Is There a Doctor in the Building?

Stephen Irvine, 22 May 2013

For those fascinated by the history of group violence in this country, from the running beach battles fought between the mods and rockers through to the rampaging football ‘firms’ of the 70s and 80s, there has always been a rich supply of references within popular culture to revel in. Whilst most people at least pretend to frown upon the conduct of the louts, people such as the great Danny Dyer have been able to forge their entire careers on the public’s fascination with this behaviour, and the voyeurs amongst us got another satisfying fill last week as news of a clash between two of the UK’s nastiest firms hit the headlines.

Norwich Star Wars Club

An event that was always likely to attract a large quota of highly-charged nutters, The Norwich Star Wars Convention ventured to the dark side last Sunday as visiting members of the Doctor Who-affiliated Norwich Sci Fi Club were refused entry by their deadly rivals from the Norwich Star Wars Club. Think Millwall fans turning up mob-handed at West Ham for an idea of the terror that must have visited Norfolk that day, as scores of middle-aged men in fancy dress bickered over whether Star Wars was better than Doctor Who.

The Norwich Evening News chillingly described the events that lit the touchpaper of violence, as there was ‘a bitter exchange outside the venue, sparked by the arrival of Jim Poole, treasurer of Norwich Sci Fi Club. He was asked to leave the convention as he approached Doctor Who actor Graham Cole for an autograph.’ The report went on to describe how there had been a long-running feud between the groups, so just imagine the Star Wars fans’ anger when the Doctor Who mob turned up on their turf, failed to pay their respects to the Rebel Alliance, and then had the audacity to mingle with an actor from their own show.

Doctor Who Fans

Tellingly, the Guardian’s coverage of the incident, superbly titled ‘Science Friction,’ included a quote from Norfolk police which confirmed that while they had decided that there had been no assault, ‘the two rival groups were spoken to and advised to keep out of each other’s way.” Fantastic. Just imagine two angry mobs so geeky and pathetic that they can’t even manage to assault each other in a fight. This was their big chance to use those Anti-Regeneration Guns and Imperial Stormtrooper E-11 blaster rifles in the car park of the University of East Anglia, and they blew it. Both camps lamely told the Norwich Evening News that ‘they hoped they could resolve their differences and share their love of sci-fi.’

I would like to sign off with a joke about the afore-mentioned Danny Dyer returning with a new series on Bravo called Danny Dyer’s Most Dangerous Nerds, but having seen some of the things they already commission on that channel, you couldn’t rule it out.

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