10 Things We Learned at the 2nd Annual (Re)Generation Who Convention

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10 Things We Learned at the 2nd Annual (Re)Generation Who Convention

Last year, Doctor Who convention newbie (Re)Generation Who rocked Maryland with appearances by Doctor Who actors from both eras, exciting programming, and a welcoming environment for fans of all ages. Con founders Oni Hartstein and James Harknell had set a standard for creating a small convention that packed a powerful and fun punch, but would they be able to make (Re)Generation Who 2 equally as awesome?

The answer is a resounding yes! This year’s event, which took place from March 18-20, brought back a few familiar faces from the first convention (Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred and Terry Molloy) and gave fans a chance to meet a few more Classic Who favorites. Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor) charmed his way into fans’ hearts with his infectious wit,while Anneke Wills (Polly, companion to the first two Doctors) delighted fans with her youthful energy. The Second Doctor’s son Michael Troughton and companions Deborah Watling (Victoria) and Frazer Hines (Jamie) were also in attendance in honor of Patrick Troughton’s life and legacy. These guests were just the beginning of the laughter, love, entertainment and sometimes crazy antics that took place at (Re)Generation Who 2.

Here are a few interesting facts we picked up during our time at the convention.

1. Oni Hartstein Is a Woman of the People

Oni Hartstein and James Harknell
Image Credit: Krystal Lynn Photography

The husband and wife duo behind (Re)Generation Who kicked off the convention with a panel to personally welcome attendees to their convention. During the panel, they answered questions from fans and told them about why they started the Doctor Who-centered con. Oni revealed that she did not get into the convention-running business for the money. Her true desire is to help others discover their greatness and bring joy into the lives of Whovians everywhere. The entire (Re)Generation Who staff, Oni and James included, are all volunteers who worked tirelessly to create a great experience for con-goers. And, she rewards the staff’s hard work by helping them gain resume-boosting experience through the convention, so they can advance in their careers. Oni herself saw her career in Marketing rise to VP level from running Intervention, her other geek-based con. According to her, conventions were the place where she found her passion, purpose, and family…even though running a con can be, as she described it, “funoying.”

2. Big Finish is a BIG Deal

Panelists talk about Big Finish audios
Image Credit: Krystal Lynn Photography

Amazon Prime is streaming Doctor Who episodes from the past few seasons, but the show is still in somewhat of a lurch. Season 10 won’t arrive until 2017, the showrunner is leaving, and the role of the next companion has yet to be revealed. But, fans who want to fill their time with new Doctor Who adventures can turn to the infamous Big Finish series, which has been creating audio dramas with original cast members since the late ‘90s. (Re)Generation Who loves to explore the worlds of Doctor Who outside of the TV canon, so they brought in two experts from the production company. Nick Briggs, a producer and voice of the Daleks/Cybermen, ran a special panel called “Intro to Big Finish.” He teamed up with Managing Editor Jason Haigh-Ellery and they combed through the massive catalog to highlight must-hear stories for beginners. “Blood of Daleks,” “Energy of the Daleks,” and “Spare Parts” were just a few of the many stories recommended by the team.

3. The Doctor Dances Gets the Seal of Approval from Classic Doctors

Colin Baker, Peter Davison, and Nick Briggs chat during a panel
Image Credit: Krystal Lynn Photography

The Ninth Doctor may have only been around for one season, but he made a huge impression on his predecessors. A while back, Colin Baker revealed his preference for Nine’s shiny leather action hero duds over his multicolored coat. But, Six also loves two episodes from Christopher Eccleston’s run in the TARDIS! After he saw “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances,” Baker noticed children were running around and imitating the “Are You My Mummy?” line from the episodes. This was how he knew Doctor Who was officially back in business. Colin also loved how Eccleston’s “Everybody Lives!” line was a representation of what makes The Doctor “tick”—his desire to mend situations, while avoiding casualties of war. Later on, Fifth Doctor Peter Davison was asked what episode he would have liked his Doctor to have been in during the modern era and he named the same two episodes. Moments like these helped further solidify the bridge between the classic series and newer seasons.

4. Matt Smith Needs to Marry a Baker Woman

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 6.50.49 PM.png
Image Credit: BBC America

A joint panel with Colin Baker and Peter Davison not only brought out a massive crowd, but it also came with its fair share of sharp humor. Peter Davison joked about his son-in-law, AKA the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), having power on the show due to his popularity with fans. Colin Baker immediately replied and questioned why Tennant’s successor hasn’t married one of his four daughters. Your move Matt Smith…

5. American Fans Imagined Gina Torres as The Doctor

Actress Gina Torres

(Re)Generation Who 2’s panels didn’t just focus on the established worlds of Doctor Who. The cast of Impromptu Who, Ben Taylor from Tau Radio, and James Harknell came together to debate who would have portrayed all the incarnations of The Doctor if the show was an American classic instead of a British icon. While the panelists and audience had a passionate yet friendly discussion on whether Pierce Brosnan should be Captain Jack, and who would have made a great Missy, the decision about the 11th Doctor seemed to be unanimous. Actress Gina Torres, who currently plays the no nonsense lawyer Jessica Pearson on USA’s Suits, was the definitive choice for the Eleventh Doctor.

6. Nicola Bryant goes American in a Snap

When Doctor Who alumni head out to panels, they never know what they are going to encounter. The passionate Whovian fandom often knows more about their characters than they know themselves and they sometimes come up with strange requests. During a panel with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant was asked to answer a fan’s question as Peri, the US companion she portrayed on the series. The seasoned actress made a smooth transition from her British accent to become an all-American lady, and wowed the crowd with her versatility. Check out the video above of Nicola as Peri!

7. Anneke Wills Ate Strawberries with John Lennon

Fans were delighted to discover that Anneke Wills, who portrayed First/Second Doctor companion Polly on the series, was willing to make a rare appearance in the US for a convention. Wills chatted at length with fans about many things, including what it was like to witness the first regeneration. But one of the most interesting stories she told the audience was about the time she went to a party and found John Lennon in a very fancy kitchen eating strawberries. Of course, she joined him like any sane person would, and found out that they had something in common. Check out the above video to hear more about their encounter.

8. Five, Ten, and The Doctor’s Daughter Might Join Forces?

Peter Davison Kicks Back With Whovians
Image Credit: Krystal Lynn Photography

Peter Davison’s incarnation of The Doctor has lived on in Big Finish audios for a few years. So, with the anticipation of David Tennant’s upcoming audio stories and the two Doctors’ hilarious mini-episode “Time Crash,” it was only natural for a fan to ask if Five and Ten would meet again. Peter perked up at the idea and quickly assured fans that he would need to have a few words with Tennant. Later on, another fan asked if his daughter, who played the Tenth Doctor’s daughter in one episode (confused yet?), would also consider reprising her role as Jenny for Big Finish. Davison once again said he would use his powers of persuasion on his famous family, so it will be interesting to see if the trio will all become a part of Big Finish.

9. Davros is Pretty Darn Entertaining

The Davros Variety Hour Performers Pose for a Photo
Image Credit: Krystal Lynn Photography

The voice behind the Dalek’s evil leader, Davros, returned to (Re)Generation Who and decided to put on a show for the fans. Thespian Terry Molloy teamed up with geek bellydance troupe Antipode, musician Cat Smith, geeky comedian Hannah Harkness, and a few creative cosplayers for the Davros Variety Hour. Attendees spent an hour on Saturday night laughing at off-beat humor, listening to the sounds of the ukulele, and watching the Doctor’s enemies dance it out for entertainment’s sake. Nightly events and parties made the entire weekend fun for Regenerators.

10. Ace Changed the Companion Game

Sophie Aldred tackles fan questions
Image Credit: Krystal Lynn Photography

Sophie Aldred was kind enough to sit down with us for a quick morning interview as she prepared for a long day of signing autographs, panels and photo ops. During the chat, Sophie talked about how she snagged the part of Ace, based on her youthful looks and her ability to ride a motor bike. She originally signed on for three episodes, but ended up being a full-fledged companion who was undoubtedly a prototype for the modern Doctor Who companion. Aldred said Ace was a new breed of TARDIS traveler and a role model to many young women. She also saw a lot of Ace in Rose Tyler in terms of their ability to take charge when necessary and origins in the Council Estates. And, she thought Ace’s brazen persona would fit in well with the modern series, especially if she was paired with the Eleventh Doctor! During the Seventh Doctor’s era, Ace’s arrival in the TARDIS was the first time the show really dived into the complexities of a companion. Fans found themselves invested in her backstory and explored social themes through her eyes. She was a fully-fleshed character—a badass rebel, to be honest—who was equal parts incredible and ordinary, just like our favorite Modern Doctor Who women.

(Re)Generation Who 2 brought their A++ game once again. Both fans who were new to the con world and seasoned con-goers who favored a more intimate experience enjoyed a long weekend of celebrating one of their favorite TV shows. Oni and her team are already gearing up for a 3-peat, so check them out on Twitter and Facebook. And, if you want to know more about Oni and James, head over to Oni’s website.

Tai Gooden is a freelance writer, author, part-time blogger and full time Whovian who has written for several online publications including The Guardian, xojane, HelloGiggles, HuffPost Parents, and BlogHer. When Tai isn’t waiting for the TARDIS, she can be found rambling on Twitter.

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