A GROUP of fans organising a charity science fiction convention have persuaded the Doctor himself to materialise.

Actor Paul McGann – the eighth leading actor in Doctor Who – has been announced as a guest at the SF Ball, to be held in Bournemouth next month.

B Jones, one of the organisers of the event at the Carrington House Hotel, said: “We are thrilled to be able to announce it.

“We’ve been stalking him for months.

Other guests will include Marina Sirtis of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Chris Barrie (Red Dwarf), Sophie Aldred (Doctor Who), JG Hertzler and Robert O’Reilly (both of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and Paul Blake (Greedo in the original Star Wars).

Paul McGann played the Doctor in the 1996 TV film of Doctor Who, but fans’ hopes of a series were dashed.

“It was made when Doctor Who was pretty dead,” said B.

“I think they were hoping for a regeneration but the time wasn’t right and maybe the story wasn’t strong enough.

“I think now people are looking at it and saying ‘We wish we had seen more of this’.”

McGann carried on playing the Doctor in a series of audio dramas released on CD.

He returned to the role last autumn for a TV mini-episode called The Night of the Doctor, to mark the show’s 50th anniversary.

The SF Ball runs from February 7-9. McGann will join golden ticket holders at a cocktail party on the Friday before giving a talk on Saturday morning and signing autographs for £20 from 4-6pm that day.

“He can only do Friday and Saturday but it does mean golden ticket holders can meet him at the cocktail party, which is great,” said B.

Other attractions at the event will include a “corridor of monsters” – consisting of 15 full-size Doctor Who monsters including Weeping Angels, Clockwork Robots and Ood.

Guests will be able to have their pictures with the aliens.

The event, which is the 20th SF Ball, will raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

“We are the only fan-run charity convention left in the country,” said B.

n Tickets for the whole weekend have sold out but there is still the chance to buy entrance tickets for Saturday or Sunday, which cost £5 (children free) and include entrance to the exhibition hall, dealers’ stalls and signings – or tickets to either day’s talks (£35, children £15).

Some tickets will be available at the door from 9am but visitors are recommended to book online or arrive early to avoid disappointment.

More details can be found at sfbevents.com/sfball