Dust off the fez and bow ties as the BBC has announced the official Doctor Who Convention will be held at the Wales Millennium Centre next year in Cardiff, the Welsh capital where the series is filmed. What makes this convention different from the others?  It will be run by the BBC and, according to their press release, will be offering exclusive access to various aspects of the show not available at other conventions.

The Official Doctor Who Convention is being billed as the “ultimate event for the Doctor Who enthusiast.” Attendees of the convention will get a unique insight of the show and see the behind the scenes work that goes on to make Doctor Who the iconic show that it is. They will be able to get up close and personal with rare costumes and props and speak with the designers and experts who will be there to answer questions about their origins and history. There will also be a live prosthetics application demonstration from the Millennium FX team (the people who created the Silence, Silurians and the Ood among other monsters) as well as a recreation of a spectacular battle scene with live pyrotechnics, explosions and laser effects by Doctor Who special effects wizard Danny Hargreaves. Special interactive Q&A sessions will be available for attendees with various cast and crew members and each attendee will receive a Doctor Who Convention souvenir pack upon their arrival. There will also be photo and autograph sessions with cast members at an additional cost.

Matt Smith and executive producer Steven Moffat are already confirmed to appear at the convention as well as Marcus Wilson (producer), Danny Hargreaves (special FX supervisor) and Michael Pickwoad (production designer).  More special guests from seasons 5 and 6 will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

The convention is being touting as a one day convention held on two days (March 24 and 25) from 9am – 6pm and will be limited to 1,500 attendees per day. This fact alone indicates the uniqueness of the event. As the schedule will be the same for both days, the BBC is “encouraging” ticket buyers to choose which day they would like to attend.

Tickets go on sale at 9am UK time on Monday, November 14 and will run at £99 (that’s $157.72 US). Autographs or photos with Matt Smith will run you and extra £25 each ($39.83 US) while the same with Steven Moffat will cost £20 ($31.86US). Per the convention site’s ticket page, because of the time constraints, the BBC is only allowing one photograph or autograph per ticket booked and will be on a first come, first served basis.

According to the Doctor Who News Page, Moffat said of the convention:

“A whole weekend dedicated to all things Doctor Who, brilliant! We’re going to be celebrating the whole team behind the show, people who bring to life the Doctor’s craziest adventures and letting fans into some of our trade secrets. If you want to get under the skin of Doctor Who this is an unmissable event!”

Smith also commented on the announcement saying:

“It’s brilliant that the first official convention is being held in Cardiff, the home of Doctor Who. I’m really looking forward to seeing the fans there, and remember – bow ties are cool!”

The Official Doctor Who Convention will be an event unlike any other. As a Whovian across the pond, it does sound exciting and one that I would love to participate in if it weren’t so far away. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Official Doctor Who Convention site.