Sunday, 14 November 2010

Dimensions - Drinks with Nicola Bryant

Before I get into talking about Dimensions, I first need to go back to March and Timequest 2. For me this was my first proper event and the bar by which all other would be judged: 5 Doctors in one weekend as well as a rare companion. As you can see, Dimensions had a tough act to follow...........

Back to the present and back to Dimensions. After a minor row with Kate (I’m sure it says ATMOS under the TomTom sticker!!) Lucy and I arrived at the Holiday Inn just outside Newcastle at about 6.10pm. On walking in it was like being at a reunion with a score of familiar faces greeting me.

Lucy and I got registered, grabbed a quick drink and made our way into the main hall in readiness for the event opening. So, with a good selection of guests and a host of other activities to look forward to, Dimensions 2010 got underway. The only disappointment was that Mary Tamm had needed to cancel due to family reasons, which was a shame as I was looking forward to seeing her.

At 7pm the Gold pass drinks reception began. Initially there were only a few guests present, but as the time went on more appeared, which was good. I started off the drinks reception by chatting to Charlie Ross, who introduced me to Keith Temple (it’s always a bit surreal when one guest introduces you to another!!)

Next up Lucy and I had a chat with Yee Jee Tso. He was keen to know everyone’s name, and had set himself the goal of remembering as many as possible. Not a bad objective to have if you ask me!

As the drinks reception continued I got chatting to Rob Sherman and Nev Fountain, but I then found myself distracted as who should walk in but Nicola Bryant.......

A short while later Angie brought Nicola over. She grinned at me and said hello again and gave me a hug and a kiss. We proceeded to have a good chat and she was telling me that she’d just got back from doing an interview on Tees Radio about the event. Unfortunately our time ran short and Nicola had to move on to the other guests. Shortly after the drinks reception came to an end, and next on the agenda for the evening was a Doctor Who quiz. However, I wouldn’t be attending as Lucy and I had to get to where we would be staying that evening, so with that Friday evening came to an end.

So, onto Saturday morning. In the rush to get ready I’d forgotten my camera (epic fail!!) but luckily Lucy had remembered hers. The best thing (and ironically also the worst, but not in a bad way, if you follow?) thing about events like Dimensions is that there is loads to do!

First up was the photo shoot with Keith Temple and Andrew Smith. This unfortunately meant that we missed out on the reading that Nicola Bryant was doing, but I wasn’t too worried though as she was doing another one later on. I’d make sure I got to that one (or so I thought....)

Next we were off to the autograph room to see Paul McGann where we were confronted with a fairly long queue. While standing in the aforementioned queue Lucy realised she had forgotten what she had brought to get signed by him, and to make matters worse Paul was only signing until 11am! Disaster.

Having now reached the front of the McGann queue Lucy and I both got his autograph. Lucy also had a little fangirl moment when she saw exactly how attractive he is in person. While chatting, Paul was showing us a sonic screwdriver he’d been given at an event in New Zealand. The conversation then went a little something like this....

Me: So how was Armageddon?
PM: Yeah, not bad
Me: While you were there you saw a friend of mine, Cat?
PM: What, Cat Cranston? NO!
Me: Yeah!
PM: Wow! I still keep in touch with her!
Me: It’s a small world
PM: Try flying economy to New Zealand!

Moving ever onward, we had time for a quick tea break before heading into the Matthew Waterhouse photo shoot. We’d also managed to sort out Lucy’s Paul McGann autograph that she didn’t think she’d be able to get. (It would however mean nipping back to where we were staying during lunch.)

It was then back to the signing room to see Yee Jee Tso and Daphne Ashbrook. To mine and Lucy’s surprise, Yee greeted us both by name, as he’d remembered from the night before!

Daphne was lovely. I’d been asked to get a drawing of her signed, and she loved it and insisted she take a picture for use on her facebook page! She also agreed to have a picture with her holding the drawing (although she wasn’t really meant to) which was really nice.

Next on the agenda was the Paul McGann, Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso photoshoot. This also clashed with the second Nicola Bryant reading, so to make sure we could do both, Lucy and I got to the photo area early, first in the queue. However, the best laid plans never come to pass......

Unfortunately, in what I have to class as an organisational fail, each guest would be photographed individually: Paul first, then Daphne and finally Yee. Then at the end anyone who wanted a group shot would be done. What this meant is that we ended up queuing 3 times, so being first there still meant we’d miss the Nicola reading!! The reason for doing the queue like this was to stop the guests from having to hang around longer than needed. The only problem was that as the group shots were being done at the end, Paul has to sit and wait around until the end. Personally I would have had all three guests in and then given each attendee the option of if they wanted a group of individual shots when they got to the front of the queue...... anyway, that’s enough of that, a slight blip in an otherwise great morning.

Onto the afternoon, the group photo shoot were the first thing to be done. This was all done and sorted by 2.30pm and luckily due to a delayed start it meant that we were able to make Nicola Bryant’s stage talk and reading (yippeeeee!!)

Nicola’s talk and the reading from Nev Fountains' new Mervyn Stone mysteries was highly enjoyable (like I was going to say anything else!!). Having heard a few short snippets from the Mervyn Stone series of books I think I’m going to have to get myself a copy as they were really quite funny, especially one that is set in a sci-fi convention!!

By this point Lucy and I were both feeling quite knackered so decided to give the last talk of the day a miss and go and grab some food and make sure we’d be back in time for the party later!

So, skip forward a few hours to 10pm, we were both changed and ready for an evening of dancing. However when we got back to the Holiday Inn we found the bar full of people. It turns out the band wasn’t great (from what I was told). The problem is, once you have a large number of convention goers settled in a bar, moving them somewhere else isn’t an easy task (bit like holding back the tide really!). We decided to give it an hour but the party never really got started so we decided to call it a night.

Sunday. Getting up was a challenge! Once I’d finally managed to get going and had a cup of tea I felt much more with it!

We were a little late getting to the Holiday Inn so we went straight into the Jennie Linden photo shoot. She remembered me from Collectormania: Milton Keynes which was good.

Keeping up the busy pace from yesterday, the next thing on the agenda was going to see Sylvester McCoy in the signing room. Sylv was on good form and was fairly chatty. Having missed Matthew Waterhouse’s signing yesterday, today was also the last chance to get his autograph, so we made sure we didn’t miss out.

Sunday was also the day that Nicola was signing so we went over and saw her. I have a little confession: I’m actually quite shy (I really am, stop laughing!!) I also don’t really like queues, so found myself unconsciously rushing my chat with her.

Next, while Lucy joined the queue for Colin Baker, I had my picture done with the Hyde Fundraisers, epic costumes and a great bunch raising money for a number of worthy causes!

So, back to the Colin Baker queue. After a short while and having to listen to one fan tell Colin his life story and recount every time they had ever met (the slightly pained Colin’s face said it all), we made it to the front. Colin also remembered me (then again this was the 7th time we’d met).

Having got Colin’s autograph Lucy and I headed back to the photo area. As this was Remembrance Sunday there was a 2 minute Silence at 11am that was respected by all those who were in attendance.

As both Nicola and Colin were doing the pictures at the same time we were once again faced with the same queuing system from the day before.......

Colin was up first and then once I’d re-queued it was time for Nicola. I got two pictures with her (it’s becoming a standard thing with me): one normal and a huggy one.

Having finished one set of photos we grabbed a quick drink and a sandwich before queuing for the shoot with Sylvester McCoy. After my picture with Sylv I decided that my fringe was officially too long! Namely due to Sylv asking if my hair was based on DT or Matt Smith!!

With the morning session coming to an end there was just time to go and see Colin again as I’d forgotten to get him to sign my copy of The Two Doctors. I also got to go and see Nicola again.

One thing I had noticed on the weekend schedule was that after the group photo on the Sunday afternoon Nicola’s commitments for the weekend would be complete, at which point I had a crazy thought “ I wonder if she’d like to have a cup of tea with me?”, well, there was only one way to find out!! To my surprise, she said yes!!

So onto Sunday lunchtime, managed to have an albeit brief catch up with Ryan Hendrick star of the Doctor Who fan film Beseiged (have a look at their FB page). There was also some unexpected entertainment in the form of a race: Daleks vs Wheelchair! This had all stemmed from a challenge issued to Davros in jest and before anyone really realised what was going on a race had been planned (to the slight annoyance of the organisers, the joy of Health and Safety!!) Only at a Doctor Who convention!!

The winner? Marianne in her wheelchair. The Dalek (after congratulating the winner) then proceeded to spray the onlookers with its water cannon.

With what’s been dubbed the most politically incorrect race ever now finished (and yes, there is a video), it was time for the Sunday group photo. With the photo done, it was time to head to the bar and wait for my drink with Nicola.

Having a drink with Nicola did mean I missed the Sunday afternoon activities, but it was a price I was willing to pay, as for what we talked about, that’s between me and her.

And with that the weekend and as such this review comes to an end, overall really good event, thank you 10th Planet, can’t wait to next year!!