Showmasters. The event in general. It's great to have an event like this in the UK. Showmasters do a wonderful job and just because of the behemoth it now is there are going to be people with small to major criticisms. But a tip of the hat to Jason and the team for putting these on for us.
The Venue. Great being able to walk about the stalls so easily downstairs and upstairs (even though there was no air con) was fine.
Ray Park. Seems a real genuine chap. Takes time with fans. Perhaps some might say too much time but his interactions with the fans are what this hobby is all about. If you have a kid that loves Star Wars and Darth Maul then meeting Ray will be such an experience. I really think he is such a great guest to have at these shows and I hope that Jason tries to get Ray to be a regular guest in the way that Kenny Baker, Dave Prowse and Jeremy Bulloch were.
Tom Welling. Another nice chap. He was getting through quite a lot of people quite quickly. But my friend and I met him a few times over the course of the weekend and it never felt like a production line. He spent much less time with people generally than Ray Park did but was so pleasant and I thought he was a good guest to have.
Matt Wood. What a guy. Really nice chatting with him.
Peter Weller charged £5 extra for quotes. Look I know this hobby is now expensive. It is too expensive. But, when faced with not having the option of 'character name, quote, personalisation' or whatever else I'd rather have the option to pay a small additional fee for a quote. I believe this was perhaps going directly to the back pocket of Dr. Weller but it might be something Showmasters should consider for those guests that don't do these things.
Beckett Authentication Services. Those guys rock.
The Red & Blue shirts. Generally everyone I spoke with I thought was helpful. Trying their best and had a smile on their face. Only two Blue Shirt staff members I thought were quite rude; one to me and one to another gentleman just looking for some assistance.
The poor guy standing with a sandwich board sign saying "No Photos" up at the main line at the back were the guests are signing. Some of these guests need to catch a grip, stick them all in closed pens if they can't stand someone taking a photograph of them from 30 feet away. Don't have some poor guy stood there with a sandwich board saying "No Photos"
There was a few hand written signs put up on Daniel Gillies autograph area either on the Saturday or the Sunday. The sign basically said "No Hugs, No Photos, No breathing on him, No farting near him, etc AUTOGRAPH ONLY". His agent or manager should have said to take those down. It doesn't look good for him. If he's got some sort of problem with teenage fan girls then he should be dealing with it some other way. Embarrassing.
David Duchovny who I got an autograph from. Very much a production line. Trying to flog his new books (which is fine)...but then is he seriously suggesting that he would then charge you £85 to sign the damn book? I was trying to work that out. Anyway, long story short it wasn't a nice experience. The 'Blue Shirt' lady was to the point of being rude. I didn't really think much of David either to be frank.
The complete balls up with having no VT's ready the Saturday morning for Sam Neill. This cannot happen. You've got to have those VT's ready at 9am sharp. There was a monster queue and folk then were left screwed for other guests that they wanted to get.
No Photographs. I don't mind 'no posed photographs' at the table but I do get irked with 'no photos' at all as it is nice to get a snap of the guest signing the item. Generally for the big guests there are crappy looking A4 sheets with 'No Photographs' stuck up and I presume the reason varies for each guest whether the guest is making that call or Showmasters.
Last minute cancellations. There's no real point in leaving this as a critique because there is nothing that can be done when guests drop out at the last minute for health or filming reasons. I'm sure it ticks Showmasters off as much as us.
I'm sure there were other highs & lows but I can't think of them at the moment and this post is long enough lol.