Just what the Doctor ordered: Marathon signing session by Peter Capaldi boosts charity

Peter Capaldi signed autographs at a convention in Edinburgh for nine hours  to raise funds for CHAS. Picture: Contributed
Peter Capaldi signed autographs at a convention in Edinburgh for nine hours to raise funds for CHAS. Picture: Contributed
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As a Time Lord capable of travelling through dimensions and across centuries, nine hours may not seem like much.

Peter Capaldi demonstrated the kind of unflappable spirit that made him a beloved Doctor Who to legions of science fiction fans as he undertook a marathon autograph signing session on Saturday – taking just one 15-minute break during the process.

Madison Birrall, Penny Moth, Elise Forrest, an unamed Stormtrooper, and Mitch Houston arrive ahead of the 2019 Capital Sci-Fi Con at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow

Madison Birrall, Penny Moth, Elise Forrest, an unamed Stormtrooper, and Mitch Houston arrive ahead of the 2019 Capital Sci-Fi Con at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow

The Scots actor was the main attraction at the 2019 Capital Sci-Fi Con, a three-day celebration of all things science fiction, held at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.

Around 500 people queued patiently for the chance to have a picture signed by the 12th incarnation of the Doctor. He was only scheduled to sign autographs for a couple of hours,

Onlookers were more than impressed. Fan Melissa Johnson, 31, from Newington in Edinburgh, said: “He was just a complete star, a real gentleman. I can’t believe he spent so much time with everyone. He was really kind and asking everyone about themselves, and if they had enjoyed the convention, and thanking them for waiting so long.”

Capaldi’s popularity is good news for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), the charity which collects all proceeds made at the not-for-profit convention. His mammoth autograph signing session raised around £10,000.

Last year’s event raised more than £70,000 for the organisation, which provides hospice services to children, and organisers are confident they can surpass that total this time around.

It was a memorable afternoon for Doctor Who fans – known as Whovians – who were lucky enough to be present. In addition to answering numerous questions on the series from the eager masses, Capaldi borrowed a guitar to lead a group rendition of Starman – the 1972 David Bowie single which tells the story of an extraterrestrial.

It was a case of revisiting one of Capaldi’s earliest passions. Before he found success as an actor, the Glasgow-born performer was a member of a punk rock band in the early 1980s called The Dreamboys, alongside future US TV star Craig Ferguson.

Whovians were further delighted when Capaldi spent time chatting with fellow actor Peter Davison, who played the fifth incarnation of the Doctor.

One onlooker commented: “Historic Sci-Fi geekery here at the Capital Sci-Fi Con. There are two legendary Doctors in the house!”

Other stars of stage and screen to attend the Capital convention included Warwick Davis, best known for his roles in Willow, Star Wars, and the Harry Potter films, and Arie Dekker, the stuntman who played Chewbacca in Star Wars.

Laura Campbell, senior community fundraiser at CHAS, said: “Peter Capaldi went above and beyond yesterday at Edinburgh’s Capital Sci-Fi Con.

“He stayed an hour after the convention closed so he could continue to sign autographs and meet fans who had taken the time to queue to see him. And not only that, he has chosen to donate his whole autograph fee to CHAS.

“We’re so grateful for Peter’s incredible generosity, which will help us on our mission of reaching every family across Scotland who is facing the unimaginable, that their child is going to die.”