Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
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» Sunday, May 05, 2019
WHOlanta, Day 3

And here it is, the final day of the final WHOlanta. I can't tell you how I was looking forward to this convention while still dreading this day. Naturally we were quite bleary after yesterday's key adventure, but managed to eat and dogwalk and get on our way, and in reward we found a handicapped parking space right outside the door.

My first panel was about Victoria. It was a very small panel, so we got to chat amongst ourselves about the aspects of the series we enjoyed, and also why they had to finagle things to create drama (for instance, the subplot about Victoria's half-sister this season trying to undermine her relationship with Albert—the real Feodore and Victoria had a good relationship). I'm also wondering how they are going to resolve how nice Victoria is to Bertie in this series to how nasty she was to him in the future when he is older!

Mark Heffernan (right) at the Victoria panel.

Next attended the "Television Production" panel. This featured Louis Robinson, Matt Golden from RetroTV, Who alumni Edward Russell, Jason Haigh-Ellery, and Robert Allsopp, and Marc Scott Zicree. This panel basically boiled down to "when you're the producer, the buck stops here." Zicree talked about a show he worked on where filming could either stop or they could film something else that they had not planned, so they filmed the alternative items so to not stop production. Another time they needed another set, but the set designer quit. He and some of the other crew members took an existing set apart, rearranged the parts creatively, and created the two sets they needed. Another time a series on the next soundstage over was cancelled. By thinking quickly they were able to claim several parts of this series' sets and save themselves money.

One of the things they talked about was making decisions and that sometimes they had to be made immediately, with little time to think of the consequences. Matt Golden said something that stuck with me, and I wrote it down: "I would rather make a bad decision than no decision."

Matt Golden [left]
Marc Scott Zicree [left] and Louis Robinson talking.

Next James and I went to the EarthStation WHO podcast, where they were talking about everyone began watching Doctor Who. There was a gentleman in the room who just began watching last year while on a military assignment, and then there were folks like us who started watching in the 70s either with Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker. It was great hearing everyone's story. We even talked about the party we had for the TV movie premiere in 1996 (we took over a sports bar and watched on the big screen TV). This was recorded, so James and I may appear on the podcast.

As a bookend to Friday's "Why We Read," today was "Why We Write." I always liked the answer attributed to Samuel R. Delaney: "There are books I want to read that haven't been written yet, so I have to write them." Those characters in your head just want to come out!

Marc Scott Zicree, author of The Twilight Zone Companion, moderated the next panel about The Twilight Zone and what a groundbreaking series it was. His book is pretty much the text on the television series. He talked about meeting Rod Serling's wife Carol and what a television pioneer he was. Also some brief discussion on the new series running on Amazon Prime (or Netflix, I forget which). Alice said of the ones aired so far, one was outstanding, the rest were okay.

Attended a very small "What's on Britbox and Acorn TV?" panel (Mark Heffernan at the table and five of us in the audience). There was one woman in the audience who did want to know which was best to get, so we discussed that: Acorn has more non-British series (Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian), but Britbox has more series, and they do have some British soaps shown "live" and other events live as well (I watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on Britbox's live stream). We ended up discussing how hard it was to "cut the [cable] cord" because, as I have found out, once you get all the channels you want, you don't end up saving very much! (James had gone to a cord cutting panel while I was Victoria-ing.)

At four it was time for "The Great Big Doctor Who Panel," starring Janet Fielding and the rest of the guests, including Jon Davey, who's played a myriad of Cybermen and other baddies over the years; Jason Haigh-Ellery from Big Finish, who does Who audio adventures; Edward Russell, who did Who marketing; Robert Allsop, who did costuming and props for the show; and Kelly Yates, who did Who comics, plus Louis Robinson, who worked at the BBC while Who was on. The combined panel is usually a time for the guests to answer silly questions, so we enjoyed hearing about Janet's shoe expeditions!

The Great Big Doctor Who panel, with Janet Fielding on the hot seat.

And then came the dreaded end. The last hour of programming was a fantastic photo-and-video retrospective put together by Alan Siler, from the first event at the Elk's Club in Tucker to last year, and then at the end were special messages sent to him by previous guests. We saw videos from Domenic Glyn, Katy Manning, Sophie Aldred (and her dogs), and a lovely one from Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, filmed at the white cliffs of Dover by Sylvester McCoy!

At this point I started blubbering and didn't come up for air until Closing Ceremonies was over. Alan and Susan made farewell speeches, two young ladies sang a song for them, all the guests and track directors and other helpers came up and took their bows, and then as always there were prize drawings. I got lucky and won a program for this year's convention autographed by all the guests.

Alan bids his farewells.

Susan says her thanks.

We filed out of the room to find Lt. Moxie Magnus posing with people outside the TARDIS, so we took a turn ourselves. It cheered me up but little and I started crying on the way out again. Sue Phillips gave me a hug and we sang "Tipparary" (ala The Mary Tyler Moore Show), and then it was time to leave. All the miserable rain from yesterday had washed everything clean and we were able to drive home with the windows down. (Sadly, we also lost the tarp that goes over the power chair. It must not have been bound securely enough and flew out of the bed of the truck.)

Then it was home for real life again: walking the dog and Call the Midwife. It really has been fun. And I'd do it all again—even the Saturday I was sick in the bathroom of the Holiday Inn for three hours, and the last day of con in 2012 when the car battery died.

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