Saturday, 5 August 2017

London Film & Comic Con 2017- A Detailed Review

Guests met and discussed in this review (with the franchise(s) I most associate them with personally) :-

• Alyson Hannigan (Willow from “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” & Lily from “How I Met Your Mother”)
• Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock from “Sherlock” & Doctor Strange from the “M.C.U.”)
• John Cleese (Basil Fawlty from “Fawlty Towers” & Nearly-Headless Nick from “Harry Potter”)
• Alan Tudyk (Wash from “Firefly”, Alpha from “Dollhouse” & K-2SO from “Star Wars”)
• Alexis Denisof (Wesley from “Angel”, Sandy Rivers from “How I Met Your Mother” & Viktor from “Grimm”)
• Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee from “The Walking Dead”)
• Emily Kinney (Beth Greene from “The Walking Dead”)
• David Morrissey (The Governor from “The Walking Dead” & Jackson Lake from “Doctor Who”)
• Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell from “Game Of Thrones” & Cressida from “The Hunger Games”)
• Conleth Hill (Varys from “Game Of Thrones”)
• Pilou Asbaek (Euron Greyjoy from “Game Of Thrones”)
• Finn Jones (Danny Rand from “Iron Fist” & Ser Loras Tyrell from “Game Of Thrones”)
• Jessica Henwick (Colleen Wing from “Iron Fist” & Nymeria Sand from “Game Of Thrones”)
• Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne from “Game Of Thrones”)
• Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley from “Harry Potter” & Brian Williams in “Doctor Who”)
• James Phelps (Fred Weasley from “Harry Potter”)
• Oliver Phelps (George Weasley from “Harry Potter”)
• Matt Lucas (Nardole from “Doctor Who” & Various from “Little Britain”)
• Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski from “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them”)
• Benedict Wong (Wong from “Doctor Strange”)
• Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”)
• Zoe Wanamaker (Susan Harper from “My Family”, Cassandra from “Doctor Who” & Madam Hooch from “Harry Potter”)
• Bernard Cribbins (Wilf from “Doctor Who”)
• Edge (Wrestler)
• Christian (Wrestler)
• William Regal (Wrestler)
• Wai Ching Ho (Madame Gao in “Daredevil” & “Iron Fist”)
• Sacha Dhawan (Davos from “Iron Fist” & Ajay from “Sherlock”)
• Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood from “Harry Potter”)
• John Carroll Lynch (Eastman from “The Walking Dead”, Varlyn Stroud from “Carnivale” & Twisty The Clown from “American Horror Story”)

Two quick notes before we get started...

1) If this is your first time on "Shangel's Reviews", I'm currently reviewing every single episode of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" in depth. A list of all the reviews I've written so far can be located here. Yes, I haven’t written one in a while due to my Master’s degree, but I am starting up again really soon now that the Master’s degree is over.
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With that being said, let’s dive in...

Ahh, the blank page. One of many, many pages that shall be filled over the next few days as I review my weekend at ‘London Film & Comic Con’ (‘LFCC’ for short) in extensive detail...but where to begin? How about I start with a few sentences about myself, as the LFCC review always brings in new eyeballs? My name is Shane, alias ‘Shangel’. That’s pronounced ‘Shane-gel’, not ‘Shangle’. I’ve been writing about television shows and reviewing conventions for almost four years now, and I’ve been attending conventions for just about a decade. Writing was something that never really interested me. Like, at all. Then, after attending ‘Hallowhedon 5’ in 2013 – a convention dedicated to the works of Joss Whedon – I was struck by a sudden desire to write down my experiences in extensive detail so that I’d be able to recall everything vividly a decade or two down the line. After some urging from writer extraordinaire, Kes Butters (rest in peace, you utter legend), I decided to transform my experiences into a blog for others to read too. This was complimented by my reviews of every episode of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” (I swear, I will finish those now that my Master’s is over). Four years later, the blog averages nearly half a million hits a month, which equates to over 300,000 unique readers a month. It’s humbling, it’s incredible...and it’s a little weird. In a good way.

As far as LFCC goes, this was my 9th straight time attending...jeez, that makes me feel old. I started attending back when the event was small. When you could arrive half an hour before doors opened, roll into the venue, join the back of a reasonable sized queue, and meet some of your favourite sci-fi stars for £10-£15. Over the years, I’ve seen the event grow. I’ve seen the queues get longer, the prices rise higher, and the event become something of a staple of geek culture in the United Kingdom. 2014 was the year that really changed the game for LFCC in my opinion. It was largely down to Stan Lee. Stan’s appearance at LFCC 2014 was advertised as his last convention appearance in Europe. Ever. Therefore, thousands of people flocked to Earls Court 2 in order to not miss arguably their last chance to meet one of their icons. 2014 and 2015 were transition years, as the attendance seemingly doubled (or felt that way), while Showmasters tried to figure out how to organise an event larger than anything they’d seen before. In 2016, they cracked the code. Gone were the layout problems, overcrowding, and sometimes questionable organisation that had plagued 2014 and 2015, instead replaced by air-conditioning that you could feel, space to swing yours arms, expert organisation, and a damn good line-up of guests. Alas, as far as I’m aware, no day sold out in 2016. This time, LFCC Saturday sold out. Could Showmasters do as good of a job as they did in 2016, even with a sell-out Saturday and therefore more attendees to deal with? Let’s find out.

LFCC, by nature of possibly the largest Comic Con of its kind in Europe, is always a mixed-bag. On the one hand, they bring in guests that nobody else currently could in the UK. MCM might be able to in some cases, but it’s only the past couple of years that MCM have really started putting effort into their guest line-up. For me, from an A-List perspective, LFCC still currently puts the ‘King’ in ‘United Kingdom’. On the other hand, A-List guests means higher prices, longer queues, and way less time with them at the autograph table. As someone who largely attends conventions for time with the guests, this is always something of a drawback. Of course, twenty seconds with a hero is still better than no seconds. ‘LFCC’ is such a large franchise by this point that the queues will always be long, your time with the guests will always be limited. Yet, that’s not to say that you can’t have an amazing time. I’m a glass half-full kind of guy, so I always go in with realistic expectations and anything above and beyond that is a bonus. Thankfully, there were some damn good bonuses at this event.

I must note that this review largely comes from my own personal perspective of the convention. I try to address overarching issues that many others may have had too, but 95% of this is my own personal opinion based on my own personal experience. Others may disagree with some of what I say, which is totally cool with me. We all have our own unique versions of the experience and I’d love to read about your personal views in the comments section at the end of this review or on social media, so don’t be afraid to get in touch! Speaking of, before getting into the meat of this review, I would like to thank all the attendees at LFCC that came over and said “hi” to me or offered words of love and support about the blog and my reviews. With all three days combined, more than a hundred people came up to chat about the blog or say something kind, which was a very humbling experience.

This year was the first time I applied for press for an LFCC event. I always assumed in the past that the blog wasn’t big enough to grant a successful application, so I skipped it. This year, I gave it a shot...and it worked! I was successful! Booyah! The plus side to this was that I could rock up as doors were opening at 9:00am all three days. Gone were the three hours of sitting on a hard arena floor – or historically outside in the elements - waiting for doors to open. The drawback is that press are let in at the same time as regular attendees. So, if the press are let in at 9:01am instead of 9:00am, you find the guest area already crowded with people by the time you get there. It makes getting low virtual queuing numbers difficult at times. It varies day-to-day, which is weird. On Saturday we were let in at 9:01am, but the regular entry attendees were let in early, hence it was chaos (more on that later). On Sunday, we were let in at 8:58am, which meant relaxation. It may sound like inconsequential, petty nonsense, but trust me, at an event this size every second counts.

Before diving into the play-by-play section of the review, let’s look at some general positives and negatives of LFCC 2017. The first thing that springs to mind is that it was a tale of two conventions. The first convention being the organised, relatively relaxed, accommodating LFCC Friday and Sunday, while the other was the overcrowded, hot, chaotic, sometimes aggressive LFCC Saturday. Almost all of the complaints I have or that I’ve read about stem from LFCC Saturday. Firstly, as briefly mentioned above, the general entry ticket holders were let in 5 minutes early, which is drastically unfair for gold ticket holders. Last year, the gold ticket holders were accidentally let in at 9:00am, the same time as regular attendees. One of the biggest perks of buying a gold pass is that you get let in at 8:45am. You can enter at your leisure, grab low virtual queuing numbers for diamond guests (gold ticket holders don’t need V.Q.s for non-diamond guests, they can just join the back of the autograph queue), and have a pretty relaxed start to the day. Gold ticket holders were assured that the same wouldn’t happen this year and it didn’t...they let general entry in early instead. As far as I’m aware, this just happened on the Saturday, but it still meant that gold ticket holders were arriving in the autograph area, only to find that regular attendees had beaten them to the punch. Not cool. It’s definitely something that needs to be addressed as Showmasters can’t seem to get it right for gold ticket holders and regular ticket holders on all three days of LFCC. Some days it’s perfect, other days of the same weekend it’s chaos.

Furthermore, the diamond pass collection system was different to last year and in my opinion it was a step in the wrong direction. Last year, you joined the entry queue and about an hour before opening, the crew would come down the entry queue, pluck out the diamond pass holders, take them over to collect their diamond pass, then return them to the same place in the queue. This time, you had to choose diamond pass collection or to join the entry queue upon arrival. This meant you’d likely be queuing for 20-30 minutes to collect your diamond pass, then go and join the entry queue, which meant that you were way further back than you ought to have been going on last year’s system. I’m curious to see what the problem was with last year’s system as I don’t see why the overhaul was needed, particularly as it seems to have created more problems than it’s solved.

Virtual queuing! Virtual queuing is a beautiful thing. It allows you to take your place in the queue, without physically having to be there until later. For events of this size, virtual queuing is both useful and necessary. For those unaware, in essence, you get a slip of paper with a number on it and there is a board next to the guest saying what numbers have been called (1-20, 1-40, 1-60, etc.). You can join the queue any time after your number has been called. However, there are a couple of issues that come with this. Firstly, people pile through the entrance area after opening, running up stairs, barging each other out of the way, in order to get as low of a number as possible. The “no running” and “no shoving” rules need to be enforced more vigorously. I saw someone knocked off their feet, I saw dozens of people running (not pace-walking, running) was anarchy. Particularly on Saturday. The other problem with virtual queuing arises when the virtual queuing tickets aren’t taken away from you when you join the queue. There were so many examples of people meeting the guest, then giving the V.Q. ticket to someone else. That’s great for the “someone else” as they may not get the opportunity to meet the guest otherwise, but it’s unfair to the person holding V.Q. #301 if a guest only signs up to #300 that day.

As LFCC Saturday sold-out, if felt very overcrowded in places. I’m sure that the attendance number did not exceed the Olympia’s maximum capacity for the space used, so technically there is nothing wrong with the amount of attendees that were there, but it was obvious that 90% of the attendees were going to congregate in the autograph and studio photo areas, while other areas were virtually empty. Getting to Photo C at 2:00pm on Saturday was a chore in itself. Too many people to move more than a couple of steps every 5 seconds. It was very claustrophobic and was not something that happened last year whatsoever. I understand that bigger guests = more people, more sweat, and more stress, but it doesn’t have to reach claustrophobic levels. I suppose the plus side was that as some areas were pretty empty, you could run away to those to recover and receive some much needed air-conditioning while waiting for the next activity on your agenda to start.

Speaking of Photo C on Saturday, all of my photos there were not called in batch order. Instead, they called diamonds, then golds, then all the batches together, which negates the whole system in the first place. You’ve got to call in the correct order if that is the system in place. Not doing so will only cause complaints. On the plus side, outside of Photo C on Saturday, every other photo area on all 3 days were superb. I’ll get into more on that later. Finally, we have prices and “no posed photos” signs. More and more talks seem to be chargeable at LFCC over the past couple of years. One of the coolest things about LFCC historically was that if you had limited money, you could always go to the talks and enjoy the experience. Now, a large percentage of them seem to come with costs. Furthermore, more guests than ever before had “no posed photos” signs up. Even people who weren’t very busy. Yes, some guests choose not to do it, which is totally fine, and some guests are too busy to do it, which is totally fine too. However, there seems to be story after story of certain guests being happy to do them, but the sign going up anyway. I overheard one guest having strong words with a crew member for this very reason, stating that she’d do table pictures whether the sign was up or not. Could this be an attempt to drive studio photo sales? Probably. But, interestingly, it also detracts from autograph sales. Some people decide to skip an autograph if there is no chance of a picture at the same time. It’s just another of those disheartening cases whereby everything seems to come with a price at LFCC these days...and those prices are always rising, which, granted, is happening across the board at conventions in the UK, not just at LFCC.

Now that the negatives are out of the way, let’s look at the positives. There was certainly more positives than negatives overall by some margin, particularly on Friday and Sunday. Firstly, all studio photos came with a protective sleeve for the first time this year, which was a cool touch. Con pros like myself always bring protective sleeves anyway, but it’s a great way to help others protect their photos until they can get them home. The air conditioning throughout was working, you could feel it, and it was lovely. The only exception to that rule was the guest signing area. I’m not sure if there was no air-conditioning in that area or if you just couldn’t feel it due to the volume of people, but the guest area was sweltering. To the point where two guests apologised to me for the heat. However, the photo areas, concourse, and merchandise areas were all lovely and cool pretty much throughout the entire weekend. Considering the sweaty guest area, less people were smelly than previous years by some margin. I legitimately was only surrounded by two smelly people all weekend, which shatters the previous record. Historically there has always been a ton of funky-smelling people at LFCC. Like, witnessing a teenager burst into tears when a man next to her lifted his arm up. That’s the levels of funk we were previously dealing with. Bravo to you anti-perspirant wearing people! Bravo to the people wearing clean clothes! Bravo to the people who’d picked up a toothbrush or a bar of soap in the week leading up to LFCC! You did yourselves proud.

The space available was used pretty well. Having photo areas A, B, C, and D next to each other was a great idea. It really helped with clashes. Most of the guests were also placed in areas that could accommodate them. The only problem day was Saturday as guests like Natalie Dormer and Conleth Hill were not placed in the headline guest section, but were instead in the secondary guest section, while Pilou Asbaek was on the concourse with a massive line. Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much Showmasters could do about it as there were more headliners than there were spaces available at the back of the hall for the headline guests (excluding the special guests that get walled off from the peasants). At least Pilou was moved into the secondary guest area by Sunday. For the photo area, I do think that big whiteboards or screens would be very useful. It could show who the photo is with and what has been called so far. Would save the crew’s voices! Also, speaking of the photo areas, 99% of the crew were phenomenal. LFCC’s M.V.P. crew member, Phil, was leading the charge for Photo A. You can’t ask for a better crew member in that role. He keeps people out of the white lines and he ensures that the process runs smoothly. Other standouts include the gentleman organising Benedict’s photo line (Photo Area G) on Saturday and the bearded gentleman organising Photo Area B on Sunday. His voice was so loud and clear! I could sit against the back wall by Photo Area B, relax, and still know exactly what had been called because he was so loud and clear. Phenomenal job! Almost all of my 23 studio photos started on time or not long afterwards too, which is helpful as my schedule was pretty full. If delays started happening, it would have fallen apart very quickly. The only notable exception was the Phelps twins on Saturday morning as their shoot started about half an hour late.

Finally, the crew. The unsung, often unpaid heroes of LFCC every year. Everybody seemed to be in high spirits, trying their best, and doing a great job. Some of the newbies had that familiar deer-in-headlights look, but even they did a great job! The only thing that was needed on occasion was more of them. Sometimes the crew felt understaffed, but the crew that were there were fantastic. Kudos to all for making the weekend so special for so many people.

Everybody ready for the play-by-play?

Coming into the event, I was hit with a plethora of cancellations. Cancellations such as Mike Colter, Doug Jones (that broke my heart the most), Marc Blucas, Derek Jacobi, Joseph Marcell, Tom Pelphrey, Kenny Johnson, Aimee Garcia, Ron Perlman, Robert Hardy and D.B. Woodside. Yikes, that’s a lot of cancellations! Still, in a roundabout way, this was a blessing. As it was, over LFCC weekend, I ultimately had 17 autographs to get and 23 studio photos, and it was a chore. I got it all done, but it damn near crippled me by the end. If you throw the above into the mix as well, I’d have been fucked. Hard. With a rusty ladle. On the plus side, excluding Dougie, all of the guests that I was the most desperate to meet all came. I was particularly worried about Natalie Dormer (after her cancellation on LFCC 2014) and Emily Kinney (who has cancelled on multiple Showmasters events before)...but no worries! Aly, Alexis, Tudyk, Dormer, and Kinney were all present, alongside Steven Yeun, Conleth Hill, Pilou Asbaek, and all the other incredible people I was salivating over the prospect of meeting...not literally. That would be awkward. It would make me memorable, sure, but not for the right reasons.

Myself and my friends Hannah and John departed Gloucestershire a little later than we usually would for LFCC weekend thanks to the press passes. It was a 5:30am leave, ready for an 8:00am arrival, giving me time to collect my Alan Tudyk diamond pass (see above for that fiasco), collect mine and Hannah’s press passes (you can only get a maximum of two per outlet, so John slummed it with the generals for the weekend), and get into the event. My Friday itinerary was pretty relaxed for my standards :- studio photos with David Morrissey, Finn Jones, Wai Ching Ho and John Carroll Lynch. Autographs from David Morrissey, Emily Kinney, Alan Tudyk, Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, Wai Ching Ho and Sacha Dhawan, plus have a catch-up chat with Daniel Portman, who requested that I go over and tell him my Master’s degree result once I got to the venue because he knew I was getting it over LFCC Friday. 4x studio photos, 7x autographs, 1x chat. A piece of piss in theory, a piece of piss in reality.

With my first photo session not until 11:45am (David Morrissey), I had two and a half hours to start collecting autographs, get into a rhythm, have a look around, familiarise myself with the location of everything, and get into the Comic-Con spirit. As I’ve mentioned before, that first autograph of the day is always the hardest for me. Believe it or not, I suffer with some social anxiety and I need to get those conversational juices flowing before I’m ready to kick ass and give my 50% of a decent conversation. The first way I do this is to familiarise myself with the layout. Get comfortable, work out my schedule for the day, and try to settle down a bit. The second way I do this is to start by meeting someone I’ve already met before where possible. The ice is already broken...and, mercifully, 99% of guests seem to remember if they’ve met me before, which means the ice is broken from their side too. On this occasion, I’d met David Morrissey before at the University of Gloucestershire earlier in the year, but he wasn’t at his table. I’d met Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick a couple of times before and they were at their tables, so I started with them. Just as an aside, a big pet-peeve of mine is guests not being at their autograph table ready for opening or at least arriving shortly afterwards. So many guests here didn’t show up until 9:30am-10:00am...or in Alan Tudyk’s case, 11:00am. I feel sorry for the dude in the brown-gold jacket that was #1 in Alan Tudyk’s autograph queue and had to stand there for pretty much two hours waiting for Alan to arrive. Yes, these things happen at pretty much every convention, but they shouldn’t. On our way up the stairs to the photo areas, we saw ‘The Big Bang Theory’ living room prop replica and oh my days did it look shoddy. It looked half the size of the TV version, it wasn’t screen-accurate, and it definitely wasn’t worth the £10 per photo. I’ve seen some of the photos since the event and the angle of them does help, but it still needs to be screen-accurate at the very least.

Jessica Henwick: Jess’ queue was slow-moving because Jess was spending as much time as possible chatting to everyone, which is very cool. It’s a little easier to do that on Friday or Sunday as it’s quieter (not quiet). As I mentioned, I’ve met Jess a couple of times before and every time I see her again, she’s joined another massive franchise. Literally. The first time I met Jess was at LFCC 2015, just after she’d joined “Game Of Thrones”. I next saw Jess at LFCC Spring 2016, just after she’d joined “Star Wars”. Now, for our third meeting, she’d just joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe via Iron Fist. I mentioned this to Jess, which got a big laugh, and we brainstormed about what other franchises she could join before we saw each other again. “Star Trek” and “The Walking Dead” were leading the pack. Now, I must mention that my delightful friend Jaynee was crewing for Jess that day. For busier guests, when you pay the crew member for the autograph, they’ll ask you if you want it personalised and will write your name down ready for the guest. It eliminates all those awkward spelling conversations with the guests themselves. Jaynee was in a particularly devilish mood and wrote down “Sexy Shane” on the Post-It note. Of course, when I got to Jess, I quickly enforced that I didn’t request the “sexy” part and that it was Jaynee. Well, Jess said that she was going to add the ‘sexy’ anyway. Gosh, what a welcomed self-esteem boost! Jaynee also tried this trick when she was sat at Natalie Dormer’s autograph table the following day, but I quickly changed that Post-It note over. I don’t know Natalie. She doesn’t know me. So it would have looked like I’d requested “Sexy Shane” in the vague hope that she’d give me a compliment – “SAY I’M SEXY, DORMER!”

Just after myself and Jess started talking, Finn left his autograph table next to Jess’. He was either about to make a phone call or was receiving a phone call. There was a speaker between Jess and Finn’s autograph tables playing music that was connected to Finn’s phone. Jess turned the speaker off (otherwise we’d have all heard the conversation), but quickly joked that perhaps she should leave it on for fun. After catching up for a little longer, I told Jess that I thought she was the standout of “Iron Fist”. It’s so great to see some female Asian badasses on the small screen right now, particularly people like Jess and Ming-Na Wen. I asked Jess what the training was like for “Iron Fist” and how it compared to the bullwhip training we’d talked about in 2015 for “Game Of Thrones”. Jess said that time-wise, it was pretty similar. She spent 6 months training on how to use a bullwhip properly for “Game Of Thrones” and spent 7 months preparing for “Iron Fist”. However, she noted that the training for “Iron Fist” was much more intense and much harder work. Although, she did joke that as soon as the seven months was over, she just started stuffing doughnuts for a while. Can’t say I blame her. *Game Of Thrones season 7, episode 2 spoilers* Finn returned to his autograph table as Jess was talking to me about Nym’s death on the most recent episode of “Game Of Thrones” to air before the con. Jess said that leaving “Game Of Thrones” was hard and that she really had to convince Marvel to give her the time off – two days! – in order to return to film Nym’s demise. Finn returned right as Jess said “Nym” and Finn said, “who?” Jess’ response was, “my character in ‘Game Of Thrones’, you idiot.” It was hilarious. A total brother-sister kinda vibe going on with those two. You can tell that they get along really well and have spent a lot of time together lately. After giving away a tease or two for the imminent amalgamation Marvel Netflix series, “The Defenders”, I thanked Jess for her time, said I’d see her the following day for our studio photo, and departed. Guest Type = Conversationalist. Always a pleasure.

(Regular readers, you can skip this section)

“Shangel, what’s a ‘Conversationalist’?”

I’m glad you asked. Many years ago, after attending numerous conventions, I devised a system whereby to categorise my experiences with guests and their level of interaction in order to compare the quality of my experiences across conventions and time. I have O.C.D., shut up. The following three types were found :-

·       The Responder: This type of guest is often polite and friendly. If you ask them a question, they’ll happily answer. If you comment on something, they’ll respond or smile gratefully. However, they won’t carry the conversation forward, you have to. These are the most common type of guest, and this is what you expect when meeting someone at a convention. This is a great category to be a part of.

·       The Groucho/Big Guest: There are two aspects to this category. Firstly, you have the groucho. The groucho is there for monetary purposes or is generally just having a bad day, or is a bit of an ass. If you meet enough people, one of them is bound to be an ass! The grouchos aren’t interested in conversations above a few words. They’ll say ‘hi’ (sometimes they don’t bother with that), sign, say ‘bye’ (sometimes), and you’re on your merry way. Of course, in certain situations this is relevant and expected, which brings me to the second part of this category, the ‘big guest’. Some guests are going to be insanely popular. Such as Stan Lee at LFCC ‘14, who had an entire building to himself basically. When you get a huge queue like that, the guest can’t take a lot of time with everyone. If they did, many people would go home disappointed at not getting to meet them at all. Therefore, the convention company and the guest want to get through as many people as possible. You cannot have a huge guest and expect to get above a minute with them, which is perfectly fair.

·       The Conversationalist: This is easily my favourite type of guest. They’ll answer your questions with a smile, ask you questions in return, and are happy to chat for an extended period of time (extended = above 2-3 minutes), regardless of where the conversation leads or how long you’ve been talking. Obviously, there has to be some cut-off point if there is a queue behind you, but you leave the experience feeling euphoric and like you gained a lot more than just the autograph you queued for.

Feel free to let me know your experiences with guests in the comments below or on social media!

After leaving Jess’ autograph table, it was time to head one table to the right to Finn Jones.

Finn Jones: I love Finn. He’s such a stand-up dude. Always has time to chat, always smiling, always happy. This ‘The Defenders’ promotion must have been killing him a little bit because he looked knackered. Not rough, he was still very presentable and his usual self, but he looked exhausted. Since LFCC, he’s posted that he’s been in London, New York, Mexico and Japan within a week. The jetlag alone must be kicking his ass right now. I first met Finn at LFCC in, gosh, 2013, and have seen him a couple of times since then at various events. However, I haven’t seen Finn in a couple of years. Since he was cast as Iron Fist, so it was awesome to have the opportunity to catch up a little bit. When I last saw Finn, he was about to move to Los Angeles and I was about to start my Master’s degree. Fast-forward a couple of years, I got my Master’s result on this day (Distinction, baby!) and Finn is a leading actor in a Marvel television series. That’s pretty incredible when I stop to think about it. Weirdly, Finn’s training for Iron Fist wasn’t as long as Jessica’s. He had a couple of months to learn Tai Chi and martial arts, while the rest of his training was on set as they were filming the series. Fair play to the man. We also chatted about “The Defenders” and he asked me if I’d seen the most recent trailer that dropped at ‘San Diego Comic Con’ the week before. I said that I had and we had a little bit of a geek-out as Finn talked about  how cool and surreal it was to be working on a show involving Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Finally, I asked Finn how he felt about Ser Loras’ death on “Game Of Thrones” as I hadn’t had a chance to chat to him since his character was killed off. Finn said that it felt weird not being a part of the proceedings for the new season for the first time ever. He also said that he missed the show dearly, but it was time to move on. The King’s Landing plotlines needed to start wrapping up ready for the end-game and Ser Loras was sadly one of those threads that needed to be pulled. Notice how both of the first two guests I met were engaging, gave great eye-contact, answered questions, joined in themselves, and gave me a wonderful experience that went beyond what I was expecting. This is convention guest meetings done right. It doesn’t take much to make us happy with the experience. Guest Type = Conversationalist.

Emily Kinney: I continued working my way down the ‘big guests’ row by jumping one space to Finn’s right, Emily Kinney. Honestly, by this point, it was just great to have Emily show up to an event. It took two years and three attempts, but it finally worked out. To start with, Emily came across as quite reserved. Dare I even use the word ‘shy’. We’re so used to meeting our heroes and being the shy, nervous, anxious ones, that sometimes we forget that the guests are people too with their own individual quirks and shyness. We started by talking about “The Walking Dead”, Beth’s death, and the nature of it. We also talked about what a wasted opportunity it was given that there was so much story left to tell with the character – her reunion with Maggie, dealing with her father’s death, etc. Emily gave good eye-contact and was polite, but I was getting little back in the way of conversation or genuine I used the ace up my sleeve. In preparation for meeting Emily, I downloaded and listened to her debut album, “This Is War”. I mentioned this to Emily and said that I’d really enjoyed it, and her face lit up. Almost literally. The transformation was incredible to behold. She went from being quite shy and reserved, to beaming and chatting about her music. I asked her if a UK tour was on the horizon soon and she said that she’s currently actively looking into it. I thanked Emily for her time and said that I’d see her later in the weekend for the studio photo session. Guest Type = Responder.

Three down, four to go.

David Morrissey: There was just about enough time to get another autograph completed before my 11:45am photo shoot with David Morrissey. Alan Tudyk was still nowhere to be found, Sacha Dhawan hadn’t arrived yet, and Wai Ching Ho was away from her desk. This left David Morrissey. As mentioned, I met David Morrissey a few months earlier at the University of Gloucestershire as part of their “An Evening With...” series. David was there for about an hour and a half, talking about his career, partaking in a discussion, and answering questions from the audience. If I wasn’t a fan of his before (I was), I would have been by the end of the evening. He was so interesting. So articulate, so appreciative, so thankful, and so down-to-Earth. As I approached David’s autograph table at LFCC, he looked up to me, looked into my eyes for a couple of seconds, and said, “we’ve met before, haven’t we?” Correct! Apparently, the first thing he recognised was my Celtic knot tattoo on my right forearm, swiftly followed by the bandana and my ruggedly handsome facial of those three is a lie. You pick which one. We caught up a bit about that evening at the University of Gloucestershire and I told David that I found it inspirational. Legitimately. David is from a working-class family. He did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. He had to work hard to get to where he is now. This “Evening with David Morrissey” took place about 2 months before my final Master’s degree exams and I used this as motivation to revise harder and try even harder. I’m from a working-class family myself. I grew up in a council house, I went to a pretty rough secondary school, and if you’d have asked people when I was 15 or 16 if I’d amount to much, they’d have likely said that I wouldn’t. So, I worked even harder. I revised like a madman....while working two jobs, and I reaped the rewards of that, a distinction. For my non-UK readers, that’s the highest result possible. I told David this and he seemed genuinely touched to hear it and gave me a massive handshake and pat on the back after I told him the result I’d received earlier in the day. He asked me what my next step was and I told him that I have some interviews on the horizon, etc. He asked if I follow him on Twitter (I do) and he told me to tweet him updates on the career front and that he’d help me out if he could and that he’d follow me back. What a legend! Amusingly, we didn’t even get around to talking about “The Walking Dead” or what it was like filming “Doctor Who” in Gloucester! No matter, there’s always time for that in the future. This conversation with David Morrissey was my favourite of the day. He was a total gentleman, easy to talk to, and legitimately happy for me and appreciative. I don’t have enough good things to say about him. Guest Type = Conversationalist.

After half an hour perusing the merchandise stalls, it was time to head to Photo A for my shoot with David Morrissey. He greeted me like an old friend, affectionately slapped me on the chest, and reinforced that I tweet him. Yes, sir. I shall do. With just over an hour to kill before my second photo session of the day, Finn Jones, I decided to tick Sacha Dhawan and Wai Ching Ho off the autograph list too.

Sacha Dhawan: Sacha was a delight too. The first thing I noticed is that his hair is much longer in real life than it is on “Sherlock” and “Iron Fist”. It suits him! Both do actually...he must be one of those annoying people that can pull off any look or style – I’m looking at you, J. August Richards. Sacha told me that I looked great and we started talking about “Sherlock” and what it was like filming the intense fight scene between Ajay and Sherlock in the swimming pool. Answer: wet...and long. Apparently, it was just Benedict, Sacha, and a handful of crew on set for two days to film this, which gave Sacha and Benedict a lot of time to talk and get to know each other. During one break from filming, Sacha happened to mention that he was auditioning for the role of Davos in Marvel’s “Iron Fist”. Benedict got his phone out and started typing away, which Sacha found a bit rude. After a while, Benedict said, “I’m just emailing my contact at Marvel to put in a good word for you.” Sacha got the job and the rest is history! Granted, Sacha is a good enough actor to have gotten the part on his own merits, but having Doctor Strange himself vouch for you isn’t going to hurt your cause at all. After chatting about “Iron Fist” for a while, I asked Sacha about his voice-over role in the “Game Of Thrones” Telltale Games Series as Gryff Whitehill. Sacha loved doing the voice-over work and expressed his interest in joining the show. I told him that they’re about to start filming the final season in a couple of months, so if he wanted to join the show, he better start auditioning quickly. Sacha was my first guest of the day who was offering table pictures, so I politely requested one and Sacha graciously accepted. The picture was taken and I was on my merry table to the left. Guest Type = Responder.

Wai Ching Ho: Another great experience! Honestly, Wai reminds me a lot of my favourite grandmother...only she’s Asian. She has such a warm, friendly face. So happy, so smiley, so excited to be there. I expressed my love for her portrayal of Madame Gao in “Daredevil” and “Iron Fist”. She’s one of the most three-dimensional, interesting villains in the M.C.U. by this point. I asked Wai if she knew she’d be coming back for “Iron Fist” when she wrapped on “Daredevil” and she said that she didn’t know. It was a decision that was made later. As was her involvement with “The Defenders”. We continued to chat about all things Marvel before I thanked Wai for her time and departed. Wai was offering table pictures, but as I had a studio photo booked with her later in the day, I didn’t want to justify making a 73-year-old woman stand up again if it wasn’t absolutely essential. Guest Type = Responder.

Soon after wrapping up my conversation with Wai, it was time to head on over to Photo C for my photo session with Finn. Finn was all smiles, handshakes and greeting people. I love it when the guests take the time to turn to the attendees, say “hi” and offer a handshake. It’s a small gesture, but it can sometimes be the difference between a good experience and quite a cold experience. Finn’s an expert at convention interactions by this point. My photo with Finn went off without a hitch and I even found the time to say “hi” to Laurence Wreford, who’s the agent for so many decent guests these days. As I was exiting Photo C, an idea struck me. I could free up my only photo half-clash on Sunday if I were to get my studio photo with Alan Tudyk on Friday instead of Sunday. My diamond pass said “Sunday” on it, but I asked the crew if it would be okay to do it today instead. They were totally fine with it, so I hopped into Photo A, had my photo taken with Alan, and strolled out of the area feeling as though I’d just solved all my problems.

With just under an hour to kill before my final two studio photos of the day, I decided to go and cash in on my Alan Tudyk diamond pass. Autograph time! One of the perks of being a diamond pass holder is that you get to join the back of that person’s autograph queue. No virtual queuing ticket needed. So when I got to Alan’s autograph queue and was told that I’d have to wait, I was a little miffed. No matter, I didn’t have to wait that long. Before I knew it, I was face-to-face with Wash, Alpha, Wray Nerely, Steve the Pirate, K-2SO, Heihei, and so many more awesome characters.

Alan Tudyk: Of course, the downside to Alan being so late and so popular was that my time with him was relatively short. Not ridiculously short, but about what you’d expect from a guest with that many people in his queue. Alan was everything you’d expect. Hilarious, quirky, awkward, engaging....and a total goofball. Yes, Alan did make the Heihei noise for us – without us even having to ask. Out of all of Alan’s awesome roles, I’ll always have the softest spot in my heart for Alpha. Not Wash, Alpha. Wash was amazing too, but Alpha was where Alan’s acting ability was truly able to shine. From paranoid stoner to frenzied psychopath. We discussed what it was like working on “Dollhouse” and having to flit from personality to personality so quickly. Alan said that it was confusing and all he wanted to do was lie down, go to sleep, and remember who he was. It was a joke, and it was funny. We also discussed the art of working with motion-capture and the idea behind ‘Con Man’. It was recently announced that ‘Con Man’ will be airing on Syfy for the first time soon. I asked Alan if that meant he had enough sway to get them to change the spelling back to ‘Sci-Fi’ like the good ol’ days. Alan quipped, “I wish”, before I thanked him for his time. Guest Type = Big Guest/Responder.

All seven autographs were completed. This just left two studio photos and a chat with Dan Portman on the itinerary. Wai’s photo took place in Photo C at 2:55pm and went off without a hitch. Wai was as delightful as she was at the autograph table...and tiny! Soon after Wai’s photo session finished, it was time to head to Photo B for my studio session with John Carroll Lynch, whom I’ve loved since “Carnivale” in the early 2000s. If funds had permitted, I would have gotten John’s autograph too, but, alas, it was not meant to be. Soon after leaving the photo area, I headed over to Dan Portman. As always, Dan was amazing. He greeted me like a mate, gave me a little drum-roll so I could tell him the result, and he was ecstatic to learn that I’d achieved the distinction I was hoping for. We chatted about my future, career goals, etc., before I told him that I’d seen him in the audience at “UFC Glasgow” a couple of weeks beforehand. Amusingly, they showed Dan on the big screen just after a Scottish fighter had lost and wasn’t able to talk to the audience, so Dan got booed. It was hilarious. We chatted some more about life, the new season of “Game Of Thrones”, and what other conventions he has coming up, before I told Dan that I’d come back and see him on Sunday afternoon to say goodbye before we headed back to Gloucestershire.

As we were about to leave for the day, another idea struck me...I know, be careful. My brain isn’t used to having to work this much. It was 5:00pm. Emily Kinney’s photo session would soon be coming to a close....could I try and tick two of my Sunday photo sessions off the list on Friday instead? I’d already been successful with Alan. Could lightning strike twice? I headed over to Photo B to check and the red shirt working the area said that it was totally fine to join the back of the queue and go in last alongside my friend Gareth, who also had the same idea I did. This meant that my total studio photos for Sunday had decreased from 11 to 9. What a help that would be! It meant that I now had a near two-hour gap on Sunday in order to get any last-minute or missed autographs completed. Without that gap, it would have been very tight, so a massive thank you to the crew for helping out and being awesome. For those keeping score, that was 7 autographs, 6 studio photos, and 1 chat completed on Friday. It was a great start to the hectic weekend that is LFCC. Myself, Hannah and John left the car at the Olympia and walked the ten-minutes to the Premier Inn. It was a triple room, but they’d given us a double and a single, so Hannah grabbed the single and I was left to share a bed with John for the weekend. Thankfully, there was no spoony action. I didn’t wake up to find John wrapped around me like a momma rhino protecting its young. For what it is, the Premier Inn was fine. It was clean enough, tidy enough, and the decorations were just about cheery enough to stop me from hanging myself from the tacky curtain rails. After watching the first-half of “Horrible Bosses” on ITV2 (helloooooo, Jennifer Aniston!), I was out like a light. Thankfully, unlike LFCC 2015, there wasn’t the smell of used, salty condom emanating from the’s a luxurious lifestyle I lead.

Friday, conclude!

Saturday, commence!

Ahh, LFCC Saturday. The most chaotic, anxiety-inducing, crowded convention day of my calendar year. You bring me such joy and yet such dread. I feel as though I’m in an abusive relationship with you. The agenda ended up being pretty similar to Friday, with the only notable exception being that it would be longer queues and harder to get decent virtual queuing numbers. Before leaving the hotel on Saturday morning, I’d decided to skip Bernard Cribbins and Zoe Wanamaker’s autographs. In the case of Bernard, I’d recently met him in March. I’d gotten his autograph (x2), I’d gotten a professional photo with him, and I had a TARDIS green-screen photo booked with him for LFCC. With me having so much to do during LFCC Saturday, it made perfect sense to cut a couple of the less important autographs from the list. In Zoe’s case, I already had a studio photo booked with her and I knew that her autograph line was going to be very busy. As I largely know Zoe from her cameo in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” and her voice-over work in “Doctor Who”, I felt comfortable going for just the studio photo after all. This left me with 8x studio photos and 7x autographs to collect. At your average con, this would be a walk in the park. At LFCC, on Saturday, it might get a little tricky if my virtual queuing numbers were shit or if the studio photos started to run behind and bleed into each other. Something I’ve yet to mention is that the night before departing Gloucestershire for LFCC, I was working out and tore a pretty nasty gash up the inside of one of my thighs. By Saturday morning, it was infected and started making walking pretty damn tough. Every time I’d take a step, my clothing would rub on the wound. Walking around the convention on Saturday and Sunday wasn’t fun. Even worse was walking to the hotel and back each day. I was so fed up by Saturday evening that I was going to catch a taxi back from the Olympia to the Premier Inn. There wasn’t a single taxi in sight, in London, so I decided to walk back in the rain anyway, but suffice to say I wasn’t at my happiest or most pain-free on LFCC Saturday and Sunday.

My friend Phil was right near the front of the regular entry queue. The autographs I was most worried about were Alyson Hannigan, Natalie Dormer, and Conleth Hill, none of which Phil needed, so I asked Phil if he could grab me some V.Q.’s for them as a back-up in case press were let in a little late. Of course, press were let in on time, but regulars were let in early, so my V.Q. numbers would have been shit if it wasn’t for Phil. Massive shout-out to that man. My first studio photo of the day was the Phelps twins, A.K.A. Fred and George Weasley from the Harry Potter movies. It was scheduled to start at 9:20am in Photo B. It ended up starting pretty much half an hour late because the twins were unaware that their photo session was so early. Evidently nobody had told them. Oh dear. This left me in a bit of a pickle as I had Benedict Cumberbatch’s photo at the same time, which would then be followed by John Cleese and Zoe Wanamaker very, very soon afterwards. If everything ran on time, my semi-clashes would have been absolutely fine. As it was, it was stressful. The twins eventually arrived and were great fun. Total gents. I quickly dashed off to the other end of the first floor, Photo G, for my photo with Benedict Cumberbatch. As briefly mentioned earlier in the review, the gentleman organising Benedict’s photo queue deserves a Knighthood. There were so many people, so many batches, so much confusion, and he handled it like a pro. Loud voice, keeping people out of the white lines, answering queries...he did a stellar job. I was Batch #1 of 28(!!!). Benedict had two studio photo sessions that day. One that was nearly two hours long and one that was an hour and a half long. When you include diamond passes, that’s over 3,000 photos by my calculations. How someone can take that many photos in one day and still be gracious, friendly, and greet everyone is a minor miracle. As I was batch #1, Benedict’s energy levels were still high when it was my turn. He greeted me enthusiastically, shook my hand, asked how I was, and looked me in the eye. When you have 3,000 photos to get through, taking this much time with everyone is amazing. Absolutely amazing. Plus, it seemed as though he was up for any pose, was having fun, making jokes, and generally acted as though he was thankful to be there. Class act through and through.

Due to all the diamond pass holders, John Cleese’s photo session was running behind. This meant that John and Zoe’s photos were taking place pretty much concurrently. I had the decision to go to Zoe first as she wasn’t a diamond guest. I got to the front, the photo was taken, Zoe was lovely, and I headed over to John’s photo area. It was just closing and they hadn’t even gotten to the batches yet! Just diamonds...and perhaps golds, I’m not sure. There were 3 people left in the queue. Everyone else was told to come back for the afternoon shoot. Going to the afternoon shoot would have fucked up my schedule royally, so I managed to blag my way into the morning session somehow. The crew basically let me go through because I was going to be so busy in the afternoon. Once again, great crew! Photo A was organised by the legendary Phil and he took care of me and made sure I got everything done in that photo area. Great guy and the best chaotic photo area crew member that Showmasters have. John Cleese was surprisingly friendly and enthusiastically energetic. I was fearful that he was going to be a dick or arrogant, or something, but he couldn’t have been nicer. Plus, 99% of the stories I’ve heard about people’s interactions with John at the autograph table have been overwhelmingly positive too. Looks like John’s first convention was a success! Curious to see if he’ll do more moving forwards. Straight after leaving John’s photo, it was time to head a handful of steps forwards to Photo D for my studio session with Wil Wheaton...or it would have been if it started on time. Wil was about 20 minutes late in the end. No matter, I had a bit of a gap between Wil’s photo and the next one, so it caused me no issues. Wil had a ‘no touching’ policy during his photo session. I know this pisses some people off as they feel as though they’ve paid a lot of money for a photo and they should at least get to avoid that awkward gap between them and the guest. I don’t really have a problem with it as you never know someone’s backstory. They could have been touched inappropriately at events before, they could be germophobes (which I believe is the case for Wil) pay for the photo, not the right to touch them. If they’re uncomfortable with touching, it’s their choice. Plus, there’s always ways to avoid that awkward gap. Get close to them, just don’t touch them. Everybody wins...or, in some cases *cough* GARETH *cough*, ignore the “no touching” completely and put your arm around them. Always knew that man was a troublemaker.

Due to Wil’s photo starting late, it was straight from Photo D to Photo E for my studio session with Conleth Hill, A.K.A. Varys from “Game Of Thrones”. In real life, Conleth has a full head of hair. Not even a receding hairline or a bald patch, or anything. A luxurious, thick bushel of grey locks. I believe this was Conleth’s first convention (barring panels at San-Diego Comic Con, etc.) and I must admit that he looked a little shattered. He was perfectly pleasant when I was interacting with him, however. Top-notch bloke. Straight after leaving Conleth’s photo, it was time to head back to Photo C for my studio session with Jess Henwick. For those keeping score, it’s now 2pm and I’ve done nothing but stand in photo queues all day. Jess had a little iron with her that she would fist-bump people with for the photo if they wanted...Iron-fist, get it? Oh, the wit.

It was four hours until closing. I had one studio photo session left for the day – Bernard Cribbins with the TARDIS console and green-screen at 3:50pm – and seven autographs to collect. On Saturday, the ‘Heavy Metal’ comics magazine team were at the event with Dan Fogler (primarily known for portraying Jacob in “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them”). Dan has recently created a new comic and he was at the event to help promote it. If you bought a £15 ‘Heavy Metal’ comic, Dan would sign 3x items for free and would give you a free selfie with him. Pretty great deal when you think about it...which other people did. The queue was slammed for hours and hours. Dan was supposed to sign for 250 people, but I’m fairly certain he went way above that. He literally left filming for “Fantastic Beasts 2” to come to LFCC for a day, work his ass off, sign for hundreds of people, and then go back to filming. Total respect for that man. Due to the nature of the beast, my time with Dan was pretty limited as he had so many people to get through, which is totally fine. I was just appreciative that Dan was there at all and that he was signing for free and offering free selfies if you bought a £15 comic. It’s a great deal to me! We actually tried to get the autographs done earlier in the day when on a mini-break between photo sessions, but the line was moving so slowly that we had to depart. Later in the day, when we returned, we noticed that the people we were queuing next to were pretty much the front of the queue now, so I asked if they’d mind if we took up our earlier position, rather than joining the back on a very long queue again. They were totally cool with it, so we actually re-joined the queue at the #1 position. Badass!

Natalie Dormer: Natalie was my first Showmasters guest autograph of the day. The first thing I’ve got to mention is that she’s beautiful. The second thing that I have to mention is that she was so much more talkative and engaging than I was expecting! Headliners usually give you a “hi” and a handshake, and perhaps 20 seconds of their time, then it’s time for you to depart. Not Dormer. Obviously, conversations running 4 or 5 minutes weren’t going to be on the horizon as she was so popular, but she looked me in the eye, smiled, asked me how my day was going, where I was from, etc. Then we chatted about “Game Of Thrones” for a minute or two. The experience went beyond what I was expecting, which is always delightful...particularly considering the price-tag of her autograph! We discussed Natalie’s portrayal of Margaery and how it differs significantly from her role in the book series. Margaery is more important in the show. She has more screen time, a deeper character, she’s more complex. In the books, Margaery, thus far, has never been more than a secondary character. Natalie mentioned that she never wanted to portray Margaery as a victim, even when she was arrested and was at her lowest. Margaery was always as cunning and intelligent as Cersei. She was always one step ahead...until she wasn’t. But, even then, Margaery was the only one to sense danger when Cersei didn’t show up for her trial. Margaery didn’t lose to Cersei, Margaery was killed due to other people’s actions who didn’t understand Cersei like she did. It was fascinating to delve into Natalie’s psyche of Margaery like that. I asked Natalie if she was ready to depart the show by the time Margaery was killed off and she said that she was. She was expecting it. Margaery was never going to play a major role in the humans vs. White Walkers war that’s imminent, so there was never any way she’d survive the whole show. She was sad to leave the people and the role behind though. I asked Natalie if she got to keep anything and she told me that she was gifted Margaery’s wedding crown from when she married Renly. It now sits on her bookshelf at home and is one of her most prized possessions. How cool is that?! I thanked Natalie for her time and told her that I’d see her in the photo session the following day. Guest Type = Big Guest/Responder. She totally exceeded my expectations. Kudos to the crew as well for not pestering Natalie to move on faster.

Conleth Hill: Next to Natalie sat Conleth Hill. Earlier in the day, his queue was slammed, but by this point it’d started to thin out as there was only one person in front of me in the queue when I joined the back of it. Bless him, he still looked a bit knackered...or overwhelmed...or boiling hot, given the amount of people and the lack of air-conditioning in the area he was sat. Amusingly, we started by talking about his recent stint on ‘Car Share’ and what it was like working with Peter Kay. We then transitioned into talking about “Game Of Thrones”, his longevity on the show, and what the show has done for tourism in Northern Ireland. I told him that I have this idea that Varys is secretly a ninja – it would explain the outfit – and when the White Walkers get past the Wall and the war properly begins, Varys will bust out some nunchucks and charge headfirst into battle, with White Walkers and Wights dropping like flies around him. That got a big laugh from Conleth – “It could happen!” Guest Type = Responder.

Next up, my studio photo with Bernard ‘The Cribb’ Cribbins on the first floor concourse, which was where the green-screen area was located. Just like when I met him in March, Bernard was hilarious, full of energy, and enthusiastic. For a man pushing 89 years old, he’s physically and mentally stronger than almost any 89-year-old I’ve ever seen! He was lifting 4 or 5 year olds up to sit on his knee, he was joking around with all the staff and the attendees...he is a national treasure in every sense of the word. The green-screen backdrop looks a little sketchy, but overall it turned out pretty well. Any photo that contains The Cribb is a winner in my book. Wilf is still one of my very favourite Doctor Who characters of all-time. He’s incredible. Nothing but love for that man.

It was now 4:20pm. This gave me just over an hour and a half to collect my final four autographs of the day, starting with Pilou Asbaek, transitioning to Sean Biggerstaff, and concluding with everyone’s favourite Buffyverse couple, Aly and Alexis.

Pilou Asbaek: This was Pilou’s first convention and you could tell. Over time, 99% of the guests on the convention circuit develop a barrier. An invisible distance that separates you from them somewhat. They’re the most polite, friendly, professional versions of themselves, but often they take out other parts of their personality too. This is why I love first-timers. They have no barrier, no walls, no overly-stiff professionalism. They’re just themselves. Crazy, open, wild, and hilariously close to who they are in ‘real life’. Marc Blucas was like it at “Prophecy” last year (hey, fuck you, Rogue Events) and Pilou was certainly like it this year. Honestly, all in all, with everything taken into account, Pilou was probably my favourite guest of the whole weekend. Even higher than Aly, Alexis, David Morrissey, Matt Lucas, Natalie Dormer, and William Regal. He was just so much fun! When myself and Hannah were next in his queue, Pilou got his phone out to show the couple in front of him a picture of Mads Mikkelsen and himself that was taken in the green room just before. He took the time to smile at me and Hannah, show us the picture too, and bring us into the conversation, which was great. Evidently, Mads was Pilou’s acting mentor and even Pilou still gets a little star-struck around him. Mads stole Pilou’s beer in the green room and Pilou said, “I’m not telling him off or taking it back off him, it’s Mads fucking Mikkelsen!” Hilarious. Although, now that I think about it, perhaps that’s part of the reason why Pilou was so excitable and interactive all weekend – beer!

When myself and Hannah got to the front and were ‘officially’ meeting Pilou, he continued to be interactive, giving lots of smiles and eye-contact, asking us questions, answering our felt waaaay more like chatting with a mate at the pub than meeting a celebrity at a comic convention. We discussed the most recent episode of “Game Of Thrones” that had aired before LFCC, which involved a massive battle on a ship deck, with Euron (Pilou’s character) making one of the coolest entrances in TV history. The episode was basically Euron’s coming-out party. Pilou said that the fight scene on the ship desk took a couple of days to film and that it was very slippery because of all the water. He said he nearly fell on his ass multiple times. Before coming to LFCC, I read a really small, obscure interview with Pilou, where the interviewer happened to mention that they discovered that Pilou’s first job out of acting school was working as a clown in an amusement park. I asked Pilou what the experience was like and he buried his head in his arms jokingly. He said that the job was so embarrassing and that he made “a fucking shit” clown. He was so bad that people used to throw beer at him. To be fair, that sounds amazing. Suffice to say, his career has only followed an upward trajectory since that time. I mentioned to Pilou that Hannah had lived in Copenhagen (where Pilou is from) for a few months in 2016. They chatted about the area Pilou lived in, which was the same one that Hannah was staying in. Pilou asked Hannah why she was staying there (boyfriend) and Pilou joked, “typical Danishman!” When Hannah mentioned that the male in question had broken up with her, Pilou said, “yep, also a typical Danishman!” Pilou’s love for Denmark was obvious and infectious. He said that unlike most actors, he doesn’t want to live in Los Angeles. He wants to live in Copenhagen, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, write and direct, and help build Denmark’s profile in the industry. Very, very cool. If his line wasn’t so damn long, I could have chatted to Pilou all day and never ran out of material or had any awkward silences. He’s the very definition of a conversationalist. Incredible man, wonderful to meet, always smiling and laughing, swears like a trooper, and he seemed legitimately happy to be there and to meet his fans. What more can you ask for? Guest Type = Conversationalist.

Sean Biggerstaff: Thankfully, unlike most of the guests I met over LFCC weekend, Sean was offering table pictures. I couldn’t fit a studio photo with Sean into my schedule and I must admit that I’d have probably been put off getting the autograph too if it wasn’t for the table picture being available. It just adds something extra to the experience and gives you a picture together to remember the conversation. It’s a great memory! Puts a bow on the whole experience. Sean is best known for portraying Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter movies. Amusingly, one of the things that people say the most about Oliver Wood is that his name is a penis pun. Who did they choose to portray this character? Someone with the surname ‘Biggerstaff’ can’t make this up. Tremendous. Sean was very easy to talk to. We chatted about his imminent involvement with the upcoming Doctor Who audio stories by Big Finish, where Sean will be voicing Jenny (the Doctor’s daughter, portrayed by Georgia Moffat)’s companion. David Tennant will be returning to voice the 10th Doctor too. Soon afterwards, the conversation transitioned to Potter. I asked Sean if his ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ cameo in Deathly Hallows Part II was ever intended to be longer and Sean mentioned that a moment from the book was actually recorded. The moment where Oliver Wood and Neville Longbottom discover Colin Creevey’s body and carry it inside. Sean said that it was a beautiful little scene and it’s a shame that it hasn’t been made available. Gotta say I agree there. Decent conversation, table picture, £15. Good value for money! Guest Type = Responder.

Alyson Hannigan: Myself and Hannah joined the back of the ever-increasing Alyson Hannigan autograph queue at 4:30pm. According to Aly’s board, she was scheduled to be back at 4:35pm. By this point, my mildly infected leg gash was killing me. No matter, Alyson would take all the pain away. 4:35pm came and went, no Aly. We settled into a conversation with my lovely friend Jules. No Aly. 5:00pm came and Aly. 5:15pm, no Aly. Eventually, we were told that Alyson’s photo shoot had run late and that she’d be back at her autograph table momentarily. Special shout-out to the gentleman organising Alyson’s autograph queue. I don’t recall seeing him before, so he might have been new. Lots of people were crowding around Alyson’s autograph area, people were getting miffed with the wait, and he handled himself really well. Kudos! Mercifully, Alyson eventually returned to her autograph table after a two-hour absence. My feet were dead, my leg was throbbing, my energy was depleted, but I persevered. As predicted, getting to the front of Aly’s massive autograph queue took all the pain away. There she was: Alyson Hannigan. One of my very biggest idols and heroes since I was eight years old. I knew that my time with Alyson would be brief. It was her first UK convention, she was very, very popular, and she had two hours worth of lingering people to get through in the next half an hour or so. I got right to the heart of the matter. If I’m going to get 30 seconds with Alyson, I’m going to talk from the heart and make them count.

I thanked Alyson for coming and told her that I discovered “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” two days after my parents separated. If it wasn’t for Buffy, I might not have gotten through that time. If it wasn’t for Buffy, I might not have survived being bullied in school. If it wasn’t for Buffy, I assuredly wouldn’t have survived my two closest friends passing away and my attempted suicide, as after miraculously surviving my suicide attempt – while Buffy was playing in the background – I woke up from a two-hour stupor just as Buffy was giving her “strong is fighting” speech to Angel from the top of a hill in Buffy’s only real Christmas episode, “Amends”. Alyson seemed genuinely touched, she expressed how grateful she was that I’d told her this and that Buffy was there for me throughout my childhood, adolescence and adulthood when I needed it. Just after we paid for my Alyson autograph and were 2nd in queue, a crew member told us that Alyson would no longer be personalising due to time constraints. However, by this point, because I’d already paid, I already had my name written down. Even though Alyson had just been told to skip personalisations, she did it anyway. It was a wonderful touch. I desperately wanted that personalisation, so it was really cool for Alyson to do it anyway, even though I didn’t ask. Guest Type = Conversationalist (more on why during Sunday’s review)

Alexis Denisof: The final autograph of the day. The final thing on the agenda for the day. I’d met Alexis four years earlier at “Hallowhedon 5” and he couldn’t have been nicer. He was captivating on stage, he came down to party with us on the Saturday night, led a Conga line, did the ‘Wesley dance’, and was generally the perfect gentleman and human being. He beamed when he spoke of Alyson and his family, he forbade photo session poses that were too intimate in order to be respectful to Aly, and I left “Hallowhedon 5” citing Alexis as one of my all-time favourite guests. Suffice to say, I was thoroughly excited to see him again. I was Alexis’ penultimate autograph of the day as it was 5:55pm by this point. When I approached his autograph table, he remembered me! From four years ago! Instantly, it transitioned from another autograph table experience to catching up with an old friend because that’s exactly how he treated me. He asked how life had been for me and I explained that I’d finished my Bachelor’s degree since last seeing him and that I’d just finished my Master’s degree and received my result the previous day. When I told Alexis my result, he whooped loudly and shook my hand enthusiastically, congratulating me. He also scoped out that my tie had the Angel logo at the bottom of it. It’s a custom-made piece from Australia that two of my Buffyverse friends bought me for my birthday in 2014. Alexis loved it. In fact, he requested that he sign the back of it for free – “a long-time supporter and friend like you, I’ll sign it for free...just don’t tell anyone.” I showed Alexis where Jonathan Woodward (Knox from Angel) had drunkenly signed the tie the previous year, so Alexis went one step further and signed it in massive writing. It looks amazing.

After catching up on life for a few minutes longer, Alexis started to sign my 8” x 10” picture. As he was still conversing with me, he wrote “Sa” to start “Shane” instead of “Sha”. He said, “Oh shit! Go and grab another one and tell them I fucked it up!” By the time I’d returned, Alexis was with his final autograph collector of the day, so I waited for that to conclude, making myself Alexis’ final autograph of the day. Boom. Once I got back to the front, myself and Alexis started talking about Wesley and how Wesley has the greatest character journey in the entire Buffyverse (he does). His transition from bumbling buffoon in Buffy season three to a broken, hollow, badass in the final episode of Angel is a sight to behold. The character is unrecognisable, yet none of his journey felt forced. It’s incredible storytelling from Joss Whedon, Alexis Denisof, David Greenwalt, Tim Minear, and everyone else involved. I asked Alexis about his role on “Grimm” and what it was like reuniting with David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf for the show. Alexis loved working on the show and didn’t actually want to leave. The intention was for Alexis to return in season five, but as NBC were now only committing to one-season orders of “Grimm” and because the story that was planned for Alexis’ character, Viktor, was supposed to be a long-term arc, it kept getting delayed and was eventually scrapped entirely. It’s a shame because Alexis made for a compelling villain. Finally, we chatted about Alexis role as ‘The Other’ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and what it was like working underneath all that prosthetic and costume. Apparently, Alexis could barely see under the costume and didn’t have the facilities to drink or pee without help. Occasionally, every now and then, someone would put a straw through the mouth of the costume and Alexis would think, “Oh, I suppose I’ve got to drink now.” Hilarious. Alexis is a real-life James Bond...even with his real-life American accent. He’s a handsome devil, the perfect gentleman, engaging, interesting, charismatic, and the perfect convention guest. If Alexis was at every convention I attended, I would meet him at every one. He’s that good of a person. Guest Type = Conversationalist.

One last thing to note regarding Saturday that I couldn’t wedge into the review some point during Saturday afternoon, due to rain build-up or something, a ceiling tile caved in near the back of Alyson’s autograph queue line. I mean, the ceiling tile literally fell down onto the floor. Thankfully, nobody was under it at the time. It would have been just my luck after waiting for 20 years for Alyson to have been walking under it when it fell, to have gotten concussed, and to have cancelled the rest of the event. For the rest of the day, there was a little square patch that was taped-off with a bucket underneath it to catch the drips. For some reason, this is utterly hilarious to me.

Leg throbbing, I decided to catch a taxi back to the hotel...until I couldn’t find an unused taxi whatsoever. In London. Fuck. My. Life. Rather than wait half an hour for one to show up, I decided to hoist my balls up (metaphorically speaking), block the pain out, and walk back to the hotel. That was not fun. The rain actually helped though as it gave me a distraction. Once we arrived back at the hotel, we ate in the restaurant, zoned-out in bed, watched “The Hangover” on ITV2, and all fell asleep to an episode of “Family Guy”, which I’m sure is no reflection on the quality of the show...or is it?

Saturday, conclude!

Sunday, commence!

My review of Sunday will be shorter than my reviews of Friday and Saturday. This is because I only had 3x autographs to collect. The rest of the day was dedicated to 9x studio photos. There’s not much to write about when it comes to studio photos after you’ve already written about the first fourteen of the weekend...well, except Alyson Hannigan, but more on that later. My autographs to attain during Sunday were Matt Lucas, Mark Williams, and William Regal. My studio photos consisted of Alyson Hannigan, Mark Williams, Benedict Wong, Natalie Dormer, Steven Yeun, Alexis Denisof and Alyson Hannigan together, Pilou Asbaek, Edge and Christian, and, finally, Matt Lucas. Compared to the previous day, if everything ran relatively on time, it was going to be a piece of cake.

Press were let into the building at 8:58am on Sunday, which gave us time to get inside the venue, get in the lift, get to the first floor, and get decent V.Q.’s for Matt Lucas and Mark Williams (William Regal wasn’t V.Q.’ing). The first item on the agenda for the day was my studio photo with Alyson Hannigan, 10:05am, Photo B. The queue was long, my anticipation was high, and it started pretty much on time. When I got to the front of the queue, with my arm wrapped around Alyson’s waist and her arm wrapped around me...the camera broke. It literally stopped working. After 10 seconds of waiting for it to start working again, myself and Alyson de-tangled and started chatting one-on-one. Anyone who has read anything on my blog – or knows me at all – knows that I adore “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. I’m reviewing every episode, it was the first show I ever loved with every fibre of my being, and no show has paralleled it (and its spin-off, Angel) to this day. Meeting Alyson at her autograph table the day before was incredible. Truly incredible. Alas, the greedy bastard inside of me that had been waiting for 20 years wanted more. When the camera broke, I was secretly overjoyed...after a brief second of fear, when a little voice in my head screamed, “SAY SOMETHING! ANYTHING! DON’T FREEZE! WHAT DID EMINEM TELL YOU, HUH? YOU’VE ONLY GOT ONE SHOT!” I like to think that my sheer determination killed the camera. In actuality, it was probably just a technical glitch, but my head-canon is that I have superpowers and destroyed the camera temporarily with my mind – YOU CANNOT TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME! Getting a few minutes to chat to Alyson, a childhood hero, one-on-one for a few minutes was indescribably incredible. It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity. We chatted about where I was from, how the weekend had gone for Alyson, when I met Alexis four years earlier and he had to call Alyson and check with her if it was okay to reveal what their family Halloween outfit for that year would be (“he knows I’d have killed him if he hadn’t asked!”). We chatted about life, Buffy, my future career plans, how the EW 20-year anniversary shoot for Buffy was...coming into the event, I had a list of questions to ask Alyson. I knew that time would cut this list down to one or two. I ended up raising all of them! Without that list and years of experience, having a random, impromptu one-on-one conversation with one of my biggest idols may have left me a dribbling, embarrassed mess. Instead, I was totally confident, relaxed, and appreciative. I couldn’t be more thankful to Aly and Alexis for making the trip across the pond. Wow, what a moment! The best moment of all of LFCC without a doubt.

Still trying to come down from my euphoria, it was time to dash to Photo A for my op. with Mark Williams, who couldn’t have been smilier and more friendly. Soon afterwards, it was off to Photo C for Benedict Wong, who brought with him a portable speaker in order to play music, unwind, relax everyone in the queue, and have fun. I hear that Benedict had the portable speaker with him at his autograph table all weekend too. Surprisingly, in real life, Benedict is from Manchester and has a strong Manchester accent, which is initially confuzzling as you don’t expect it. Benedict was totally cool, totally chill, and was happy to mess around and do any pose that was requested of him. My photo went off without a hitch.

After leaving Benedict’s photo, I had two hours free in order to get the three autographs completed. It was my last real gap of the day and therefore the weekend, so there was a little pressure on me to get all three completed. In the end, it was a doddle!

William Regal: I met 30 guests over LFCC weekend. Regal was in my top 6 favourites after all was said and done (alongside Aly, Alexis, Pilou, Matt Lucas, and David Morrissey). More than any other fandom or category, for me, wrestlers have always been the most hit and miss. They’re either incredible or they’re quite dismissive and not really interested in conversing. Thankfully, Regal was the former. Man, what a gent! He has a story for every occasion, he gives amazing eye-contact, he’s humble, appreciative, interesting, his voice is hypnotic, and he is so damn friendly. I had the most fun time talking to him. We chatted about a few things that I won’t go into because it’s to do with my family, we chatted about his career, the British wrestling scene, his goals, and his longevity. Regal started wrestling when he was fifteen years old in Blackpool. Being a wrestler or being involved in wrestling is literally the only job he’s ever had. He broke into the business during a time where it was still considered ‘real’ and it was tough to become a wrestler. He was beaten, battered, stretched, and pushed to his breaking point for a couple of years before he was finally accepted. Regal talked about his retirement match a few years ago and that he didn’t know it was going to be his last match. Suddenly, at 46 years old, his body was breaking down. His back was a mess. He wasn’t self-pitying though. After a career that spanned 31 years, he felt blessed and appreciative, not angry and bitter. The chat with Regal went on for quite a while because Regal is a natural-born storyteller. Plus, he was offering table pictures! Wahey! Guest Type = Conversationalist.

Mark Williams: This year has been the year of the Weasley actors. I’ve caught up with Chris Rankin (and his amazing girlfriend, Ness), who are like extended family by this point. I’ve met Bonnie Wright, I’ve met James and Oliver Phelps, and now I’ve met Mark Williams! As someone who grew up with the Potter books and movies, I feel incredibly blessed to be living the life I currently am. Not only getting to attend conventions, but getting to help book guests for some, helping to organise or crew for some, getting discounts and hotel rooms comped in some cases, getting travel expenses covered in others...I know I live a very blessed life in my secondary career and I couldn’t be more appreciative. Hopefully, one day, between this and that, it will be my primary career too, alongside a part-time job where I’m using my Master’s degree. THAT’S THE DREAM! Anyway, I was thoroughly excited to meet Mark. Not only is Arthur Weasley a favourite of mine, but I adored Mark as Brian Williams, Rory’s father, in “Doctor Who” too. We chatted about “P.S.”, which is a five-minute storyboarded video on YouTube that the BBC released to act as an exclamation point on Rory and Amy Pond’s departures from “Doctor Who”. In essence, Rory and Amy had children and one of their grandchildren arrives in the present day and goes to visit Brian, handing him a letter to explain to Brian why Rory and Amy wouldn’t be coming back (they got stuck in the past). I asked Mark if he was ever approached to record this properly and he said that he wasn’t as far as he can recall, which is a shame. We also discussed “Father Brown” and what it’s like to be filming most of it in Gloucestershire, my home-county. I think Mark was offering table pictures, but as I’d just had a studio photo with him, I didn’t bother. Let the man rest his legs for a while! Guest Type = Responder.

Matt Lucas: Talk about saving one of the best for last! OH EM GEE was Matt fantastic. When I got to the front of the autograph queue, Matt said that he loved my suit and Angel tie, loved that I’d made the effort and dressed up, and asked if he could take a picture of me. I said “sure, go ahead!” It’s a unique, alien experience for a guest to be requesting a picture of you for a change! I congratulated Matt on his recent honorary degree from the University of Bristol (not too far from me!), which led to a brief conversation about my Master’s. Matt said, “Oh, so you actually got your Master’s the old fashioned way, by working for it! How bizarre!” It was hilarious. In fact, pretty much everything that comes out of Matt’s mouth is hilarious. We talked about “Doctor Who” and his recent portrayal of Nardole. After finishing up his first episode, “The Husbands of River Song”, Matt didn’t know that he’d be returning at all, let alone as a regular, semi-Companion! He talked about his time filming on the show and what it was like to say goodbye to it. We talked about Nardole’s exit and how poetic it was that it rivalled the Doctor’s role on the show. I told Matt that I’d see him in the studio photo session later in the afternoon. Matt turned to Hannah and said, “will you be in the photo session too?” Hannah replied that she would not. Matt offered her a table picture with him, even though Hannah hadn’t purchased an autograph. What a wonderful gesture! Hannah often accompanies me to conventions and autograph tables, and often she’s drawn into the conversations or is a part of the experience, but only two people have ever offered her a table picture before. She’s blagged a few more in her time, but only two have offered themselves without being asked – Dave Prowse and Matt Lucas. Couldn’t be more impressed with Matt. Funny, talkative, appreciative, humble, generous...a wonderful experience. Guest Type = Conversationalist.

After leaving Matt’s autograph table, it was time for a quick sit down before back-to-back-to-back photo sessions with Natalie Dormer (beautiful as ever!) - who had her hair down for the photos on Sunday, which I actually prefer to the hair-up look on Saturday – followed by Steven Yeun (very friendly and greeted everyone warmly), and then finally Aly and Alexis together, who greeted me like an extended family member. But, gentle readers, the fun didn’t stop there! Soon after leaving Aly and Alexis’ photo, it was time to head to Photo D for my shoot with Pilou. Pilou was arguably the most fun guest I’ve ever seen in a photo session. He was messing around, happy to do any pose. He was shuffling, dancing, greeting everyone happily, bending over in front of people if they couldn’t think of a pose...the guy is an utter legend! He better come back to a con in the UK again soon! After our picture was taken, Pilou wanted to take another one because he didn’t think he was ready the first time. In reality, he looked great the first time and the second...and I ended up getting a copy of both photos. Hellooooo, bonus photo for free!

After another little break, it was time for my photo with Edge and Christian. Like most wrestling fans of my generation, I grew up watching the Hardyz, the Dudleyz, and Edge and Christian. They were the definitive tag teams of my generation. I met the Dudleyz together in 2015. I met Edge in 2016 and Christian a month before LFCC at “Collectormania”, but I’d never met both of them together. Edge and Christian were famous for performing ‘five-second poses’. They would think of a goofy pose, turn around, and stay still for five seconds while people took pictures. Edge, Christian, and myself did a five-second pose for the studio photo picture. I’m actually really pleased with how it turned out...crazy eyes and all! As I was leaving, I had a brief chat with Steve Lynskey, who is a wrestling referee and the man behind bringing wrestling guests to Showmasters conventions. I told Steve that he’d brought over the Dudleyz, he’d brought over Edge and he needed to bring over the Hardyz, my favourite tag team of all-time. Steve said that his original plan for LFCC 2017 was to bring the Hardyz over, but after they signed with WWE again, that option was off the table (WWE don’t allow people under contract to do conventions except very specific ones that they have a relationship with). OH. MY. GOD. That means that when the Hardyz leave WWE, there is a strong possibility that we’ll see them in the UK for a convention! Jeff Hardy is arguably my biggest idol ever. He’s the reason I started wearing a bandana. He’s the reason I started wearing all black and painting my fingernails in my teens. He’s the reason I started wearing eyeliner. I almost never get star-struck at conventions by this point, but I may become a bumbling mess if I meet Jeff Hardy...YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Finally, I headed to Photo A for my studio session with Matt Lucas. Matt greeted me warmly, the photo was taken, and it was time to depart. I said goodbye to Phil, who was still organising and working hard outside Photo A. I said goodbye to my friend Bella, who was in good spirits after a rough week. I said goodbye to Dan Portman and checked in with him about how his weekend went. As we were leaving, while all the autograph queues were dead and the guests were starting to depart, one queue was still long. Like, wrapping half the autograph area long. Mr. David Bradley. The legendary David Bradley. I’ve met David on four occasions and he’s always been a total gentleman. Legitimately one of the kindest, nicest, most interesting men I’ve ever met in my life, so to see him doing so well was heart-warming. We headed back to the car, I tried to recover some feeling in my gash...wait, that sounded really wrong...and we headed back to Gloucestershire.

Summing up LFCC is always hard because it brings so many strengths and weaknesses every year. When it comes to your generic, everyday LFCC Friday and Sunday, by this point, Showmasters have it down to a science overall. Everything runs pretty much on time, the space is used well, it’s easy to get around, and you can get a lot done. LFCC Saturday – when sold-out – is always a clusterfuck. Partially, that’s not Showmasters fault, as having that many people in a venue will always create problems, some of which are unsolvable. However, more can be done to ensure a better time for everybody. Using the space a little differently, making sure that different ticket types are let in at the right time, going back to last year’s entry/diamond pass collection system...these would all be positive steps forward in my opinion. While the organisation and ability to move relatively freely didn’t live up to last year, the encounters I had with the guests were even better than last year. For every negative, there seemed to be two or three positives. Would I return to LFCC? Well, I’ve been to the past nine, so I’d say that answer is a resounding ‘yes!’ With a few little tweaks, this event could get even better. It’s still way better than it was in 2014 and 2015, and the event seems to be going from strength to strength overall.

Thank you so much for reading! Please, please share this on social media, tell your friends, give me some feedback, and let me know how you found the event if you were there. If you weren’t, give me feedback anyway! Every comment – on the blog or on social media – is always read and appreciated. You can catch me next at “Gloucester Comic Con” on September 9th and 10th (where I should be head of the crew again), then I’ll be popping up at some indies like Loughborough Comic Con and potentially Reading Comic Con, before the crescendo in early December to close out the year in style, my favourite event on the calendar, “Wales Comic Con”. Boy, will that one be a blast! Stay strong, stay safe, stay happy.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Shangel



  1. You were behind me in the q for natalies autograph . She was so lovely and it was nice to meet you :)

  2. It's taken me 3 hours in between regular life but man this was a great read. Really heartwarming and motivational. Especially the David Morrissey bit. I'm behind on my masters dissertation and that part was really the get up and go I needed for tomorrow. You're a great writer mate.