Whovention ahoy!

The Chimes Of Midnight, authored by a certain R. ShearmanThis weekend, I’ll be happily attending Whovention 7, the latest in the Doctor Who Club of Australia’s series of biannual get-togethers. Given the success that the new series has enjoyed, I imagine things will be a tad more crowded than at previous Whoventions, which can only be a good thing, really.

One of the special guests at this year’s event is Rob Shearman, who has written half-a-dozen audio dramas for the Big Finish range of audios, as well as the Dalek episode from this year’s TV series. I had a quiet chuckle to myself when I learnt Rob was attending. On my regular trips to the UK, I often attend UK Who conventions — they’re much more frequent over there, in large part because the actors and other Who celebs don’t have to travel very far to get to them. At the Dimensions get-together last November, Rob was one of the guests, and during a rather drunken conversation with him at the bar, I suggested that he should line himself up to be a guest at the next Australian convention. I have no idea if this half-tanked suggestion had any direct influence, but on the other hand, he is showing up . . .

Tegan returns!

It’s been a few weeks since I went on one of my customary Doctor Who news searches, so I was in for a very pleasant surprise when I hit Outpost Gallifrey. In amongst the expected casting news for the first David Tennant-starring series was the revelation that Janet Fielding had finally been persuaded to return to the role of Tegan Jovanka for Big Finish‘s excellent series of audio Doctor adventures.

Signed by Janet Fielding, 2003

I’ve seen Fielding — a feisty and intelligent woman who left acting some years ago to pursue a career in writing and administration — at two Doctor Who conventions in recent years: Whovention 2003 in Sydney, which marked her return to the convention scene after a decade-long absence, and Dimensions in Stockton last year. At both events, Fielding made it clear that she had no intention of returning to the role. Big Finish producer Gary Russell made it equally clear that he intended to keep asking her.

Persistence has paid off, and Fielding will now come back for a one-off story, Summer In The City, due for release in 2006. This will see her reunited with Peter Davison’s doctor, but will take place after her final appearance in Resurrection Of The Daleks. Doubtless part of the appeal of this model to Fielding — who has stressed this will not lead to her continuing to make appearances in the CD series — is that it will allow some character development that wouldn’t be possible in the confines of Tegan’s original series chronology. However it plays out, I’m looking forward to it.