With Doctor Who celebrating 50 years, the Ritz Cinema (site here) held a convention today (31st August) , and today I thought I’d dress for the occasion.
It started from 11am, and from then on it was 6 hours of a great time.
Read on for what me and a few friends did throughout the day.
The Ritz Cinema has seen something of a regeneration of its own (apologies) since it’s former glory as a cinema being restored since it’s closure and re-opening as a Wetherspoons bar in 1998. To help make it back into it’s former glory, a series of film showings and events have been taking place over this year, with many more to come.
You can check all the upcoming events, and buy tickets for them here.
So we walk up the stairs, and seeing as I hadn’t been there since I saw Power Rangers: The Movie in 1994, the layout looked as it was, except with a TARDIS and 2 Daleks scattered around the foyer area.
There was also a bar which had great prices, £2.50 for a Hendricks and mixer and £1 for a popcorn bag, how can you argue.
We posed for photos by the TARDIS, and a Multi-Doctor photo that will be the closest thing anyone may see for a 50th anniversary special.
‘UNIT’ was also there standing guard. One was in awe of the Fourth, and when he offered her a jelly baby, it made her day.
They were also offering a ‘Monster Tour’, which was through a completely different area in the Ritz.
As we walk in, a mannequin wearing the Ninth Doctor’s costume was there, with markings on the wall, showing visits from ‘The Silence’, and behind us, a remnant of a CyberLeader of the ‘Cybermen’.
We were shown to another floor, which had a ‘Weeping Angel’, telling each one of us to keep staring at it, to not blink, and move as fast as you can away from it.
We then came across a pig-human hybrid from ‘The Daleks Take Manhatten’, and after a scuffle with the tour-guide, we are brought to another room.
We’re then told this was all a farce, and we are now captured.
UNIT then come in, and take down the tour-guide, who looked like The Master of the Anthony Ainley era towards the end of his tenure, and was swiftly tackled down by force.
We were then advised to quickly leave the area, but before we did, to look at K9 in the corner, and a couple of sonic screwdrivers.
Going in another tangent for a moment, a friend who I always called, ‘Tom Baker’, used it to the full today, with jelly babies and the 14ft long scarf.
So once the ‘Monster Tour’ was finished. and were looking at the props, he walked over to K9, and suddenly, everyone stopped what they were doing, and every camera was being used for the photo below.
It was a nice moment. There were people there who grew up with the Fourth Doctor, so for someone to look as close as he was back in 1975, it was a great moment for them, and everyone else too.
Once we arrived back in the foyer, Colin Baker suddenly appeared, taking pictures and being at the TARDIS.
Once pictures were taken, we were told that the Q&A session with the guests was about to start.
Along with Colin Baker, the guests ranged from Ian McNeice who has played Churchill twice so far (and seemingly confirmed a third time in Matt Smith’s final episode at Christmas) Barry Noble who played a Cyberman in ‘Moonbase’, Richard Franklin who played ‘Captain Mike Yates’ in the 3rd Doctor era, while Streun Rodger who voiced the ‘Face of Boe’, all gave really great responses and stories, including a dinosaur story from Richard Franklin that i’ve yet to hear the full story of!
I noticed the spoiler of Churchill making the rounds on some sites (DoctorWhoTV being one) and even though I did hear him say, as did the friends I was with, it may just be a red herring, or just misunderstood as to hoping he will be starring in it, as it hasn’t been filmed as yet.
There was a photo event of a Cyberman which was flawless, it looked as genuine as it did in an episode of Earthshock.
Once we got food from downstars, we returned to see an auction taking place, with bids from £7 for a John Barrowman signed picture, to £27 for a large Dalek model draped in a Union Jack design.
There was also another Q&A from Colin Baker talking of his time as the Doctor, saying that once he got the part, he went to his local library, and after much research, came up with a design close to the Ninth Doctor’s costume, which I didn’t know about, so it was nice to hear what could have been.
There were conversations about ‘Trial of a Time Lord’ and how the ending came to be, while a wish of a change of script editor was mentioned from Colin.
Soon after, it was time for a couple of fan films to be shown.
Now, in all honesty, as good as the direction and special effects looked, it was far too long, and if The Master appeared early in the first part, i’d probably be having a better opinion of it. He was brilliantly played, with the actor taking on a ‘Moriaty’ style way of facing against The Doctor. But it did make me think that The Master’s sole goal of taking The Doctor’s TARDIS and taking control of UNIT in a 12th Doctor story would be great to see.
Soon after these were shown, the convention had ended.
Overall, i was impressed with what they achieved today.
In all honesty, I didn’t think it’d be as good as it did, and throughout, it surprised me. From the incredible cinema room with the Q&A, to the fun ‘Monster Tour’ and UNIT scene, to the photos with the TARDIS, it really was a great time.
There’s another Doctor Who convention being held next year, and I’ll definitely be coming back, sonic screwdriver and red converse all ready.
Well done to all at the Ritz.