Written by Bud Santos
I recently attended LI-Who IV in Hauppauge NY. First let me say that while I like Doctor Who I am not what would be referred to as a hardcore fan. I am 64 years old. I cosplay the original Doctor Who, William Hartnell.
I also cosplay Han Solo from The Force Awakens. Both characters have wrinkles and so do I so I save time and money on makeup.
Enough about me let’s talk about the convention. The con itself is in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hauppauge NY a very nice facility and very con friendly. There is plenty of space for panels and milling around with other con goers. This is a medium sized convention that has the guest list of a larger con with the intimacy of a smaller convention. The guests this year included Peter Davidson, Paul McGann, Colin Baker and several other Whoniverse notables were welcoming and approachable.
On the First day of the con I was helping set up a panel called Whovians Are Cool. I was attired in my First Doctor Cosplay as I always am when I do this panel when someone behind me says “oh you look wonderful”. I turned around to see a lady of my generation smiling and coming towards me. I say thank you and she gives me a hug. At his point I, don’t have any idea who this person is except she likes my Cosplay. As I pull away from her I suddenly recognize her. Her name is Annake Wills and she is the actress who portrayed Polly opposite both William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton (the first and second Doctors respectively).
Now the cosplayers reading this will know how good it feels to have someone complement you or ask for a picture of your cosplay. When you meet someone, who is a part of the character you’re portraying like the artist, the writer or the actor that is extra special.
So here I am having a marvelous conversation with an actress who appeared with the character I am cosplaying and she loves it! Holy validations Batman. We talked for a little bit and she told me what a lovely man Billy Hartnell was (everyone who knew him called him Bill or Billy) and then she had to go off for a panel. What a great start to a convention!
Later that day I was in the elevator with Colin Baker the sixth Doctor who I had met at Bangor Comic and Toy Con (Bangor, ME) last summer. Of course, he did not remember me in fact he asked where Bangor was saying he just gets off and on planes so places look the same to him. Then he smiled and said “did we have a good time?” to which I replied in my best Doctor Voice “Yes we did and you were a gentleman the whole time’. He smiled and said “good”. At this point the elevator stopped and I got off. On Saturday, my son Ben was on the elevator with Colin and said I met you in Bangor last summer. Colin replied “You’re the second person who has said that to me this weekend”. Ben let him know that it was his Dad who had met him on Fri. Colin again asked” Did we have a good time?” Ben told him yes and that Colin had behaved himself.
In addition to the usual photo ops and signature signing events the guests at LI Who do panels. These are great they are so informative and entertaining. There are great stories about filming Doctor Who and the actors who portrayed them. Some are very funny. Some are very touching bringing a lump to the throat as actors remember colleagues who have passed.
For me the most impressive panel was hosted by Peter Purvees, Annake Wells and Frazier Hines. The panel dealt with the production of the early episodes. Peter Purvees was especially knowledgeable about the equipment used and thanks to an assistant on a laptop pictures came up on a screen so you could see images of this equipment that had been replaced decades ago. It really gave you an appreciation of the challenges of producing the early episodes.
I can’t forget the Whovians who attend this event. Groups come from all over to attend this event along with the individual Whovians. Many of the Whovians like myself cosplay their favorite character from the Whoniverse others just come in regular clothes but everyone is having a great time posing for pictures with Daleks, Cybermen and of course the Tardis and the guests of course.
I really enjoy this con a lot and have attended it twice now. Whether you prefer New Who or Classic Who or you just love Doctor Who this is the con for you. So, reverse the polarity, shout Geronimo grab a bag of Jelly babies and a sonic screwdriver and checkout LI-Who 5.