For fans of the cult BBC sci-fi series Dr Who, Stockton was the only place on the planet to be at the weekend. Karen Westcott went along to the country's leading convention.

TIMELORDS from all over the galaxy descended on the North-East at the weekend for a convention that was truly out of this world.

Dedicated Dr Who fans poured into Stockton, Teesside, for Dimensions 2005, where they were able to speak to some of the show's favourite stars, pick up collectors' items and have their photograph taken with Daleks.

About 400 people attended the two-day convention at the Swallow Hotel from as far afield as the US and, while some chose to keep their adoration of the show low key, others went all out to express their devotion.

Wearing copies of their favourite Dr Who costumes, fans paraded in long coats, stripy scarves, floppy hats and even a PVC suit.

But Thelma Loane, from Newcastle, stole the show with her home-made replica of Peter Davison's Dr Who outfit, comprising red stripe trousers, cricket jumper, long cream coat and hat.

Some of the famous faces making an appearance at the weekend included Davison, Annette Badland, John Schwab and Bonnie Langford.

Lindsay Johnson, 21, a student at University of York, and her boyfriend Gil Williams, 20, from Wales, met a year ago after making contact on a Dr Who website.

At the weekend, they wore costumes she had made. She wore a black and cerise pink PVC short skirt and jacket to recreate the 1960s character Zoe, and he wore a black velvet cape and dinner jacket in honour of his favourite doctor, John Pertwee.

Mr Williams, said: "This is my first time at a convention, but Lindsay has travelled to quite a few of them.

"We both love Dr Who and it is so nice to come here and be around other people who feel the same."

Miss Johnson said she believed Dr Who still had such a huge following because it was a lighthearted show that provided escapism and had not become dated.

"I'm a huge fan, but Dr Who fans are not necessarily strange or anything," she said.

"In everyday life, no one would guess I was a Dr Who fan. There is no aura around me and I'm not geeky.

"I did just get some strange looks, however, when I nipped out to get some money from the cash machine."

Derek Hambly, who organised the show as owner of Dr Who store 10thplanet, in Essex, said: "People of all ages come along because I think the show appeals to a variety of people, from kids to adults" he said.

"We have all sorts of eccentrics coming, from a bank manager who deals with massive accounts, to housewives.

"They can have an informal chat and a coffee with some of the actors, they can get all the autographs they want and we have guest speakers, too."

One of the big attractions of the weekend were the remote control Daleks, which were "selling like gold dust", according to Mr Hambly.

Other popular buys were sonic screwdrivers, Tardis money boxes and mugs.

"The fans are the life and soul of the show, so the actors are always happy to come along to the conventions and meet everyone," he said.

Swallow Hotels regional manager Ken Ellington said the hotel was sold out for the weekend and said he would soon start taking bookings for next year's convention.

Before then, on March 11 and 12 next year, the Swallow Hotel will host a Blakes' 7 convention, called Star One.

A weekend pass for the show will be £60, or £37.50 for a daily pass.

For tickets, contact 020 8591 5357.