc.! Conventions are always a ton of fun and this one especially so because it’s the biggest and longest-running. It was also the last convention I went to before the world stopped, courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic (hell, it was the last time I traveled at all until this past Labor Day weekend). And because that meant the convention couldn’t happen in 2021, I was more excited for this year’s iteration than I’d ever been before. And, as always, it didn’t disappoint!
As you’ve likely read in previous posts about Gally (the nickname most of us attendees use for Gallifrey One), there’s always something going on throughout the long weekend. There are all sorts of panels about Doctor Who, not to mention other TV shows and movies (Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel, etc.), plus other topics, like science (there’s always some NASA content), comics, and more. You can really spend every hour from about 9 AM – 6 PM, plus more time each evening, in panels. And I’m sure some people do that! There are also autograph sessions, a dealers room full of goodies, a photo studio where you can capture a moment with the guests, and much more. Even with this year’s event being smaller than the last several years’, there were still plenty of people there (~2,200) and lots to see and do. Oh, and there were guests, too! Gally always has a ton of great Doctor Who guests and this year was no exception, even if there weren’t quite as many as normal. While the 2020 convention was very much tailored to my tastes (there were several guests there from my favorite era of the show), this year’s had a great variety of folks from both the classic and modern eras of Doctor Who, including Mandip Gill (companion to the current 13th Doctor – she’d never even been to a convention before!), Jo Martin (a previously-unknown incarnation of the Doctor), Sacha Dhawan (a new incarnation of the Doctor’s best enemy, the Master), Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor), and plenty of others. Knowing how many people aren’t ready to travel yet, especially considering the distance from the UK to LA, it’s amazing that so many great guests were there!
As always, I didn’t actually see much of the convention proper as I continued working in my traditional role of guest liaison. While on paper it doesn’t sound that exciting (I make sure the guests I’m working with get to all their events on time, run defense if they’re cornered by excited fans, make sure they have what they need at any given time, etc.), I love volunteering to do this as much now as I did when I started doing it about a dozen years ago. While that does mean I don’t usually get to go to many (if any) full panel discussions/events throughout the weekend, it does allow me to pop my head into several to hear bits and pieces of them. And sometimes if I’m interested in the panel/event I’m taking my guest(s) to, I’ll stay for the whole thing. That works out in my favor sometimes as there are some separately-ticketed meet-and-greet events (say, one guest with maybe 20-25 attendees in a room) that I get to go to for free. The same is true of photographs – since I’m on the convention staff, I can get photos with my guests (and other guests!) without needing to wait in line. Those benefits certainly aren’t the reason I volunteer, but it’s nice to get those “extras” in exchange for giving up a chunk of my convention experience. And the guests I got to work with this year were all excellent:
- Anjli Mohindra – she was in four seasons of the Doctor Who spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures (and has actually been in an episode of Doctor Who proper, too). I’ve worked with her twice before and she’s remembered me each time. Very sweet!
- Sacha Dhawan – as mentioned above, he plays the most recent incarnation of the Doctor’s primary villain, the Master. He was also one of the stars of An Adventure in Space and Time, the movie about the origins of Doctor Who that came out for the show’s 50th anniversary in 2013.
- Jo Martin – also mentioned above, she has played an unknown incarnation of the Doctor in a few episodes over the past couple of seasons of the show.
If that sounds like a lot of schedules to try and coordinate, it kind of was! But it worked out perfectly because Anjli was only there on Friday, Sacha was only there on Friday and Saturday, and I only worked with Jo on Sunday. It was a pleasure to get to know them over the weekend and hopefully I’ll get to cross paths with them in the future!
As always with conventions, the experience is best told through photos, so enjoy them below.
A couple of photos of Steven from Radio Free Skaro interviewing two guests during the first panel of the convention.
All three of the guests I worked with on stage for a panel with executive producer Matt Strevens. Plus a peek at what I could see from backstage.
There was a full house in the audience for the panel! Plus, a few of the amazing tech crew running the show in the main hall. Also, note all the masks – they were mandatory!
Jo started Sunday morning with her own meet-and-greet. I really love how she looks in the second photo as she listens to a comment from an attendee. And the last photo is so fun because the three attendees are cosplaying as Jo’s Doctor.
From a photo shoot to the main stage! A collection of photos of Jo doing an interview with Kim and Sage from Head Over Feels. And once again, a very full (masked) audience!
I didn’t stay for the entire closing ceremony (it always gets a little too crowded for me), but I did stay long enough to get photos of the two Doctors as they said their goodbyes.
Well, I think that’s about it! It was another amazing weekend of fun, friends, and geekery, plus some great weather to boot. I always have so much fun at Gally and it felt extra special to come back together for the first time since 2020. While many friends couldn’t be there for very good reasons (some from the US and several from the UK), I know we all appreciated seeing the ones who could. And even though there’s no way to know what will happen in the world over the next year, I feel strongly that 2023 will be the year when we get the whole family back together again. Here’s to the next Gallifrey One!