Nerd-Off! ‘Star Wars’ Club and ‘Doctor Who’ Fans Get Into Altercation at Sci-Fi Convention
The force was not with two rival fan clubs last Sunday after a verbal altercation between the groups at an English sci-fi convention had to be broken up by police.
In a report that sounds more like something out of “West Side Story” than science fiction, the BBC writes that the Norwich Star Wars Club was celebrating its fourth annual Norwich Sci-Fi and Film Convention, when members of the rival Norwich Sci-Fi Club showed up, purportedly to get the autographs of two actors from the long-running “Doctor Who” TV series who were appearing at the event. Members of the Star Wars Club noticed the other members’ presence — one of them was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the club’s name — and the police were called, with the tipster complaining someone had been assaulted.
After law enforcement arrived, they interviewed witnesses and reviewed closed-circuit television footage, concluding no such physical confrontation took place. (Maybe the club just used Jedi mind tricks?)
“The two rival groups were spoken to and advised to keep out of each other’s way,” a police spokesman told the BBC.
Sunday’s confrontation was nothing new, according to Jim Poole, the treasurer of the Norwich Sci-Fi Club, which is set to put on its own convention in the city later this year. Poole was the one wearing the t-shirt promoting his club, and said he was also the one to call the police, complaining of verbal abuse. Though he acknowledged that the two groups have had disputes in the past, he said Sunday’s spat was blown out of proportion — and also had nothing to do with deep-seated disagreements over differing sci-fi series.
“This wasn’t a fight between ‘Star Wars’ fans and ‘Doctor Who’ fans with lightsabers and sonic screwdrivers drawn,” he said. “It’s a bit sad and pathetic. We’re all in the same boat. We’re not in competition.”
Dominic Warner, secretary of the Norwich Star Wars Club, echoed those sentiments, adding that any ill will between the two clubs was in the past, and that the groups would try to work together more closely in the future to avoid incidents like Sunday’s.
“It does sound comical,” Warner said. “People that dress up in costume are labeled geeks and some people laugh at us, and this just makes it even more so.”