CONVID-20: The online DoctorWho convention will take place this week-end.

CONVID-20: The online DoctorWho convention will take place this week-end.

COVID-19 may have cancelled Con Season but new online Doctor Who convention CONVid-20 has revived it.

By Mélissa M Azombo

In response to global Comic Con cancellations surrounding COVID-19, an online Doctor Who convention called CONVid-20 (Convention by Video 2020) will materialise this week.

On Saturday 18 April, CONVid-20 will play host to interviews featuring Doctor Who stars Bonnie Langford, Simon Fisher-Becker, Sophie Aldred, Sylvester McCoy. Doctor Who fans worldwide can enjoy panels and quizzes from the online convention, as well as a live comedy set from Musical Comedian Mitch Benn  from 11:00 BST/12:00 CET to 22:30 BST/23:30 CET on the CONVid-20 YouTube channel

Due to the high volume of guest sign-ups, an additional event called Writer’s Room featuring Doctor Who writer Peter Anghelides, Sophie Iles and Doctor Who Magazine’s Andrew Cartmel will take place from 19:00 BST/20:00 CET to 23:00 BST/00:00 CET on Friday 17 April.

The complete schedule for Virtual Doctor Who convention COVID-20 and added Writer's Room event.

The complete schedule for Virtual Doctor Who convention CONVID-20 and added Writer’s Room event.

CONVid-20 also encourages fans to participate on the day by cosplaying (dressing up as their favourite characters) and keeping the conversation going on Twitter using #20CONVid. The event has received plenty of contributions so far but welcomes more, whether through artwork, sharing stories of meeting Doctor who guests, short stories fans have written or anything they can think of. More contributions will add to the community feeling of the event.

“The idea is to replicate a normal convention as closely as possible.” Convention organiser Alan Lear tells Time Made Of Strawberries.

CONVID-20's Allan Lear, Wife Emma and Doctor Who actor Matt Lucas

Doctor Who fan and CONVid-20 organiser Allan Lear with his wife Emma and Doctor Who actor Matt Lucas on the TARDIS set.

The CONVid-20 team had been planning a convention for July, which they decided to reorganise as a virtual Doctor Who convention, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, leading to the shutdown of events which would have required big gatherings.

While the event will be completely free to access, the virtual convention will also be accepting donations. All voluntary contributions will be in aid of children’s hospice Claire House.

“We meet friends we only ever see at conventions, and we’re missing them this year.  So we thought it would be nice to put something together where we could meet up online at least.” He says.

Claire House Children's Hospice

Claire House is a local charity which does great work in looking after children who are terminally ill.

“They take in terminally ill children and try to give them as much fun and normality in their lives as possible.  It’s hugely important to those kids and their families.” Mr Lear elaborated on why he originally selected Claire House as the charity to support, in running this event. The current global lockdown situation surrounding COVID-19 seemed to strengthen that decision. “And then of course the virus hit,” he continued “and everywhere that’s reliant on public donations is getting much less now because people aren’t doing anything that could raise funds, so it seems more important than ever now, to be chipping in for them.”

Whether fans are able to donate or not, they will have access to all of the content the virtual convention has to offer, something which was very important to the event organiser.

In his announcement video, he states “There is going to be no Patreon tiering or paywalling.”

He also adds that there are no overheads “Nobody we’ve asked to take part is taking a fee. They are doing it purely for the love of the show. With it being a virtual convention, we’ve got no hall hire,” so there are no costs to pass on to participants.

Allan Lear Doctor Who Fan, Stand-Up Comedian and CONVID-20 organiser

Triple threat: Allan Lear is a Doctor Who fan and stand-up comedian who has used his events experience to put together CONVID-20

Stand-up comedian Allan Lear, 39, has experience in working on events like this one. Knowing how conventions are run nowadays led him to the decision that there would be no premium content for this event.

“These days a lot of conventions are very money-driven.” He started. “A lot of them also do premium passes, where you get to jump the queue and if there isn’t time for the people with normal tickets to get their autographs, they just miss out… I think it’s very cruel. Just because people aren’t rolling in cash, doesn’t mean that the shows and the fandom matter any less to them. “ He continued. In fact, the conventions Allan is involved in running always ensure to secure at least one autograph per ticket, so no-one misses out. “So yes, it was important to us that everyone should be able to access all our content, regardless of whether they could afford to donate to Claire House or not. ” He explains.

The full programme of guests includes “actors Chris Guard, Chris Jury, David Banks, Brian Croucher, Toby Hadoke, Angela Bruce, Marcus Gilbert, David Benson, Jon Culshaw, Mark Strickson; writers Andrew Smith, Peter Anghelides, Sophie Isles and Andrew Cartmel; effects guru Steven Gallagher; director Jamie Stone; and producers Scott Handcock and Philip Hinchcliffe.“ Allan informed Time Made Of Strawberries. Virtual attendees will be able to tune in as they wish.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: