29th – 30th March 2018 saw geeks, cosplayers, stars of stage and screen, DJ’s and authors from across the UK and beyond descend upon the O2 Arena Sheffield for Sci-Fi Weekender 10, Part 1, one of the biggest Sci-Fi festivals of the year for the country.
It’s about more than the stars, but let’s start there. Sam Jones (Flash ‘Ah-ah!’ Gordon) and Brian Blessed were 2 of the headliners. They hadn’t caught up for so many years it was an honour for me and my fellow fans to be there when they did. What was one of the first subject brought up by Sam, now in his 60’s with Brian, now in his 80’s? Work outs!
I overheard him say to Brian “I’m doing this workout now with Lou Farrigno, you know the Hulk?” Brian knew who he meant, as did we all. “We have 10 seconds between sets. Eating the right things. Of course we might have a bit of a break from that this weekend.”
Both men seemed genuinely touched to see each other and the fans. Sam was also promoting Life After Flash, the Documentary about the Sci-Fi classic 80’s movie and life beyond it. “Brian gave so much value to the project. He added so many stories that we had forgotten.” Sam would later say on stage.
Mr Blessed himself was also in fine form. I chatted to him about his role in Doctor Who as King Yrcanos in ‘The Trial of the Timelord’, the last adventure to star 6th Doctor, Colin Baker.
“In the script she (Companion Peri, played by Nicola Bryant) keeps nagging him (Yrcanos). ‘Stop killing everyone! Did you have to do that?’ And he just wants to be a warrior. I kept thinking ‘she’s acting like a nagging wife.’ Then I get to the end of the script and sure enough they are wed at the end!”
Brian would also go on to have a sweary, full volumed and highly entertaining panel, with Sam joining him half way through. Among the other guests were Stargate’s Teal’c, Christopher Judge and Doctor Who’s Frazer Hines (Jamie) and Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar).
The shows around the panel’s are part of what really sets this event out from the crowd, from the new Doctor Who and sci-fi love letter in a one woman puppet stage show ‘Behind the Sofa’ by Fiona Angwin to Piratical-nerd musical highjinks with comedy duo Jolly Boat the schedule is crammed.
Level Up Leroy set the main stage alight with his comic-con themed DJ set. One of the highlights of the whole events was when he played his Flash mix with the whole crowd turning to the still present Sam Jones at about 1am and bowing a ‘we are not worthy’ to him.
This itself following ‘Gentleman rhymer’ Professor Elemental on the first day and on the second, one of my favourite live bands, Blues Harvest. The later playing a wide range of music. From tributes to the Avengers (I can still feel their signature theme’s base going through my body) and Guardians of the Galaxy to new songs themed on Princess Leia and so much more.
I myself got to join in a live D&D adventure on stage by MMORPG which involved frog’s vomiting chocolate as an incantation, worship of the Flamboyant Potato (A tribute to another act on the bill, SFW favorite, The Dark Room), an infinite Bookcase and a 3 part harmony singing the praises of the new and only true God ‘Darren’. It made more sense in person, but only a little. It was lots of fun.
Add to this award winning authors, fan panels on Doctor Who and Star Trek and stalls with a wide range of goodies for the serious geek collator and you can imagine why I recommend you book tickets for SFW 10 Part 2 now. It’s in Great Yermouth Thurs 31st Oct – Sunday 3rd Nov 2019. Guests include David Warner (Star Trek, The Man With Two Brains), Sophie Aldred (Doctor Who), Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers) and so many more. Buy tickets now, here http://www.scifiweekender.com/shop/