MCM Comic Con, NEC Birmingham ~ March 2017

Be sure to visit http://www.mcmcomiccon.com for the forthcoming dates and venues of the 2017 conventions and book in advance if you can, always worth it!   

Comic Cons are the highlights of our calendar every year here at Break A Leg. Yours truly is a Whovian, Star Wars fan and a gamer (when I get the time!) so these events are my not so guilty pleasure. Equally, my husband and son are also geeky and we are always impressed by the number of guests, variety of stalls and abundance of talks we can attend throughout the weekend. Here are a few reasons to love and get yourself to a Comic Con, especially an MCM-hosted one! Plus some highlights of the weekend:

UK Garisson ~ The UK Garisson are a continued delight and highlight for me at all Comic Cons, my little boy immediately looks for them upon arrival and excitedly high fives various Storm Troopers. This time, the group have out-done themselves, the sheer number of costumed members was incredible and the photo opportunity on the stairs outside the halls (as seen in the featured photo) was a moment I will never forget. It actually brought a tear to my eye, I admit it! What UK Garisson does for charity is commendable and they never fail to put a big smile on people’s faces, whether it be making small children happy or us big kids.

Cosplay ~ I love that so many people dress up at Comic Con now that we who aren’t costumed look like the abnormal ones. Attending Comic Cons is tempting me to cosplay and I don’t think it will be long before all of the Break A Leg family are indulging. Watch this space! However, applause to all of the fantastic costumes that were on display and had been lovingly put together by attendees. A shout out to one lovely girl who was dressed as Belle, too – she stole my little lad’s heart, and he almost stole her rose, oops! I am a member of the MCM Comic Con Facebook group and I see the progress that some people choose to share when they’re in the process of making their costumes. It is fascinating and quite a skill.

Panels ~ There was a wide variety of talks available to attend in the Theatre this time. The inflatable auditorium was clearly feeling deflated elsewhere! Red Dwarf are always a popular panel and they were followed by Starsky and Hutch and a special panel for the Keith and Paddy Picture Show where Keith Lemon told the gathered crowds all about the upcoming comedy series that he has undertaken with Paddy McGuinness. Sunday saw Michael Landes and Billie Piper take to the stage (not together… but there’s a thought…). I saw Michael Landes talking on the MCM Buzz stage on Saturday and he was a great guest, embracing the fans and he would have happily stayed chatting all day. The Allo Allo panel on the MCM stage was also a brilliant session, Kim Hartman, Arthur Bostram, Guy Siner and Richard Gibson delighted fans with talk of the series that was and still is so loved. It was emotional to hear about their fond memories of the late Gordon Kaye.

Merchandise ~ The range of merchandise improves every time. Although I tend to find that it’s even better in November when the stall holders are pulling out the stops for potential Christmas shoppers. I personally like Funko Pops and geeky jewellery and I can find both in every nook and cranny, which keeps me happy and my husband looking decidedly worried! I hope that there will continue to be such a great array of stalls and that November makes Christmas shopping all the easier for my husband! Prices at this Con seemed to be reasonable across the board, too – plus if you hang around on the last day, reductions tend to happen…

Family Fun ~ Most of all, I recommend Comic Cons as a family fun day. Everybody in the Break A Leg family enjoys these events and we all get something out of it. Yes, merchandise I my case! MCM do host large scale ones, but I find that I get the most out of the biggies. It can be as pricey as you make it, however if you’re likely to be tempted to make purchases, go equipped with a full wallet!

 

 

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MCM Expo – NEC, Birmingham

 

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Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

MCM Expo at the NEC, Birmingham was a fabulous joy to behold and scheduling it post-Halloween and Bonfire night makes for great timing as the highlight of the autumn calendar for Cosplayers, gamers and film/TV fans alike. If this con was anything to go by, we’d say that the number of Cosplayers has increased and long may it do so – we’re considering joining in next time, too.

The downside of this particular event was that we could only stay for Saturday, so we missed out on some promising talks on the Sunday. To give you a flavour of the line-up, there was an opportunity to join the cast and crew of upcoming movie “The Call Up”, a Q&A session with voice actor, Todd Haberkorn, and a panel for the 50th anniversary celebration of ‘Goldfinger’. All of that and much more, and that was just on Sunday!

On Saturday, our visit got off to a tremendous start with various members of UK Garrison meeting and greeting outside the hall. Mostly Stormtroopers at this particular point, they were all resplendent in their gear, spot on as usual. These guys are an asset to conventions and we feel it wouldn’t be MCM Expo without them. The layout of the event was well planned, plenty of room for manoeuvring a buggy (our youngest and newest member of the team joined us, this year!) and it was an ingenious idea to allow the Steampunk area to stand out upon entry. The Victorian Steampunk Society, who have been part of MCM London for 11 Comic Cons were immediately visible and packed a great programme into the two days.

So many famous faces to meet and obtain autographs from, too, they ranged from a few cast members from hit TV series ‘Allo Allo’ to stars from ‘Doctor Who’ and a variety of Movie stars, with some ‘Only Fools and Horses’ thrown in! An impressive line-up, to say the least, and the schedule of panels for the day were outstanding. We joined the ‘Red Dwarf’ session where Chris Barrie, Hattie Hayridge, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn and Chloe Annett answered some insightful questions from the audience who had gathered inside of ‘the marshmallow’ aka the theatre area which consisted of an inflatable marquee. We applauded the fact that Chris Barrie launched so easily into the voice of ‘Gordon Brittas’ and there were some respectful nods towards Craig Charles who has prematurely left ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ due to the death of his brother. It was an interesting panel and one we would be keen to see repeated in future.

The arrival of ‘Harry Potter’ star Tom Felton was the ‘piece de resistance’ and we think it’s safe to say, a moment that the Potter fans who, were clambering over one another to get a space in ‘the marshmallow’ will never forget. Tom is fronting a documentary for BBC3 about ‘what it is to be a fan’; it’s a good concept and a subject which could easily go on and on. An hour passed and he still hadn’t gotten through all of his questions, but it was a panel with a difference, with all questions being aimed at the audience instead of vice versa. We felt this added an extra dimension to the Con and it was a privilege to be part of it.

All dates and venues for next year’s MCM Expos are available on their website www.mcmcomiccon.com, and as always, this is a must-attend event for ‘Break A Leg Review’.

Please check back for an exclusive interview with author, Andrew Ross – who has written “Too Happy A Face” (which is an authorised biography of screen legend, Joan Sims) published by Fantom Films. Andrew was signing copies of his book at MCM Expo and it was a pleasure to meet him.

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Members of the cast of Red Dwarf                    Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter)     

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