Doctor Who

Doctor Who, the world's longest running science fiction show, is now over half a century old and still going strong. Join our panellists as they celebrate and critique this extraordinary series, from Matt Smith's swan song, right back to the moment when a pair of unwary schoolteachers first stepped inside a mysterious police box.

All in Royal C&D, except the small-group Gallifreyan writing workshop, which will be in Room 31.


Fanvid Adventures in Space and Time
18.45 – 20.00
Fans have been cutting and recreating footage of their favourite shows since the 70s. These fanvids celebrate, analyse and critique media and reshape it in their own image. Doctor Who fanvids have a long history of expressing love for the best the show has to offer, bringing new readings to storylines and characters, and creating brand new stories for the Doctor and his companions. We take a look at some of our favourites before our panelists discuss trends in Doctor Who vidding and their own experiences as vidders, and ask the audience what they think of the vids we've just watched.
Amy (such_heights), Jenni Hughes


Queer in the Text
11.45 – 13.00
There's a lot of queer subtext in classic Who, but there were no explicitly queer characters until the new series (though can you really watch The Stones of Blood and *not* assume Vivien Fay and Professor Rumford were a couple?). Now we've got Captain Jack (and the entire cast of Torchwood), River Song, Madame Vastra and Jenny, as well as numerous minor characters. How successful have these representations been? Has the subtext been lost, and do we want it back? Is the Doctor no longer a queer icon? What subtext worked well in classic Who, and what sort of queer representation do we want to see onscreen today?
Amy (such_heights), Cleo, Sarah Groenewegen, Alyss Abyss

The Doctor's Privilege

15.15 - 16.30
The Time Lords are portrayed as an aristocracy, and though the Doctor rejected and then destroyed his home, he still benefits from that birth right: he can travel anywhere in time or space, has no obligations, no need for money, and knowledge of just about everything. Wherever he goes, he interferes, and he assumes authority. How aware is he of his privilege? Does he use his advantages for good, or is he no more than an idealised colonialist figure?
Amal El-Mohtar, Laurie Penny, Mathew Kilburn, Adrian Tchaikovsky

Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey Stuff: The Science of Time Travel in the Real World
18.45 - 20.00
Astrophysicist and rocket scientist Stephanie Osborn talks about concepts in physics that might actually enable us to travel in time, and why they might - or might not - work.


Why Continuity Doesn't Matter
10.00 – 11.15
Ah, Doctor Who continuity. How much of it really matters, and how much should we just shrug at and carry on? So much of the Doctor Who universe is contradictory, accidental and not, and still non-fiction books try to give a complete history. But with five decades of stories, it's impossible to all fit neatly together. In the end, the books dumped a whole lot of continuity, and the new series initially did the same. Is any of it really important? Or are there parts that we really need to keep? What are the bits that are really worth arguing over?
Paul Cornell, Abigail Brady, Dave Probert, Una McCormack, Marcus Gipps

Writing Circular Gallifreyan
11.45 - 13.00
Room 31
Come and learn Circular High Gallifreyan writing! We'll be using the writing developed by Loren Sherman (with permission), and we'll provide all the materials and knowledge you need. Space is limited, so come promptly! (and there'll be a repeat of the workshop on Sunday).

If A Woman Was Cast As The Doctor...
13.30 – 14.45
The argument of whether or not the Doctor can be a woman is over. Of course she can. The series even said so. Now let's move on to a more interesting conversation and discuss how it could, would, and should have worked: would City of Death have turned into a beautiful sapphic adventure of love? How would Rose and Martha's storylines have changed? And the Doctor and River's marriage? What can we learn from the two times the Doctor has already been a women? Is there anything that should be changed along with the Doctor's gender, or would we just be afraid of all the things the writers could feel obligated to change?
Cleo, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Michael Lee, Rebecca Tilley

Received Fan Wisdom is Wrong
18.45 – 20.00
There are so many things new fans of the show are told by Older, Wiser fans; things that have often been taken for granted as being true. We take a look at this Doctor Who Fan Wisdom and see when it holds up and when it doesn't. What're the great stories new fans are advised never to taint their eyes with? What terrible clunkers are regarded as classics? Which companions and Doctors' reputations have suffered or gained from being over/under-rated in the eyes of fandom?
Una McCormack, Paul Cornell, Jenni Hughes, Judith Jackson


Anytime, Anywhere
10.00 – 11.15
The Doctor can travel anywhere in time and space, and the pure historical story was a regular occurrence in the early days of the show, but has been seen only once since 1966. Would a pure historical work in today's Doctor Who? Is there any time or place the Doctor should go that he hasn't yet? Which historical figures does he really need to get around to meeting?
Simon Guerrier, Adam Christopher, Joanne Harris, Anna Jackson

Writing Circular Gallifreyan
11.45 - 13.00
Room 31
Come and learn Circular High Gallifreyan writing! We'll be using the writing developed by Loren Sherman (with permission), and we'll provide all the materials and knowledge you need. Space is limited, so come promptly!

A Handy Guide to the Wilderness Years and Beyond
13.30 – 14.45
Doctor Who isn't just a telly show, it's also books, audios, comics, webcasts, and computer games. In the nineties, these non-telly sources were the only place you could get (official) new Doctor Who stories. For telly fans looking to step into the worlds of book and audio, it can be a vast and intimidating place: where do you even start? Our panel talks about the highs and the lows of non-telly Who, and where you can find the good stuff that would never stand a chance of making it on-screen.
David Bailey, Sarah Groenewegen, Rebecca Levene, Simon Guerrier, David McIntee

Representation of Gender Roles
15.15 – 16.30
At its best Doctor Who challenges the normative gender roles of society, from Barbara's implicit rejection of the fifties 'feminine mystique' to Sarah Jane's explicit rejection of seventies patriarchy. Ace and Rose are working class heroes. Madame Vastra and Jenny are a married interspecies couple who fight crime, and aliens, in Victorian London. How successfully does the show challenge prevailing gender norms? Where does it succeed best? Where could it do better?
Simon Guerrier, Angela Blackwell, Una McCormack, Amy

RTD vs Lambert
17.00 – 18.15
Verity Lambert and Russell T Davies: two Doctor Who producers making the same show fifty years apart and for very different audiences. Can an RTD fan go back and enjoy Lambert's work? What does it have to offer the modern viewer? What does each era regard as heroic, and what does it teach us to fear? We look at the work of both producers' eras and see how much has changed, and why, and whether it's all for the better.
Michael Lee, Adam Christopher, Mathew Kilburn, Tori Truslow