CONsole Room

The Stinker Swims


Review of The Underwater Menace (#32)
DVD Release Date: 24 May 16 (Region 1/N.America)
Original Air Date: 14 Jan - 04 Feb 1967
Doctor/Companion: Two, Polly Wright, Ben Jackson, Jamie McCrimmon
Stars: Patrick Troughton, Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines
Preceding Story: The Highlanders (Two, Ben, Polly, Jamie)
Succeeding Story: The Moonbase (Two, Ben, Polly, Jamie)

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the third iteration of CONsole Room, my local Doctor Who convention. I won't be posting a full recap on it this year, as I was only there for a few hours each day for the panels I was on, but among the guests were three early Companions: Anneke Wills (Polly Wright), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), and Wendy Padbury (Zoë Heriot). All three worked with Patrick Troughton (though Anneke started with William Hartnell), so there are plenty of each of their episodes that are missing.

Interestingly enough, one of the more recently recovered episodes (found in December 2011) was from early in Season Four (Troughton's first), including Anneke as Polly and Frazer's second outing as Jamie. It was finally released on DVD here in North America about two weeks ago, a week and a half before CONsole Room. I didn't manage to find time to watch it until after the con, which is a shame, because then I might have been able to (a) ask the guests some semi-intelligent questions about the story when I saw them on their main stage panel on Saturday and (b) fully appreciate the cosplay of the (highly embarrassed) young lady who got called out to show off her Polly-as-an-Atlanean costume during said panel. Alas, I did not have that much forethought. With mild regret for missed opportunities, then, I sat down to watch the last release of the home video line (barring any further lost episode recoveries).

The Underwater Menace has a reputation as one of the big stinkers. Until now, it's only been possible to watch one of its four filmed episodes, which in my opinion makes it ridiculously difficult to judge. Even with this release, Episodes One and Four (those still absent from the archives) are terribly difficult to follow, as all we have to go on are the soundtrack and production stills. Thank Prime for closed captioning.


CONsole Room 2015 Recap


This past weekend (29-31 May 2015) was CONsole Room 2015. I'm thrilled that a local-to-me dedicated Doctor Who convention has cropped up and made it successfully through its second year. I have every intention of continuing to patronize it, and am considering upgrading to the Sponsor level. More on that later.

[Side note: I apologize for the lack of photos. After moving house a week prior to the con, I didn't really have my head on straight, and wouldn't have been sure where to look for my camera even if I'd remembered. The few photos I did take (with my iPod) were simply too poor to post.]

As last year, I began my con experience on Thursday night at the Pre-Con Mixer. It was a fun time to socialize with the friends I'd made there previously, but due to guest-of-honor Colin Baker's bad knee, he wasn't able to circulate among the crowd as Sophie Aldred and Deborah Watling had (and to be honest, we were really spoiled by how much time Sophie spent with us last year). Nor did our table get any time with the other guests of honor. Ellie and Joseph Darcy-Alden (Francesca and Digby from The Snowmen) were unable to be there at all, and though I saw Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones of Torchwood) come in, that was the last time I spotted him.

Having had my expectations raised so far by my first experience, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the Mixer wasn't quite as fabulous for me the second time around. I doubt, however, that the mild disappointment I felt will be enough to deter me from attending the Mixer next year.

Programming on Friday began at noon, though I didn't arrive until just before the 3:00 slot. A long line had formed to get in to the main stage, where Colin was scheduled to give a commentary on "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot." Sponsors get priority seating (line up to enter first, and reserved seats at the front of the room), and I found myself wishing I were able to join them.

CONsole Room 2014 Recap


This past weekend, for the first time in over twenty years, a dedicated Doctor Who con was held in the Twin Cities (that's Minneapolis/St Paul, for those unfamiliar with the moniker). I was thrilled to have a con right here in my own town, and I have to say the organizers acquitted themselves well. While it was a very different experience—both on the con floor and off—than I've had at Gally, I had a great time, and look forward to next year.

So what was it like? Glad you asked!

Since I didn't have to contend with the expense of airfare or lodging, I felt justified in springing for one of the "extras" available: the Pre-Con Mixer on Thursday night. Not having done any events like it before, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, other than the advertised details: there would be hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar, and the two guests of honor (Deborah "Victoria" Watling and Sophie "Ace" Aldred) were scheduled to attend.

I have to say, the event was a greater success for me personally than I could possibly have imagined. Although awkward at first—none of my friends were attending the con, let alone the mixer—I found my groove eventually. I chatted with someone I'd seen on Twitter, and before long, Deborah Watling herself had moved to our table. We talked about her recovered episodes and what we liked best about them before she moved on to other attendees.

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