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Article — Survival 1994 Review

First Published:
N/A, was written for Data Extract

Publish Date:

What a kind review this is. I recall getting a phone call late on the Monday night before the con(vention) from Doctor Who Club of Victoria president Richard Nolan, asking if I’d put Sonic Screwdriver in to the printers already. ‘Yep,’ I say. ‘Well, get it back from them. Sophie’s not coming. Matthew hasn’t paid for her plane ticket.’ So into the wee hours I chopped and changed about half-a-dozen pages which had concentrated on Sophie (including the front cover), and thankfully they hadn’t started printing when I turned up with the replacement pages the next morning! I repeat again, what a kind review this is.

A convention in your home city with Sophie Aldred, Sylvester McCoy, Katy Manning and Kate Orman? Sound good? Of course it does! And that, apparently, was what we should have had at Survival, held November 25-27 at the Novotel in Melbourne. But we didn’t.

First Katy Manning dropped out — and I have heard much debate on how this exactly happened. Was she ever going to even be in Australia at the time? Sylvester McCoy was labelled as provisional all the time, I’ll concede. But I could have lived with his absence given all else was OK. That’s when I got the shock news — no Sophie Aldred! (And, grumble, grumble, it meant I had to re-do half a dozen pages of Sonic Screwdriver and get it to the printers the next day…) You’ll no doubt see the full story on that within other parts of this issue of DE. Subsequently, Kate Orman decided not to attend the con, leaving it with zero guests! She was certainly not ‘so devastated she could not attend’, as the flier at the registration desk claimed!

I turned up Friday afternoon — there was a lot of confusion, both with the Novotel staff and the organisers of the con, and the opening ceremony ended up starting around 7pm. This basically consisted of explanations on the absence of the guests, followed by a few video premieres. The Red Dwarf Smeg-ups tape was certainly fun, but the whole thing had an empty air to it due to the absence of guests and the low number of people there — maybe only 60 (including helpers and hucksters)! The funniest bits were later on, with the Red Dwarf karaoke, and a few inspired performances.

Come Saturday: the day started off with videos — and kept going with videos. There were a grand total of two panels during this convention, an inexusably low number. Someone forgot to do some pre-planning… There was no official programme — a large sheet of paper was instead continually updated as it was worked out. One addition was certainly welcome — on the Saturday afternoon, and then for the banquet, Sandra "Cybermum" Reid made a surprise attendance. She is a great guest, very personable, and helped stave off complaints (and, plug, plug, her last fan appearance before she returns to England next year will be at a Doctor Who Club of Victoria meeting).

To the banquet — well, it was fairly run-of-the-mill and low-key. Humble me got up to accept three Double Gamma Awards on behalf on regular Sonic Screwdriver contributers. The play afterwards was, however, an absolute shocker. Had these guys and gals ever even seen Doctor Who? Brilliant CyberHeads, though. Following I went to the Laser Game Zone 3 competition — good fun there!

Sunday was fairly empty as Canberra attendee Scott McLauchlan put it, there should have been so many panels so that ‘people would have had something to do other than hang around watching the videos of Doctor Who being run on the Doctor Who Club of Victoria’s hucksters table.’ Aw, shucks. We even got in trouble when we put on a clips tape that resulted in just about everyone at the con crowding around our table, thus creating ‘a fire hazard’ to those jealous of the attention we were getting!

I left before the closing ceremony — reportedly I missed little there. Overall, the feeling at the con was not too bad once the lack of guests was recovered from — but only having maybe 90 people didn’t help, and the chronic lack of panels or competitions (anything but videos!) really doomed the con. A lot more could have been done — and should have been done, if you’ve got people paying $85 for the three days, and more for the Banquet and Zone 3.

P.S. I would like to point out, in my capacity as a committee member of the Doctor Who Club of Victoria, that the DWCV was not in any way an organiser of this con (as a number of people still seem to believe).

End of Article

Here’s the list of the Doctor Who articles available here
A Bit of Adric in All of Us
Ace Timeline
Cursed References
Doctor Who Collectible Card Game FAQ
Doctor Who Collectible Card Game Tips
Doctor Who in America
History of the Daleks
History of Doctor Who
History of the fanzine Sonic Screwdriver
How I Killed a Fanzine (or, What’s an EFG?)
Survival the (Con)vention
The Doctor and I (First Memories)
The Doctor and I (1985 — Move to the USA)
The Doctor and I (Organised Fandom? Huh?)
The Doctor and I (Doctorin’ Ithaca)
The Doctor and I (Back to Melbourne)
The Doctor and I (Whovention)
The Doctor and I (David, Meet the DWCV)
The Doctor and I (Enlightenment)
The Doctor and I (The Blankety Blank Era)
The Doctor and I (Q Who)
The Doctor and I (DWCV Committee, Meet David)
The Doctor and I (Whovention II (Control))
The Doctor and I (Sonic Screwdriver, Meet David (and Marco and Matthew))
The Relative Confusion of The Curse of Fenric
What Makes a Warrior?
What’s in a Name?
→ Or just head back to the Doctor Who Index

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This page last updated by David J Richardson on Wed, 8 Jan 2003.