Hello everyone! 🙂
I’ve seen two birthday presents I had from my parents last month in May!
These are two DVDs focusing on the famous (or infamous) two-day ‘Doctor Who’ convention held in Longleat in April 1983 to celebrate 20 years of the show. Those of you who remember Longleat in 1983 will know what the convention was like and that it was a crowded event with a lot of things going on.
The two DVDs are ‘Longleat ’83: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy?’ and ‘Longleat ’83: The Lost Footage’. Both DVDs were produced by Reeltime Pictures (who made the ‘Myth Mykers‘ interview DVDs). The first DVD was released in 2004, whilst the second DVD was released very recently in 2015.
I’ve had my fair share of conventions over the years and know what counts as a good and bad convention. ‘Longleat ’83’ was a successful ‘Doctor Who’ event in 1983, but the organisers miscalculated the numbers that were going to attend. Many people couldn’t get in and many had to queue there.
From seeing these two DVDs, I enjoyed seeing what the event was like. I wished I was there in 1983. But to be honest, I’m glad I wasn’t as I know I wouldn’t have got in. I wonder how this event compares to the London Excel event that was held in 2013 for the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’. I couldn’t go to that one either.
However, I found the reasons for why the Longleat convention worked and didn’t work enjoyable and entertaining to listen to and see. The DVDs have made me reflect how my experiences of conventions today compares to back then. They must’ve been so exciting for ‘Doctor Who’ fans in the 80s.
The first DVD, ‘Longleat ’83: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy?’, is a documentary presented by John Leeson (voice of K-9) focusing on the highlights and analysis of the Longleat convention. It also contained the five convention panels focusing on all the five eras of ‘Doctor Who’ back then in 1983.
The five convention panels were a highlight for me, including the Fifth Doctor panel. Sarah Sutton (my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion) was also there at Longleat, as well as Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Mark Strickson; Anthony Ainley himself (amazing!) and Valentine Dyall himself (WOW!!!).
I did enjoy seeing the First Doctor panel with Carole Ann Ford; Nicholas Courtney and two relatives of William Hartnell including his wife Heather. I enjoyed the Second Doctor panel with Patrick Troughton; the Third Doctor panel with Jon Pertwee and the Fourth Doctor panel with Tom Baker.
The convention panels, whilst great to see, were hard to hear sometimes. This was because the video and sound quality was sometimes poor, even in the convention panels’ complete duration. But I still enjoyed them and it was so interesting to see what the stars of ‘Doctor Who’ were like back in 1983.
The second DVD, ‘Longleat ’83: The Lost Footage’ was a bonus companion DVD to the first one. It contains more video footage of the convention that hadn’t been seen before. This included the auctions; workshops; autograph signings and the convention panels with improved sound quality.
So the two ‘Longleat ’83’ DVDs I saw were very enjoyable insights into a very popular and well-known ‘Doctor Who’ convention amongst the fans. I’m glad I wasn’t there as I know I wouldn’t have got in. But I enjoyed seeing the convention panels and was very pleased to see Sarah Sutton in them.
Thanks for reading!
Bye for now!
Eh by gum lad i remember this only two well being on the news about how long the queues were & how the production weren’t equipped to cope with the shear volume of people who turned up.
I remember Jon Pertwee was quite upset Tom Baker wouldn’t interact or acknowledge the other actors to have played the part & he sat upstairs with crowds of fans who wanted his autographs, thankfully Tom’s mellowed now & admits he was wrong to do that which is why he did anniversary special & audio.
Great review of the DVDS Tim, you somehow manage to take me back to my childhood & allow me to enjoy & relive the experience i had during the shows 20th Anniversary in 1983.
There’s a great documentary of this on The Five Doctors Special Edition dvd.
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Thanks for your comments, Timelord Simon. Glad you enjoyed my DVD reviews on the ‘Longleat’ convention.
I’m surprised the organisers miscalculated the numbers for the ‘Doctor Who’ conventions in 1983. You’d think they’d be well-prepared for this kind of event. Sadly they weren’t. I felt sorry for those who couldn’t get in and had to wait for hours in the queues to meet their favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stars. I know how I’d feel if I was in that position.
I didn’t know that Jon Pertwee was upset that Tom Baker wouldn’t interact with the fellow actors who played the Doctor at the Longleat convention. That’s the first time I heard that from you, Simon. I can understand how hurt Jon would have felt. I know Tom Baker was proprietorial and dismissive when it came to being the Doctor. But yes, I’m glad he’s made it up recently by appearing in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ and ‘The Light at the End’ for the 50th anniversary. I’m pleased Tom was on a Five Doctors convention panel stage with Peter; Colin; Sylvester and Paul at the same time in Milton Keynes, 2012.
I found these DVDs of the Longleat convention very interesting as I wanted to find out what it was really like. I found the DVDs very in-depth; self-explanatory and enjoyable to watch.
I did like seeing Sarah Sutton at the convention on the DVDs. She seemed to be really shy in the conventions videos on the panel with Peter; Janet; Mark; Antony and Valentine. I would like the opportunity to meet Sarah back in 1983 and find out what she was like in those days. 😀
I did see the Longleat convention covered in the making-of documentary of ‘The Five Doctors’ on the special edition DVD. That was the first time I was aware of the convention when watching the making-of documentary.
Thanks Simon. Very pleased you enjoyed my insight on the Longleat convention on these two DVDs.
I’m pleased these DVD reviews helped you to relive 1983 and the 20th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ again! 😀