We had to postpone it three times, it was 18 months later than originally scheduled, and 2½ years since the last one, but Bedford Who Charity Con 6 finally went ahead last Saturday (16th October). The pandemic meant masks were on, hand sanitiser was available in bucketloads – and yet a good time still seemed to be had by all.
It’s a bit difficult to write this piece, since I’m the organiser and, modest and retiring as I am, I don’t like to blow my own trumpet. (Who cried “Lies!”?)
Well. OK, I enjoyed it. We had lots of nice comments from the audience too. My favourite bits are usually the sketches: Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, and Paul Marc Davis (the Trickster) did a skit where the TARDIS landed in 1930s Yorkshire and the Doctor was mistaken by a grumpy farmer for a prominent local vet. (Paul to Nyssa: “Just thou be careful of him, flower. Got a right eye for the ladies, this one.”) (OK, I suppose you had to be there.) Paul and Dalek operator David Hankinson did another one about two actors, imaginatively named Paul and David; Paul was concerned by David’s increasingly obsessive habit of sleeping in his Dalek overnight to avoid paying hotel bills. And Peter Davison produced a surprise: he’d written a new piece about Tegan’s plan to roll back time to resurrect Adric. Pages of technobabble written for Janet, who hated gobbledegook and hadn’t been told she was in it until Peter called her to the stage. All good stuff!
We also had David Hankinson’s “How to drive a Dalek” masterclass; Roger Murray-Leach’s talk on designing Doctor Who; actor Peter Roy’s thoughts on working with all of the first five Doctors; the group photo session where members of the audience could get their picture taken with the guests, in exchange for a donation to the charity bucket; Daleks; a new replica Hartnell TARDIS console, built by fan David Nagel; Daleks; autographs; Daleks; cosplayers… Oh yes, and Daleks.
The convention’s profits always go to Bedford Foodbank. Like most charities, their ultimate aim is not to exist because they will no longer be needed. They provide food parcels for around 1000 local people in crisis every month; shockingly, a third of their clients are children. Demand continues to grow; just two years ago, the figure was 650.
And this is where the DWC pays tribute to the extraordinary generosity of Doctor Who fans, because the convention raised £6643 for them.
That brings the total – raised by the fans – at Bedford Who events over the last few years to a staggering £28,490.
So: huge thanks from me, and from the trustees and volunteers at Bedford Foodbank, to everyone who came to the con, to the audience and guests alike, for making this happen. Harlan Ellison wrote that the programme’s message was, “You, too, can be like Doctor Who. You, like the good Doctor, can stand up for that which is bright and bold and true. You can shape the world, if you’ll only go and try.”
All sounds slightly overblown, doesn’t it?
I think we have to say that that is exactly what the fans did, on a blustery day in Bedford, last Saturday.