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Paul Darrow at Brighton Comic Con - June 2016

Paul Darrow at Brighton Comic Con
Saturday 4th June 2016

reports by Littlesue and Silver Alaunt


SUE:
Having blagged a lift with Daughter no. 2 and her significant other, Brian, I was outside his house at about 7.30am. Soon we were heading along the M27 towards the A27, and ultimately the Brighton Centre where the latest Comic Con was being held. Having survived Bournemouth back in March, I was looking forward to this, especially as a certain actor was going to be present. This time I had two items to get signed.

We made good time, and got to Brighton just before 9am. I was surprised how quickly we got in. In Bournemouth, the queue snaked round the block and more… but here, just along the front of the building!

Once inside, I set off with Daughter No. 2 to find out where Paul Darrow would be signing autographs. It didn’t take long. His table was right beside the entrance to the green room, next to Chris Barrie. At about 9.30am he arrived, and duly took up residence. I had warned his Showmasters Minder that he would say ‘Oh No!’ when I turned up.

Sure enough, “Oh no!”

However, once I had presented him with two small bottles of red wine, he was most agreeable! (By the way, he is also partial to white wine!)

He signed my copy of Scorpio Attack (I now have all the paperbacks signed by the actors), and also a lovely Shadow art print by Damien May. I stood back to allow another few people to get their autographs, then went for a walk around the hall, then back to see Mr D who had a few more people, but nowhere as many as at Bournemouth.

So I decided to go and get a cup of tea and see if I could find fellow Horizon member Silver Alaunt. The front foyer was strangely quiet, so I went back upstairs and there was Silver getting her autographs. Paul spelled her name wrong, but quickly wrote another - two for the price of one!

It was still not a very long queue. We had about two hours until his talk, so we went to get tea and sandwiches. We walked around the merchandise stalls again, and realised that there was only one hall for the stalls. We found Damien May, and Silver and I purchased some of his prints.

Then we went back to Mr D. There was no one in his queue, so we had another chat with him. Silver had another book for him to sign. By this time, it occurred to us that this event was decidedly quieter than Bournemouth Comic Con, where Mr D had a non-stop queue.

Daughter No. 2 called me over to get Brian’s camera, which had stopped working, and also to take charge of his V DVD cover, which was signed by Sarah Douglas. I remembered her from Superman and we shook hands and she said how pleased she was to meet us.

Then back to Mr D. By now, Silver and I were doing a very good impression of a crowd; chatting to him again, and Paul doing his usual name dropping!

Then we thought it might be a good idea to locate the room where he would be doing his talk. The Brighton Centre is a maze, and we had to keep asking the various stewards... we ended up asking the same lady, poor thing! (We declared that she knew everything!) We were guided down to the lower levels, and guess who was sitting at the table? Yes, that lady who was trying to get away from us!

Back up to the nearest café area for another cup of tea. (We ended up drinking lots of tea!) Two young ladies, one of whom was dressed as Catwoman, wanted to know who we were here to see. We told her, and she asked, ever so nicely, who is he? So we told her, and then she showed us a photo of Chris Barrie and we said that our hero was seated to the right of him.

“Why don’t you go and see Paul Darrow,” Silver and I said, “We’re sure he’d love your costume. Just say two rather mature ladies sent you – he’ll know!”

So two young ladies slinked off; one with a tail waggling behind her! What Mr D thought when confronted by these two young ladies is unrecorded!

We were trying to figure out what questions to ask at his talk, but both Silver and I went blank. So we decided to go to the talk venue anyway, and get a good seat. We asked a very young steward, “Is this the way to the talks?”

“Yes it is, and you know very well, because you asked me about 15 minutes ago!”

I’m afraid Silver and I were getting very naughty by now. I blame the tea.

And so, we arrived at the hall and waited for the others to leave; Chris Barrie came out and we went in… right to the front. About ten minutes later, Paul arrived to a lovely round of applause. He decided not to go on the stage, but sat right in front of me and Silver! I’m afraid we both went into teenage mode and couldn’t think of a word to say. Well, it’s rather difficult with those rather nice twinkly brown eyes just inches from you!

But eventually, Silver bravely put her hand up and asked where the food on the Liberator came from. Paul replied that they popped into a local Waitrose! And then said he didn’t actually have any idea.

A chap asked what it had been like, when he was once a sex symbol?

“What do you mean, ONCE? I still am!” he declared. I think at this point, Silver and I were blushing.

The talk lasted about twenty minutes or so, and then it was over. Now to find the photo shoot area… and another hour to kill.

Silver and I wandered round the dealers’ hall again, and heard several of them saying that this was the worst event they’d ever been to. There was hardly any footfall and some dealers were running at a loss. I have to admit that there weren’t the bustling crowds there had been in Bournemouth.

Quite a few guests were just sitting there with no-one to talk to. I saw Shane Rimmer, with his wife, sitting at his table looking a bit dejected.

This time, Silver and I asked Paul if we could have photos taken with him, and he agreed without hesitation. He said he quite like the idea of a small plaque with the words
Deadly Mr D – Legend’!
We took our photos with my all-singing all-dancing camera… they are all right, but not as good as the professional ones – which is where we headed next.

Someone had decided to have Sarah Douglas’ talk end at 3.45pm and her photo shoot (all of 5minutes) start at 3.45pm! Chris Barrie was overrunning, because several people who had bought photo tickets couldn’t be located. Paul came along, but had to wait as Sarah Douglas came racing along for her belated start, and even some of her photo shoot ticket holders didn’t turn up.

I think there were nine of us for Paul’s photo shoot, including one other Horizon member who wanted a scan of Avon: A Terrible Aspect, plus another lady who hopes to join soon. And who should turn up as we waited? Yes, new member cakeinmilk!

“We’ve been looking for you!”

He and his partner were happy; they had got Mr D’s autograph, heard his talk, and had a chat with him. He then wanted to know where Silver and I had got our Damien pictures.

“I'll show you after the photo shoot,” says I.

First Silver. “This is my friend Jackie,” says Mr Darrow.

“And now Susan.” I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.

How does he remember our names? When we went to the Cinema Museum he remembered my name, Sarah’s name and Scott’s!

A young lady behind us was reduced to nervous laughter when Paul said that word again. Naughty Mr D!

After the photo shoot, Silver and I said our farewells and I took cakeinmilk to meet Damien, and buy some pictures.

It was now nearly closing time, 5pm. I located Daughter No 2 and Brian; we drank yet another cup of tea, and then we waved off Mr D, who was heading home with his bags of goodies, including my bottles of wine.

By now, the Brighton Centre was almost deserted. I think many of the guests had gone home early, because there weren’t many people attending. A couple of the stall holders were hoping that things would be better on Sunday.

Compared to Bournemouth, this was a very quiet affair. The organisers, I think, tried to make it more exciting by suddenly putting on very loud music at about 11am. Everyone in the signing area jumped as the Star Wars theme blared out drowning everyone’s’ words.

That was until Sylvester McCoy came out from behind his desk and loudly yelled out:
“Will you please turn that B***** C*** OFF?”

Needless to say…they did!

***

SILVER ALAUNT:
Littlesue and I had such a good time at Brighton. I arrived not long after Sue and we made our way to the signing tables and there our hero was. We were able to talk to him for quite some time. He looked very well and when he was not busy with other fans, we went back to speak to him again. I had brought the 5th book for him to sign and forgot it, picking up a cool photo of Avon, which Paul signed for me. I was talking about my name and distracted him so he did it wrong, then did another pic with the right name, free. It was very kind of him as I would have been happy with the first one. Paul let us take a photo of us with him, you have seen Sue's. I had my book signed later on.

Sue and I wandered round the halls, getting lost and having to ask for directions from the venue staff - they are such a helpful and cheerful lot. I have three nice big pictures - I just wish I had a lot more walls in our house. There were not the crowds that we have seen at similar events, which meant that the stall holders did not have as many customers. I think there were a lot of other things going on that weekend and the usual suspects were not there. Pity on them!

We went to the talk and got on the front row. Instead of stoppng in the aisle as usual, Paul stopped right in front of Sue and me. You can imagine how cool we were - yeah. All the questions were sensible except mine, but it didn't matter. Paul was on top form.

We went to the photo shoot and I nearly walked away without my photo, so excited. It was a wonderful day and I just have to say how kind Paul is, witty and a bit naughty too when he says THAT word to Sue. Going round with Sue is great fun and she knows everyone. Met some new nice people too. Looking forward to the next one and hope to go with Sue.




***

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