Dufus & Shirt

...Tees For Two

Day Two (Sunday)

Waking slightly later than intended, the two quickly got ready and got into the lift down to the hotel’s restaurant. On the way, they passed the fan who had intended to return to London the previous night, who it seemed had managed to get a room. The restaurant seemed to be packed out by elderly men in blazers, whom the two took to be a male voice choir (and the owners of the large coach taking up several car parking spaces in the hotel car park). On the grounds that the breakfast had been included in the hefty room price, both ate as much as possible, both also taking away muffins to eat later. Returning to their room, and swiftly checking that they had all their stuff, swiftly exited the hotel to Dufus’ car.


Reaching the convention hotel with no wrong turns and in record time, they parked in the multi-storey car park (which was free on Sundays), and made their way into the hotel and the upstairs lobby outside the convention room and autograph room. The lobby proved to be even more packed than the previous day (possibly due to the presence of a certain Mr. McGann), and several attendees seemed to having strong words with Seventh Galaxy staff, due to all tickets for the McGann/Ashbrook coffee lounge being sold the day before (by mistake). Dufus took advantage of this to get tickets for the classic series crew coffee lounge. Several hotel guests also seemed a little put out that despite breakfast being advertised as being in the restaurant until 10am, the restaurant had again been closed at 9.30am, to prepare it for autograph sessions. These guests therefore had to eat their breakfast on a tray in the packed lobby/bar area. Two fans opposite where Dufus and Shirt sat down seemed particularly miserable, particularly when two full English breakfasts were brought, when one was vegetarian and only wanted a selection of fruit. Shirt considered offering to eat one of the breakfasts for them, but decided that this might cause further problems.


At about 10am, they moved to their seats beside the door to the convention room, and as on the previous day, were kindly allowed in at the start. First up was Sylvester McCoy, surrounded by millions of photos of himself. The girl in front of Shirt was struggling to sort out her items.

“Who’s that ?”, she asked Shirt, pointing at Lisa Bowerman.

Having told her, Shirt was told, “I don’t get the audios”.

“But she’s also the main Cheetah person in ‘Survival’ “, Shirt continued.

“How would we know ?”

“She’s the one who becomes human at the end”

“I don’t know it that well”, said the girl, looking at ‘sad fan’ Shirt pityingly.

Shirt briefly flirted with the idea of giving the girl a few audio covers to get signed for him, but decided against it. Ahead, Sylvester was struggling to deal with his photos, collecting money and chatting with fans, all at the same time.

Dufus was first, and having got two covers signed, moved on swiftly to the lovely Ms. Bowerman. Shirt followed, again getting his covers signed with minimum of conversation.


Lisa seemed pleased that some fans had stopped at her signing table, as it seemed a large number of fans “don’t get the audios”. She happily signed the CD covers placed in front of her by the two, describing the latest – “Summer of Love” – as “a bit saucy”. Next up was a smaller queue for the new series guests. Ronny Jhutti (from “The Impossible Planet” was the first guest, with Dufus struggling to sort out the appropriate DVD cover for him to sign, whilst Shirt attempted to extricate his Series 2 poster from its protective cardboard tube. DVD cover, poster and two copies of “The Inside Story” signed, the two moved on to Auton/Slitheen/Anne Droid, Alan Ruscoe. He had similar trouble signing Dufus’ “The Veiled Leopard” as he had had signing Chalky and Shirt’s at Invasion VI, then also signed copies of “The Settling” and Shirt’s “The Inside Story”. Despite Shirt’s plea for him to sign in the clear space at the top of the “Bad Wolf” entry, Alan decided to sign next to a picture of himself in the Anne Droid costume, obscuring part of a paragraph of text. Finally, was Will Thorp (also from “The Impossible Planet”), who again signed the appropriate DVD cover, Shirt’s poster, and two copies of “The Inside Story”, again obscuring some of the text due to wanting to sign next to a photo of himself with the “Toby Possessed” make-up on. Fighting their way through the throng now entering the signing room, the two found somewhat of a rumpus due to the attendee numbers being called out in reverse order, meaning that people who had bought tickets on the door were being called long before those who booked weeks in advance.



Catching some of the Large Endings panel on the big screen, the two sat down for a rest in the bar area which had not yet opened. After this rest, they moved downstairs to where the coffee lounge was being held.  Sitting in armchairs across from the door, they waited for other people to turn up. This they eventually did, but no sign of the guests. At last, a group consensus was agreed to go into the room, and everyone made tea and coffee for each other. Ten minutes later, and all were sitting down in the cosy corner, sipping their drinks, but still no sign of the guests. Eventually someone went to look for them, returning a few minutes later having met them on the stairs on their way. The guests comprised legendary WHO producer, Philip Hinchcliffe; classic director, Graeme Harper (who had also worked on the new series); and Davison/C. Baker script editor, Eric Saward. The guests having been provided with tea, discussions about the technical side of television production began, with Philip speaking about producing the Tom Baker era, and Graeme speaking about how production methods have changed over time, citing the new WHO and “Robin Hood”. Eric was strangely silent, but this turned out to be because he was so interested in what the other two had to say. As with the Myanna/Rory panel, the day before, time ran out before anyone could get any extra items, but it was agreed that showing their tickets that afternoon would enable an extra item.


Lunch was next, with Dufus and Shirt again sallying forth into Stockton High Street in search of sustenance. This gained, they returned back to the hotel in time to take their seats by the autograph room just prior to the doors opening for the afternoon session. First up was Paul McGann, who happily signed both audio and video covers for the two. Having got their two Daphne Ashbrook signatures the day before, they neatly side-stepped her, joining a further queue for Messrs. Hinchcliffe, Saward & Harper. Dufus was pleased to finally meet the man responsible for his favourite era of the programme, proffering three covers that he had finally decided on after much dithering two days before. He also made sure that his ticket from the coffee lounge was clearly visible to the stewards sitting between the guests. Following on, Shirt got three DVD covers signed, all which featured a Hinchcliffe commentary (when the associated DVDs did). Dufus, meanwhile, was getting video and DVD covers signed by Mr. Saward (who he had also not previously met). Shirt also got covers signed, including “Attack of the Cybermen”, which Eric looked at suspiciously, despite it being the worst kept secret in WHO history that he wrote the majority of it. Moving on, Dufus was getting both classic and new WHO covers signed by Graeme, whilst Shirt again struggled with his poster. Having got this, his “Inside Story” and his “Revelation of the Daleks” DVD cover, they left the room.

As they did so, Dufus commented, “Didn’t you get Eric Saward to sign ‘Revelation’?” 

Shirt’s response was a snort of annoyance, having completely forgotten that Eric wrote it.



Moving into the panel room, the two sat and listened to the second half of the new series panel. Ronny and Will were happily exchanging “Impossible Planet/Satan Pit” anecdotes with Alan Ruscoe looking a bit left out. It also seemed that Alan’s decision to give up “monster work” had been a financially unsound one. This panel completed, the charity auction began. Neither of the friends bid, but a number of patterns emerged. Firstly, no-one wanted to pay the reserve prices put on the items donated by Terry Nation’s widow, so the majority of these (in particular the “Blake’s 7” items) went unsold. Secondly, anything else which was signed by anyone to do with WHO went for large amounts. Thirdly, many fans are willing to pay up to £15 for one rare “Battles in Time” card, even when it turns out that the next lot is identical. New series items seemed to be going for the most, with Shirt astounded when someone paid £25 for a signed copy of Billie’s autobiography, as due to her extensive signing tour, most major bookshops had signed copies for the published price of £18.99.


Following a fifteen minute break, the next panel began, featuring Sylvester McCoy (doing his second panel of the day) and the lovely, Lisa Bowerman. Old friends – the panel had a very jovial feel, with anecdotes about Sylvester’s ongoing tour in “Me and My  Girl”, Lisa directing a Large Endings’ “Sapphire and Steel” audio, as well as the obvious discussions re. “Survival”, and Lisa’s “microphone on an uplighter” monologue about being cast as Bernice. This completed, any guests that hadn’t already had to go and catch trains, came back for “on-stage thank you’s”, and Dimensions 2006 was at a formal end. Pushing past a long queue for an extra Sylvester signing session (as he had signed for an hour less that morning due to being on a TVM panel with Paul & Daphne), the two friends made their way back through the hotel to Dufus’ car, stopping briefly to get Charlie Ross to sign their “Memory Lane” and “Gallifrey” CDs.



Finding the right road first time, they headed back along the A19 to the M1, Shirt still trying to make Dufus’ CD player accept a CD. Making excellent time, and following a brief stop at some Services, they made it back to Dufus’ house with half-an-hour to spare before “Torchwood” started. The rest of the evening was spent watching Captain Jack & Co., sorting Dufus’ “Battles in Time” cards, and in tidying Dufus’ front room. Having had a tiring weekend, they retired early.




Epilogue (Monday)

The next morning, Dufus left for work, leaving Shirt watching “The Crystal Maze”, becoming so engrossed that he left too little time before walking to the bus stop. A bus finally arrived, and following a roundabout route, Shirt finally reached Tamworth Station, five minutes after his intended train had left. Luckily, an earlier train had been delayed and pulled in five minutes later, meaning that Shirt reached Birmingham Station with twenty minutes to make his connection. Sitting on the train, wending his way home, and watching the country fly by, Shirt pondered on a truly excellent weekend – two lovely ladies: Myanna Buring & Lisa Bowerman; three Doctors; four more signatures on his Series 2 poster; “Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf”; and most importantly a weekend spent with Dufus meeting DW celebs. Dufus was back !!!!  Roll on Invasion VII !!!! 


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