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Timelash – A Review of the First German Doctor Who Convention

Over the weekend of the 24th and 25th October, in the German town of Kassel, Doctor Who fans gathered from across Europe to meet and greet some of their heroes at the first ever dedicated convention in the country, Timelash.

The Timelash Banner. (Photo by Timelash)
The Timelash Banner (Photo by Timelash)

Through the hard work of three people, Pascal Salzmann, Ralf Schmidt and Simone Violka the idea of Timelash was brought into reality via numerous crowd-funding ventures. Then a location was found, guests were approached and booked, plus the thousand and one other jobs of trying to organise a convention began.

Timelash organisers (from left to right) Ralf Schmidt, Pascal Salzmann and Simone Violka. (Photo by Pascal Salzmann)
Timelash organisers (from left to right) Ralf Schmidt, Pascal Salzmann and Simone Violka (Photo by Ronald Hulsmann)
Timelash crew and guests. (Photo by Matthias Sehring)
Timelash crew and guests (Photo by Matthias Sehring)

But it all proved a huge success over a very well attended and enjoyed weekend. A great mix of guests from the series, both Classic and New, entertained the fans throughout. These included writer Terrence Dicks and Script Editor Andrew Cartmel, the 8th Doctor Paul McGann, 1980’s companion Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown), Davros actor Terry Molloy, voice of the Daleks (among other monsters) Nicholas Briggs and Paternoster Gang member Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint).

The autograph hall. (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
The autograph hall (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
Paul McGann (8th Doctor) signing autographs. (Photo by Pascal Salzmann)
Paul McGann (8th Doctor) signing autographs (Photo by Ronald Hulsmann)

One of the organisers, Pascal Salzmann, said of the weekend…. “I still cannot believe the enthusiastic response by everyone who attended the convention. Everyone is coming up to me, thanking me for bringing Doctor Who to Germany. And as you can clearly see, it was about time! When we started to plan this event we wanted it to be a convention where fans would meet, dress up, have fun together, see their stars and talk to them in a familiar atmosphere. We basically wanted to create an event that we would like to attend, as we are fans. And I am glad it worked.”

Nicola Bryant (with Terry Molloy in background) talking at a panel. (Photo by Pascal Salzmann)
Nicola Bryant (with Terry Molloy in background) talking at a panel (Photo by Ronald Hulsmann)

Away from TV other aspects of Doctor Who were well in evidence. Jason Haigh-Ellery, executive producer for Big Finish audio was there, alongside author Nev Fountain who has contributed a number of stories for them. Also present was all-rounder Toby Hadoke, well known for his stage show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, as well as moderating DVD commentaries and some roles for Big Finish.

The Big Finish Panel. From second left, Jason Haigh-Ellery, Nick Briggs (with microphone), Nev Fountain, Nicola Bryant, Terry Molloy (in kilt), Paul McGann and Toby Hadoke. (Photo by Timelash)
The Big Finish Panel. From second left, Jason Haigh-Ellery, Nick Briggs (with microphone), Nev Fountain, Nicola Bryant, Terry Molloy (in kilt), Paul McGann and Toby Hadoke (Photo by Timelash)

More specific to German fans was voice actor Michael Schwarzmaier (6th and 7th Doctors) who provided dubbing for the classic series on the TV network and Kai Taschner, who is the dubbing director for Doctor Who during the 9th Doctor and first 10th Doctor series.

Terrence Dicks talks to the fans. (Photo by Pascal Salzmann)
Terrence Dicks talks to the fans (Photo by Ronald Hulsmann)
Catrin Stewart (with Toby Hadoke in background) enjoying a panel. (Photo by Pascal Salzmann)
Catrin Stewart (with Toby Hadoke in background) enjoying a panel (Photo by Ronald Hulsmann)

One of the fans in attendance, Tony Chamberlain from Cardiff, had this to say about the event weekend. “The venue, the panels, the displays, the guests…..everything about the convention was carried out flawlessly. Full kudos to Pascal, Simone and all the other organisers for a great weekend.”

Tony Chamberlain and Andrew Cartmel. (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
Tony Chamberlain and Andrew Cartmel (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

Overall, the convention has proved to be a huge success, with most of the guests expressing the wish to return. Indeed, any fans wishing to attend Timelash 2 should set aside the weekend of October 15th and 16th 2016 in their diaries, as the organisers get busy planning for the next event.

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Pascal Salzmann Timelash Convention Founder Interiew

Pascal Salzmann is one of the organisers of the first German Doctor Who convention, TimeLash, which takes place on the weekend of 24th and 25th October 2015 at the KulturBahnhof facility in the city of Kassel, in the northern Hesse district of Germany. This e-mail interview with Pascal took place on 1st February 2015.

Hi Pascal. Firstly, can you tell me a little bit about how you came to create the first dedicated Doctor Who convention in Germany?

A Doctor Who Convention for Germany has been on my mind for quite a while. In the last few years the popularity of the show increased and after sold-out cinemas at the 50th anniversary I felt the show finally “arrived”. We are now getting DVD releases of the Classic Show and also German translations of the novels, which I heard sell very well. So a Doctor Who convention has always been a No-Brainer to me. There are several other sci-fi/fantasy conventions established in Germany already but when fans asked for actors from Doctor Who they usually got a reply “too niche” for Germany or something along those lines. I never believed that.
I later met Ralf Schmidt at the 50th Anniversary Event in London and found someone who also believed in the idea of a German convention. Also he had experience with the convention scene, as he hosted the “Weekend of Horrors” Convention in Germany. Later Simone Violka joined us and the three of us founded the TimeLash Event organisation.
And the reception we received was amazing from the start. So much that not long after we began to announce details, another huge Con in Germany announced two actors from Doctor Who. I am not sure this would have been possible without the positive reactions we received for the TimeLash.

TimeLash logo

Of the guests announced so far, which one has excited you most?

Although it isn’t my favourite era of the show, I am looking forward to meeting Nicola Bryant. I met her before several times by coincidence but I don’t think she will remember me.
I am also excited to meet Catrin Stewart, who plays the wonderful Jenny Flint. I’m also watching “Stella” right now, so I appreciate her in that show, too.
And I’m also very, very excited for the Doctor-actor. Due to complicated reasons we cannot reveal which Doctor is coming to our event, though we are hoping to announce who that is in a few weeks. I’m sure he will make many fans very happy.

How many guests are still to be announced? And can you give any hints about them?

Well, when we started out developing the convention we planned with three guests. And look where we are now! Our budget is limited, though we have just added Big Finish writer Nev Fountain to the line-up.
Our guest list is finished for now, with the exception of the Doctor.

What are your earliest memories of Doctor Who? Which story or stories got you hooked?

Paradise Towers. I watched it on German television in 1993. I was eleven and it hooked me right from the start. After that I watched Greatest Show in the Galaxy and Curse of Fenric. I then found some German versions of the Target novels in my local library. One of them had a chapter about the history of the show. In 1994 I went to London for the first time in my life and discovered all the wonderful Doctor Who merchandise. Not long after I subscribed to the Doctor Who Magazine and found out about a German fanclub. I think the club had around 15 members back then. But it was great to get together with other fans. Otherwise it could get very lonely as a fan in Germany in the 90’s.

You also set up last year what has become a very successful discussion group of Facebook dedicated to the missing episodes of Doctor Who. Which story would you most like to see returned in full and why?

Oh, there are so many. I especially love The Daleks Masterplan, as it feels really epic and it has so many magic moments: Katarina’s sacrifice, the Sarah Kingdom-arc, her gruesome death. This has to be one of the bravest Doctor Who of the 60’s and I would really love to see it in its entirety.

Tough one I know, but which is best, Classic or New series?

I love them both, for different reasons. Is this reply satisfying enough?

Who is your favourite Doctor? And who is your favourite companion?

These things change for me constantly. Right now Patrick Troughton is my favourite and I really love what Series 8 has done with Clara Oswald as a companion.

Returning to the convention, what aspect of it are you most looking forward to?

We have so much exciting things planned, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. Toby Hadoke will perform one of his shows. I’m very excited for this as I wanted to see him live for years. Never being able to come to the UK when he was touring, I just invited him to Germany. We will also have a Cosplay-Contest with some exciting prizes for the winners.

How much time do you estimate has already gone into the preparation of the TimeLash convention?

Hard to say. Most of my free time in the last few months. We have been preparing the event since September 2014.

What has been the most challenging part of organising TimeLash? And the most fun?

Challenging and fun has been to contact and communicate with all the agencies of the actors. It is something I wasn’t used to, but I think I learned a lot on the way and most of the agencies have been very helpful.
Organising an event like that is always challenging. Every day there are new challenges. But if it was not fun, I wouldn’t do it.

Where can people find out more about TimeLash?

You can find out everything about the TimeLash at our website http://www.timelash-event.de. So far it only exists in German but we are planning to do an English version, too.
If you want to be up-to-date with the latest news, then like our Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/timelashevent.
And then there is our Crowdfunding site at Indiegogo: http://igg.me/at/timelash/x. You can pre-order tickets from there. The campaign runs until 12th March 2015.

Pascal Salzmann, thank you very much for your time.

Thank you.