By 1977 the very first DOCTOR WHO CONVENTION was held in London and I clearly remember attending it, along with a few hundred others, in the growing fan club.
It was all very much cutting edge stuff at the time. The first WHO fanzines were also appearing, sometimes looking like they'd been written in crayon! There were no home computers then, to do it all easily for you. LETRASET was KING, and very expensive, so the local vicars' duplicating machine gave birth to many peoples fanzine ramblings, rhetoric and retrospectives. A few basic photos also appeared and all of this was exciting stuff, as it was new and there just wasn't much around to look at.
It was at this London WHO event that I met JON PERTWEE for the first time and TOM BAKER for the third (I'd first met TOM in 1975, and LIZ SLADEN in '76- just a week after she'd left, in her final episode as SARAH JANE SMITH).
As every new convention came along each year, we were told of what things to expect in the coming new series of DOCTOR WHO and sometimes shown a new prop or gadget which was yet to appear (but all of which now are ancient history!). I can clearly recall MAT IRVINE telling us in a lecture that one day, in the future, video cameras would be able to record in slow-motion! At that time, slow-motion effects all had to be done on film- the TARDIS spinning in space, for example. These days, the TARDIS is often CGI.
In the following years, between DAVROS' first appearance (GENESIS) and his next (DESTINY), I, with several other fans, made regular appearances at numerous garden fetes and events, to 'represent' the WHO series, in our home made costumes. I was usually in my CYBERMAN get-up and at one memorable event, I met ANIMAL MAGIC TV presenter JOHNNY MORRIS. As I was in full CYBER-costume at the time, my main view of him was through the mesh in the eye holes. So it felt like being one of the caged creatures he visited on TV, as his zoo keeper character.
Increasingly, we became the 'go-to' people in local WHO fandom to help out at these events, so became regulars for a long time. But of all the garden fetes we attended, there is one in particular that REALLY sticks out as VERY special.
In 1978, we turned up as usual, only to find, sitting quietly at the back of the venue, two original BBC TV DALEKS! This turned out to be a long, sunny, fun-filled day for me, especially. I got to pose with them for photos. I squeezed into them to patrol around the pathways, giving people DALEKY-looks. And when everyone had gone home, we stayed behind to play with these original 60s/70s props and made our own little DALEK film!
In the mini-movie, I was usually the one at the back, as I was too tall to move it quickly, because I kept banging my knees on the inside of the casing. These rather grotty condition props had last been seen on TV in GENESIS OF THE DALEKS- one of which had been the one to give that famous end speech to camera, in episode six. During their absence from TV they had been painted from grey to silver and gold. AND, as I now know all these years later, one of them was the famous KATY MANNING prop- just a year after 'those' photos had been taken. If only that sink-plunger could speak!
Apart from having my photo taken sitting inside it, during our filming, I also first had to work the DALEK, then get out and be some 'passing dude' who got exterminated by it, then get back in and be the DALEK again! That was a great, fun day for all of us, and one I shall never forget.