Review: Invasion V

Last Alteration: Monday 19 September 2005


23rd July 2005 at Barking Abbey School, Barking

I think this might be the first convention since the new series started. A cracking guest line-up included not only cast members who have been well-loved for many years, but also several from the new series. It seemed to be well-attended too.

First on was Janet Fielding, at her first convention for many years. She was utterly charming, and gracefully tackled interviewer Gary Russell's humorous attempts at insulting her. She may have a reputation for disliking the series, but when it comes to events, she has plenty of well-thought-out things to say - and anyone who has first-hand experience of Matthew Waterhouse has to be listened to.

Then came the star of the day: John Barrowman. John was superb from start to finish, and I hope to see him on the convention circuit for many years to come. There was much innuendo, which was great fun, and he told us about the scene in Bad Wolf in which he was "befrabricated", which I think he enjoyed a little too much. One crew member hadn't known that he'd decided to go "The Full Monty", and so received quite a shock. The best question was "Have you ever wanted to get inside a Dalek". There was uproar. He can still say Raxacoricofallapatorious. He'll be in panto this year.

Angela Bruce and Julian Glover had a tough act to follow. Angela told us how she got into show business when, the first time she ever went to the theatre, she was one of many who got onto the stage when invited to join in, and was offered an audition afterwards. A lovely story. Julian as usual showed his funny and serious sides, frequently alternating between the two.

Paul Kasey played a Tree Person and an Auton, and Jimmy Vee played the Moxx of Balhoon. We had typical stories of make-up and uncomfortable costumes.

Noel Clarke was under instructions not to say much about the next season. He was on a flight recently, and "Rose" was on shown on screens on the back of every seat, so he received a lot of attention. When queuing for another flight, he was rushed through, as one of the officials was a fan, so fame isn't all bad. As with John, I hope that his convention appetite continues.

Royce Mills was interviewed for about two minutes before his panel partner arrived: Brian Blessed. He managed to get barely a word more in as Brian stood up and told us about Flash Gordon and Z Cars. He shouted "Gordon's Alive" twice, and did some brief opera singing. He was wonderfully rude as well, and went down a storm. No mention of Who though.

"Dalek" writer Rob Shearman talked about the evolution of his script. Initially the man who tried to make the Dalek talk was to meet his end in a particularly graphic way, with skull crushed. "Have you gone mad?" said Russell T Davies to him about this scene.

Finally, there was a Big Finish panel, chaired by Gary Russell, who told us that most of the first Paul McGann season would soon be broadcast on BBC 7 (with some timing edits), thanks to the success of the new TV series.

I should not fail to mention the Dalek who heckled those on stage throughout. A stream of witticisms.

So, a fine mixture of the old and the new, and a really entertaining day. And there was a decent chip shop close by. It's good that so many new Who people have embraced the fans, and the future of conventions appears to be bright. Well done 10th Planet.

The queue for autographs was too long to join without missing fine panels. Perhaps it could have been organised so that one went in a certain slot depending on attendee number. I believe John Barrowman did some extra time there to save disappointing people.

Dave Parsons

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