Let me first just say that imo a lot of the so-called ‘stars’ that come to Birmingham NEC for the “Memorabilia” bit of Comic Con are no such thing – people who appeared for five minutes in one vaguely popular film are not people I really have any interest in seeing and in fact I’m not overly interested in celebrities – I don’t watch “Celebrity Come Dancing”, “I’m a Celebrity get Me Out of Here”, “Celebrity Big Brother” or any of that bollocks. However I do watch a lot of films and a lot of TV and so when I get to see most of the cast of “Red Dwarf” or Honor Blackman from “Goldfinger” then it is a thrill even for cynical old me. There were a lot of Goldfinger and Bond film actors in attendance and also a few Doctor Who and minor Star Wars extras.
Without a doubt the star of this particular convention was RJ Mitte who played Walt Junior in the enormously brilliant cult hit “Breaking Bad”. He was funny, charming and accommodating of fans’ demands (not least my friend asking him to give his fiancée a personal greeting – he said that he hoped she would have an ‘A1 Day’ – a catchphrase picked up from Bryan Cranston’s character in the show he later intimated in his Q&A session).
We sat down at around 11am for the “Goldfinger Retrospective” Q&A session, but after about twenty minutes we lost patience and left the inflatable sauna tent the organisers had erected as the MCM Theatre this year. We wandered back to stand by the sidelines for Colin Ford chatting about “Under the Dome” – I’ve read the book (obviously – given that I am Stephen King’s number one fan…) but have yet to watch the show – there’s a pile of other things on Netflix I want to see before that. So I wasn’t too bothered about Colin had to say and was honestly just waiting for him to get off so we could nab a seat for Mitte’s Q&A session.
The inflatable theatre was packed:
But a few (mad mad) people left when Colin had finished, so we got seats on the second row for RJ’s talk. Perhaps they were still watching “Breaking Bad” and wanted to avoid any possibility of spoilers. We were sitting with someone (also called Colin incidentally) who had only watched season one and there were a couple of moments where RJ came close to blowing it, but thankfully he was astute enough not to blurt out any major plot points (apart from the demise of the super-lab and the fact that there is indeed such a thing and someone called Heisenberg lol). I had to explain the context of my tee-shirt to Colin and in a way I was jealous that he has all this (and the amazing character that is Gustavo Fring) ahead of him.
Mr Mitte, or Flynn as I like to call him, offered some interesting insights into his character and those of Walter White and Skyler and some amusing anecdotes. there were more questions than time and he left the fans wanting more – the sign of a true star – which sure beats heck out of some bloke who once handed the reins of a Tauntuan to Han Solo in “Empire Strikes Back” and then got the sack.
Someone asked him if he was going to be appearing in “Better Call Saul” in February. He replied that it would be a little tricky given that it’s a prequel – he’d be a child, a bump or a twinkle in Walter White Snr’s eye.
Next was ‘no one of consequence’ (it’s in quotes because it’s an X-Files reference which I fear was lost on most people who saw the title of the talk in the programme… or am I being aloof again?) in the form of veteran stud muffin Cary Elwes who was in the later episodes of the “X-Files” as FBI Assistant Director and ex-boyfriend of Agent Reyes, some of the “Saw” movies and “Robin Hood Men in Tights” and “The Princess Bride” – we’d been looking at Lego and other tat so arrived halfway through and we all needed a drink so we went off to the shop in the concourse area instead of sticking around to listen to him. I’m sure he was great and again it was nice to see a bone-fide star at the show.
Towards the end of the day who should we spot but Herr Flick (Richard Gibson) and Helga (Kim Hartman) from the classic BBC comedy “‘Allo ‘Allo”:
Given that show was probably more popular than “Red Dwarf” when it was broadcast it was great to see them. It brought back fond memories of the Fallen Madonna with the big boobies, the gateaux in the châteaux, having something in your eye, listening very carefully and of course my favourite character – the Englishman pretending to be a French policeman who was wont to say such things as ‘I was pissing by your ship and thought I’d poop in for a weird…’ classic! I think Lieutenant Hubert Gruber (Guy Siner) had also been at the show but we missed him.
All told the size of the convention this year, the amount of good cosplay (including some rather scary Steam Punk stuff I failed to capture on camera), the amount of reasonably impressive celebs and a better organised queuing system with a genuine early entry system made it a great day out despite the car park costing a staggering £10 this time. My only other minor criticism (the cost of the food can be avoided by stocking up at a garage on the way) is that for a Comic Con there seemed to be proportionally less comic artists and stalls this time around in favour of stall after stall of novelty toys…