When I was 13 I was lucky enough to attend the Doctor Who Celebration at Longleat in 1983, so I was tempted to buy a ticket for this event out of a sheer sense of nostalgia if nothing else.
Back in '83 (when home video was still in its infancy) there was a chance to sit and watch Classic episodes that hadn't been screened since they were first transmitted. This was where I saw my first Troughton adventure for example.
There were huge marquees full of stars from the show running all day long, practically back to back and all for the price of admission. I got autographs from Baker and Pertwee without paying £15 a pop.
There were costume workshops, make-up workshops, props and sets out on display, masses of merchandise tents and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in attendance. I spent the best part of half a day watching them explain how the music and effects were made. It was a two day event and there was something different crammed into each day. Of course, it turned out to be far more popular than anticipated and for those who didn't get in it was chaos. But for those able to attend both days, it was a proper once in a lifetime experience that sealed my love of the show till this day.
Then I took a closer look at what is actually being offered at the 50th event in London. It's the same event, with some different faces, for three days in a row.
Essentially, the opportunity to buy merchandise with some window dressing, predominately from the current series. A stunt workshop? Walk like a Doctor Who monster? Even if it is aimed at kids/families there doesn't seem to be enough to engage them for the best part of a day, especially if you haven't invested in a super expensive Tardis ticket. It's telling that on their suggested schedule they've allowed you an hour for shopping.
Sadly there are very few of the iconic Dr Who stars still alive who could attend and make this a proper celebration of the show's entire history. No Nick Courtney, Liz Sladen, Mary Tamm, Barry Letts, Caroline John and of course previous Doctors like Troughton or Pertwee. It's highly unlikely Christopher Eccleston will rock up, which means you won't get even the three modern Doctors together at once. And you could probably pick up autographs from the same actors from any number of conventions, most likely without paying a premium.
When you compare it to the recent Star Wars Celebrations (even the London one which unfairly got some stick for not having enough going on) this event certainly takes the biscuit.
It feels like a cost-conscious exercise in brand recognition, marketing and pr rather than a genuine celebration. More guests and maybe more things to see and do will be added to make things a bit more stellar, but it seems a bit much to start selling tickets for something that feels at best like a work-in-progress.