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Lowering tone of Time Lord.

I am one of the Directors of 10th Planet. We organise and provide guests for Doctor Who conventions around the UK and the USA.

To myself and many of the people I have spoken to it seems your video report labels the majority of fans as geeks and nerds, which is insulting and very untrue.

We had over 450 attendees from all over the UK and as far as the USA and Australia.

The weekend was a celebration of Doctor Who, bringing together fans from all backgrounds: doctors, managing directors, teachers, website and magazine editors, bus drivers, engineers, students and, of course, children.

The current version of the show has won countless awards and is watched by millions of people around the world.

I am disappointed your reporter decided to voice over the event in a negative way. We raised over pounds 1,000 for charity, something not mentioned in your report, nor were there a few words from the organisers.

It was what we would have expected about 20 years ago - people making fun of others for their interests in a TV show. Would you do the same if attending a Middlesbrough FC fan event? They "dress up", chant and sing songs, are they not just the same as other types of fans?

Being passionate about a football team or TV show does not make you a geek or sad, just someone who belongs to a group of like minded people.

PAUL TAYLOR, Director, 10th Planet Events

*** ***

I WAS part of the Saturday Night Cabaret (my travelling theatre group were providing a spoof of a Doctor Who story) and I didn't see any of the vast majority of the clichAs your journalist referred to.

It is a very tired argument that all sci-fi fans are "nerds" and "geeks" and, frankly, an astoundingly inaccurate one. Even if a few fans dress up as their favourite character, they only do it on one weekend every year.

With Doctor Who a global success and family-friendly show, we should encourage people to come to these fun-filled events, not trying to put them off.

BARNABY EATON- JONES, The OFFSTAGE Theatre Group

*** ***

I WAS offended by the tone and the angle of your coverage of the Doctor Who convention.

You didn't focus on the fact this was a celebration of the UK's most successful TV programme, but on the erroneous, overplayed misconception that the show's fans are "geeks, freaks and nerds".

It wouldn't be newsworthy to report that 400 people turned up at a Stockton hotel and got very drunk and had fun would it?

Your reporter focussed on those who had dressed up and the minority who are obsessive. This perpetuation of the myth that science-fiction fans are socially inept weirdos is a sad reflection of our sneering culture.

If this was a gathering of football or music fans I'm sure the tone would have been different. People dressing up in appreciation is no different from football fans wearing replicas of their team's strip - the difference is that Doctor Who fans don't parade their fanhood on a night out or shopping at Netto or appearing on the Jeremy Kyle Show!

No Doctor Who fan is going to let unprofessional media coverage and childish sneering like this persuade them that there is anything wrong or "sad" in appreciating such a finely crafted TV series.

TIM HIRST, York

*** ***

I MUST protest at the tone of your report on the Doctor Who event.

Firstly, the eight million people who enjoy Doctor Who are not all geeks or nerds.

People could learn a lot from not only Doctor Who fandom, but the programme in general - about tolerance, integration and sociability.

I suggest you issue an apology not only to the millions of Doctor Who fans you have offended, but also to the organisers of the event who had worked tirelessly for months to create a professionally run, enjoyable family event.

B GRIFFIN

*** ***

OVER the last 40 years, Doctor Who and its spin-offs in various media have preached tolerance, compassion, care and has encouraged people to reach their full potential. Doctor Who fans come together and put this into practice.

A diverse group of people meet regardless of age, sex, sexuality, race, nationality, social status or mental or physical health or ability.

A small number of fans display good old- fashioned British eccentricity by wearing costumes or building replica props and models from the series - usually in the cause of charity. Is there anything wrong with this in a free society?

Unlike fans of certain other, seemingly more acceptable aspects of modern culture, we do not practice hooliganism, we do not taunt those who do not share our allegiances or travel abroad to assault fans of foreign sci-fi programmes.

The best part of the entire weekend was meeting a new group of friends and staying awake until the early hours socialising, quietly drinking and putting the world to rights.

DR RICHARD PARKER

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SADLY, as seems to be commonplace, your video piece about the Doctor Who convention has labelled the majority of fans as geeks and nerds which is insulting and untrue. One fan travelled from Australia, others from America. The event raised money for charity.

The weekend was a celebration of something we Doctor Who fans have enjoyed for nearly 43 years. Conventions are marvellous social occasions and the narrow viewpoint taken by your reporter is disappointing.

ROBIN PRICHARD

EDITOR'S NOTE: No offence was meant in our coverage of this convention - an event we cover annually, usually without criticism. The video report is meant to be a light-hearted, affectionate look at a colourful event.

* TO VIEW the video for yourself go to our website, gazettelive.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Gazette Letters
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 20, 2006
Words:948
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