Fri, June 12 through Sun, June 14, 2015
The DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport Hotel
18740 International Blvd. Seattle, WA 98188
Fans of Doctor Who should take note: a regeneration of a beloved convention is happening in the Pacific Northwest. Shawn Marier is leading a team of enthusiasts to bring back Anglicon!
This event celebrates British popular culture and it originally ran from 1988 to 2004. Back then, declining interest in shows from across the pond was part of the reason why it no longer continued. Although nobody was certain about BBC’s seminal show returning to screens the next year, interest started growing again especially during the David Tennant years. In the West Coast, only Gallifrey One prospered, but there were limitations because of the venue limiting the numbers. To see interest in British programming return is more than just a godsend.
Marier is a fixture in the Pacific Northwest scene since the late 80’s. Having been involved in this region’s many events celebrating pop culture fandom over the years, working behind the scenes and acting as convention chairman, the one thing that really mattered to him was to help give back to the fan base. The theme of the convention never mattered since it was about the people and camaraderie that can be experienced in the shows put on by dedicated fans for fans.
“I found fandom in high school and it was a place which just felt like ‘home,’ and has been a part of my life since. I have created so many life-long friends here, and it’s like belonging to a large extended family. But you really develop close friendships at the conventions you’re part of the staff at,” said Marier.
That kind of heart defines a true fan-run convention. It’s at these events where people can meet to talk about their favourite episode, recount fond memories of when Doctor Who was broadcasted in television (including one true hard-core fan, Gary Malkasian, on KVOS who hosted the late night broadcasts of Doctor Who in the early 90’s) or chat about the latest rumours about where the new series is going. Bigger for-profit conventions have their place, but to explore what they represent to fandom is a different thesis altogether.
For now, Anglicon has guests Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace) and Katy Manning (Jo Grant) attending. Just added is Jon Davey who plays many supporting roles (mostly the villains) in the later seasons. More is coming and no official word is made as to when or if they will get more performers from the new series. As a rebooted convention, the organizers first have to lay the groundwork down. Some may say, develop a new personality that will make this new incarnation shine.
Marier says it’s already bigger than one of Anglicon’s original shows from more than a decade ago and he reveals that the next step is to prove to the sponsors that they are reaching enough fans. That is, to prove that a market exists for a very specialized event.
“I look at Gallifrey One (The biggest Doctor Who exposition in the United States) and see which companies are sponsoring guests. If we can show to these businesses that Anglicon can also pull in large numbers, then they are more likely to want to come and bring special guests with them. ” said Marier.
Many fans want to see David Tennant make a convention appearance and he doesn’t appear in many State-side shows. While anyone from this modern series will no doubt get plenty of people interested in coming through this events doors, that’s not the only reason why Anglicon is returning.
“Both Anglicon and Norwescon are 501c3, so they also pass on profits to good causes,” revealed Marier. “For us, a portion of profit will be going to KBTC, one of our local public broadcasting stations that’s regularly showing Doctor Who. I know a number of their staff will be at our convention, and a couple of them are helping to work behind the scenes. We’re also doing a charity auction and all the proceeds from that will be going to them.”
But some money will be saved too. If this event makes a profit in its first year, then it will go into a reserve fund to help run future years. Who knows, maybe some of the Anglicon staff will get seen at KBTC during a pledge drive to help build momentum for this show. But not everyone can get this station. Pacific Northwesters have a choice of various PBS stations to tune in on, and for Canadians, KCTS9 is better known. They also run pledge drives to build their coffers. This station is based out of Seattle and some viewers may recall the times they brought Craig Charles or Robert Llewellyn out to talk about the fun antics that happened behind the scenes during this station’s Red Dwarf marathon. When this program is soon filming a series XI, just what are the chances of Anglicon to bring in other names known outside of the sphere of Doctor Who?
“There are so many other great shows (past and current) coming out of the UK which have big audiences in the States,” said Marier, “Red Dwarf has been talked about many times by our committee. We would love to get some of them back, if we can reach a reasonable deal for them. Especially that KBTC is now showing this program again. ”
Note: Look for Anglicon’s upcoming panel “Ten Years of the New Doctor Who” at Emerald City Comicon, Friday March 27th at 1:50 pm in Hall E (TCC 303).