Doctor Who Convention Gallifrey One Sells Out, as 3,200 Fans Pack the L.A. Airport Marriott
|Daleks in the hallway at Gallifrey One|
Plenty of Doctors have graced the Gallifrey One stage over the years, some more than once. A number of companions have also turned up here, as well as numerous other people who helped flesh out the Doctor Who universe. Even Steven Moffatt, executive producer of the current show, has stopped by Gallifrey One a few times.
Gallifrey One was there for Doctor Who fans during the franchise's quietest period. Lyon notes that fans often refer to this as "The Wilderness Years." While Doctor Who books and audio recordings were being released during the con's formative years, there were no new episodes on the air. As time passed with no new Doctor in sight, attendance at the convention dwindled. Lyon notes that interest in the convention increased after the 1996 movie, but soon declined again until British writer/producer Russell T. Davies resuscitated the show.
The convention has, in some ways, evolved with its crowd. This year, costumed fans roamed the hotel. There were plenty of people wearing the extra long scarf associated with Tom Baker's portrayal of the Doctor, lots of girls in TARDIS-inspired dresses and even a little boy dressed as the current Doctor.
Cosplay at Gallifrey One is a relatively new phenomenon, says Lyon. "We held a masquerade for the first 14 years of the convention and we basically let it die because there was no interest in it," he notes. "It came back a couple years later and there was some more interest, but nothing like the past three or four years. The past three or four years, [cosplay has] become one of the main parts of the event."
With all the new blood at the convention, I couldn't help but wonder if the community is split between fans of the old Doctor Who episodes and the newer series. "You would think so," says Lyon, before pointing out that this definitely is not the case. He adds that the convention has seen equal interest in guests from the both the vintage and modern versions of the show. "I think that a lot of people are falling in love with the new show, really getting into it, and then start going back through the DVDs and discovering some of the classics," he surmises.
This is good for both Doctor Who's legacy and its future. Lyon points out that Doctor Who's renewed life is essentially a result of the fanaticism surrounding the franchise. "Doctor Who really survived on its fandom until it was brought back," he says, adding that the show returned to television thanks to producers and writers who were longtime fans themselves. And what's good for Doctor Who is also good for the fan convention.
"The first 15 years or so, it was a fandom that was all the same people. It was getting older," says Lyon. "Now it's a lot of young people. It's a lot of teenagers and a lot of twenty-somethings who have fallen in love with the new show. That's why we're picking up tons of new people. It's given us a new lease on life, I guess."