Comic Con is always a highlight. If you’re like me, then the dealer’s hall is great fun, wandering around spotting fun t-shirts and retro toys from your childhood (oh how that G1 Metroplex was tempting), alongside spotting glimpses of famous faces from the various shows I’ve enjoyed over the years.
This year, I attended on the Sunday, so it was a bit quieter than the busy Saturday. The signings had been moved up to a new area upstairs, overlooking the river, which made for a much nicer, bright, open area. Various cult figures were present, including Jimmy Vee, Ray Park, Margot Kidder and Sean Astin.
However for me, there was one guest I had to see. The Sixth Doctor himself, Colin Baker.
Now, I’m the first to admit I can be a bit of a wimp when it comes to approaching celebrities for autographs or photographs. There’s been many events where I’ve chickened out of going up to the likes of Frazer Hines or Claudia Christian. I’m that guy standing off at the side trying to catch sight of someone famous and then talking myself out of actually meeting them.
However this was different. I wasn’t going to let this opportunity escape me. And now I’ve not only got Colin’s autograph, but he also kindly agreed to some photographs for a small donation to the dogs charity he is a patron of. He was as charming and welcoming as reports have always said and he remains a great ambassador for Doctor Who.
Now I could relax a bit, and it was back for a circuit of the dealer’s hall, and checking out the Cosplay area with the more professional groups (such as the 501st Storm Troopers). Then it was onto the panels. I didn’t have the time to attend more than two, but the two I did go to were of the same format, a basic Q&A and provided some great stories.
First up was John Challis. Fresh from filming the new one off special of Are You Being Served he happily discussed the feelings on set, the idea of filming a new version of something so well known (yes, the classic gags are still there) and how much fun they’d all had. He did a great job of regaling the crowd with stories from filming Only Fools, including the origins of Boycie’s famous voice which landed him the part and talked about working with David Jason, including a lovely story involving David Jason’s hero worship of his Open All Hours co-star Ronnie Barker.
Of course the inevitable questions about playing Scorbie in the Doctor Who classic Seeds of Doom arose and he lamented the loss of some of his great co-stars, including the late Liz Sladen, and also an incredibly funny story of Tom Baker’s enthusiasm for his Jimmy Stewart impression.
A break for lunch and then it was time to take seats for the Colin Baker panel. It was a little late due to the Sean Astin panel overrunning, but as that was a panel you had to pay extra for, I had to appreciate Mr Astin giving the fans their money’s worth (as a side note whenever I saw him he seemed really warm and friendly always quick to greet fans with a high five or handshake – and yes I wimped out on saying “Hi” to him as he passed).
As a result of the overrun Colin was happy to dispense with the formalities of an introduction and launched eagerly into the Q and A. What followed was a great panel full of stories I’m sure many reading this would be familiar with while also some new tales I’d never heard before, relating to the horrors of the TARDIS prop on location, and whether he’d consider further reality TV appearances after I’m a Celeb. It was a fairly busy panel meaning sadly not all got a chance to get their question answered (again I wasn’t brave enough to stick my hand up with my Star Trek Continues question), but what really struck me though was not only the popularity of the panel, but how many of those asking questions were in fact young kids. As a bitter old fanboy it’s always nice to see new fans taking the classic Doctors into their hearts as quickly as Tennant or Capaldi.
Sadly the panel was over all too quickly, and it was time for me to leave for home. However it had made for a great day out.