Whooverville was more than a Doctor Who convention, for me at least. A historic meeting of so many Doctor Who podcasters.
It all began on a slightly chilly Butterley Train Station platform at 10AM on Sunday 6th September 2009. Four of our Staggering Stories team (Karen, Jean, Keith and myself, Adam) stumbled onto the platform to be greeted by The Colin Baker posing next to a black Dalek. Probably an unusual sight for this particular museum train station, I’ve not had the chance to return on a different morning to see if Colin and Dalek are there again – I rather doubt it.
I can’t remember the order of the meetings but, like a coalescing star, somehow the podcasters were drawn together on the platform – the geekest of the geek horde that had invaded the heritage railway station. Kindred spirits!
The steam train to take us on to the giant shed that was to host Whooverville was waiting at the platform as we arrived. It was, however, lacking a ‘fireman’ (a coal shoveller) so we were late getting away. That wasn’t a problem, though, as it gave us more time to talk amongst ourselves and have a wonderful photo taken for our albums:
In the above photo (taken by podcaster Nat Titman from Bridging the Rift), starting at the the left we have –
Back row: James Rockliffe from Whocast and Dad’s Army podcast, James Naughton from Podshock and Hitchhiker’s Guide to British Sci-Fi, Jean Riddler (holding the Head of Pertwee) and Karen Dunn from Staggering Stories, Marty Perrett from Whocast and Box Room, Dave Cooper from Cultdom Collective, Luke Harrison from the Minute Doctor Who Podcast.
Front row: Keith Dunn and Adam Purcell from Staggering Stories.
The celebrity panels were, for me, less compelling than simply hanging out with the numerous other podcasters on hand. That’s not meant as a slight on the guests as they were all very interesting people but in many ways I felt like I knew the other podcasters, it was like catching up with old friends! Besides Tony and Jo (and the rest of the Staggering Stories team, of course!) I hadn’t ever actually met any of the others. I doubt an outsider would have had any clue that was the case.
For the most part I immediately recognised my fellow podcasters on sight – I’d seen their faces in pictures or videos. Any doubt (still photos don’t always give a perfect representation) was immediately dispelled when I heard their voices.
Steve Hatcher, who appeared to be the main driving force behind the Whooverville convention, invited us podcasters along for the express reason of getting us together on the stage for a Podcast Panel. That was a masterstroke for getting us all together. I think it is fair to say that no previous British event had brought together so many Doctor Who podcasters. Fortunately he didn’t have any dastardly plan to wipe out a good percentage of the world’s Doctor Who podcasters – it would have been the perfect opportunity had he done so, though!
Here we are on stage for the Podcasters Panel:
In the above photo (taken by podcaster Jo Cummins from The Flashing Blade) starting from the left we have –
Back row: Tony Gallichan from The Flashing Blade, Michael from the Tin Dog Podcast, Karen Dunn and Adam Purcell from Staggering Stories, Marty Perrett from the Whocast and Box Room, Dave Cooper from Cultdom Collective, James Naughton from Podshock.
Front row: Nat Titman from Bridging the Rift and Luke Harrison from the Minute Doctor Who Podcast.
The podcast panel itself was lively and fun, at least from my point of view on the stage. A very slight (surprisingly slight) trepidation accompanied me onto the stage but it was very quickly dispelled. I’m hardly a natural public speaker but facing the onlooking crowds was a lot easier thanks the eight friends on stage with me.
By the time all of us were up on stage and settled (squeezing 7 chairs on the small stage was not an easy task!) we had already spent about three minutes of our half hour time slot. That left us with only about twenty-seven minutes to fill. With seven and, when Nat and Luke quickly joined us (sans chairs!), soon nine of us on the stage it’s not hard to burn through such a short amount of time – most podcasters tend to easily fill an hour or two, rambling away each week!
The podcast panel itself wasn’t quite what I’d expected. I’d assumed it would be a round table affair, with a mic each or a series of mics along the table that picks us all up. That wasn’t quite what we had, instead there were about three handheld mics that we were passing between us. I’m not sure if that was a good or bad thing. The downside being that it made the panel a little more stilted than it might otherwise have been. On the plus side it stopped it getting too far out of hand and minimised any one person hogging things too much! On balance, it was probably for the best!
Let me wind things back to the previous evening, for a second. It didn’t really all start on the train platform as six of us actually met up at the hotel the night before (one of which being Jo, who doesn’t appear in either of the photos above):
In the above photo (taken by myself) starting from the left we have –
Tony Gallichan and Jo Cummings from The Flashing Blade, Jean Riddler, Karen Dunn and Keith Dunn from Staggering Stories.
So, that was Whooverville 2009. There is much more to be said about it. Seek out all the podcasts mentioned above (especially their episodes directly after 6th September 2009) to hear more. Fear yourself to tales of The Colin Baker meeting the Head of Pertwee and more! Also seek out Staggering Stories Podcast 54 – ‘Hounds of the Whooverville’ for more of our Staggering thoughts on it.
The attached audio file (MP3) features a few more words from me and, more importantly, the recording of the Podcast Panel I made on the day. The background noise is a bit overpowering sometimes but hopefully it is nonetheless intelligible. Enjoy!