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Time to hop into the TARDIS and have an adventure, Whovians – (Re)Generation Who has returned to Baltimore, Maryland for its fourth year. And like years past, this con is some of the best fun you can have with or without a sonic screwdriver. This small (by Dragon Con, Awesome Con, and SDCC standards) convention packs a whole lot of entertainment opportunity into it’s weekend-long run.
Today was the kickoff of ReGen4, and while Fridays tend to be much less busy than their official weekend counterparts, I noticed a definite uptick in attendees since last year. That’s not a comment on how low attendee numbers were last year, instead ReGen4 is gaining traction as a Doctor convention worth checking out. As it’s been one of my favorite cons – and I’ve been to a lot of ’em – I’m happy to see this con getting the love it deserves. Though I’m sure I’ll soon be one of those con goers that’s all “man, I remember when ReGen wasn’t so crowded…”. Because I’m a jerk.
I was pleasantly surprised by the fun panels to be had today. Typically I used Fridays as my day to hit the merch rooms hard, and then sashay back to my own little spot to hoard my riches like some press-pass wearing dragon. I did hit the merch – what am I, made of stone? – but I hit two panels as well.
The first one, “Trial of a Time Lord Revisited”, had none other than the sixth Doctor, Colin Baker. Along with Doctor Who cohorts Nicola Bryant (the Fifth and Sixth Doctor’s companion Peri Brown) and none other than the Valeyard himself, Michael Jayston. They discussed everything from the glorious voice of Brian Blessed (“He tones himself down when he’s acting”, joked Jayston) to the panel itself, and how the fun was taking a turn for the giggly (in the very best way.) Among the highlights? Jayston praising Colin Baker’s performance, from good dialogue to bad writing. “It takes a good actor to do bad dialogue.” Colin Baker praising Big Finish, saying it’s made “the biggest difference for the Sixth Doctor… The standard of writing is brilliant, absolutely brilliant!” And Baker saying of Bryant’s ability to learn her lines quickly, “She’s a very quick learner. It’s really annoying.” As for their behind the scenes and past cons stories? Well, let’s just say they were a hoot. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
The other panel I headed to before I wandered back home to rest up for Day Two was “Fifth Doctor Season 19”, with the Fifth Doctor himself, Peter Davison, along with companions Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), and Matthew Waterhouse (Adric). Moderated by sci-fi and fantasy writer Keith R. A. DeCandido (Star Trek, Supernatural, and of course Doctor Who), this panel was just as lively as the one that preceded it, but with a bit more throwing up (#youhadtobethere). Fielding said that she learned “…never play a monster in Doctor Who.” Apparently with all the sweating, dehydration and heat inside the suits? They may look cool, but it’s a swealter horror show inside. And let’s not even think about being properly hydrated. As Fielding quipped, “there are practical difficulties.” Meanwhile, Davidson said that he had “no idea what I was doing” when he first became the Doctor. “You just have to come up with your own character.” That makes me even more excited to see #13 take the stage! Fielding’s fondest memory is of “Kinder”, because she got to do “some interesting stuff”. Including filming on a Concorde, which she said was a “really beautiful plane.” Meanwhile Fielding and Sutton shared silly nicknames for Waterhouse – “Boom Boom Waterhouse” and “Matt Finish” were a couple. And Waterhouse joked that a favorite bit of Who history for him was when “pterodactyls built spaceships”, especially since the spaceships weren’t suited for pterodactyls. Now I have to re-watch Season 19…
I’m sad I missed “Friday Evening with the Companions”, “Doctor Who Travel Guide”, “Writers on Deck!”, and of course the Time and Space Jam Dance Party. Perhaps next year I’ll get a hotel room. Even though I live thisclose to the con. Groovy events are a terrible thing to miss.