I’ve just had the most amazing weekend at London Film and Comic Con with my family and my sister’s friend. Honestly I think it was their best one yet but that could be because I checked something off my bucket list! After 19 years or so I finally got to meet one of my idols, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Alyson Hannigan (Willow).
Alyson was announced back in May along with her husband Alexis Denisof who plays Wesley in Buffy and Angel. I checked out the website as soon as they were announced and snapped up a diamond pass for Alyson straight away to guarentee I’d be able to meet her.
A diamond pass gives you a guarenteed autograph with the guest, saving the need to get a VQ ticket and hoping your number gets called. There’s also no need to queue up early for the VQ either (unless there’s other guests you’d like to meet of course). Each diamond pass is different but all include a lanyard pass, an autograph and a photoshoot of some kind, you’re also able to jump to the front of the queue for your guest. Alyson’s diamond pass also included a talk with her and Alexis and a limited edition print.
Our day started early Saturday morning, we arrived at Olympia just before 7am, unloaded our day bags and memorabilia for signing out of the car and headed to the doors to convention. Normally we’d head straight to the entry queue but found there was a seperate queue diamond pass collection so I joined that one with my sister’s friend and my family joined the entry queue. As we waited in the queue for the diamond passes the entry queue kept getting longer and longer and we were worried we wouldn’t get a good spot in the queue. It’s important to get their early and as far to the front as possible for collecting VQ tickets because, as I’ve said before, the lower the number the better your chance to meet the guests.
It would have been better if the diamond pass collection was after the bag inspection or inside the show itself however, we later found out that we could have collected them at any point during the day! No one told us that when we were queuing unfortunately. 🙁 Nevertheless we got a good spot in the entry queue and managed to get some low VQ ticket numbers. 😀
As I’ve mentioned before a VQ ticket is like a raffle ticket, you’re given the ticket and then told to come back later to join the actual queue. Tickets are usually called in batches of 100 and the lower the number the better chance you have of meeting the guest.
After the mad rush for our VQ tickets we headed down to the ground floor to look at the wide range of dealers and I took a photo of the Big Bamg Theory set they had on display. My sister had her photo taken with Will Wheaton on the sofa and got to sit in Sheldon’s spot! The photo turned out great and she loved meeting him.
Other prop displays they had were the Delorean, the Ford Anglia from the Harry Potter films and a Batman vehicle tribute to the late Adam West.
I didn’t buy much memorabilia at this show, which is surprising but I did notice there weren’t as many dealers as last year or as wide a range of things on offer. I think this is largely due to another big UK convention being on the same weekend! I did buy a few things, including a Hodor door stop 😉 , two custom leather journals, two feather bookmarks, a bunch of Emerald City cupcakes (of course!) and my dad picked up a Kaylee (Firefly) bear for me to put up for Christmas, from the Firefly Store. It’s very cute!
After a good look around the stalls we headed back upstairs to get meet some of the guests! The main guests I wanted to meet (besides Alyson) were three actors from Son’s of Anarchy (Tommy Flanagan, Mark Boone Junior and David Labrava) and Imogen Boorman from Hellraiser II.
The first person we met was Tommy Flannigan who plays Chibs in Son’s of Anarchy, he seemed to love the journal I’d brought him to sign and joked that the dealer I bought it from should gift him one. Haha. He was friendly but as he had a large queue of people to get through our chat was very brief.
Next to him was Mark Boone Junior who plays Bobby in the show. We joined his queue but shortly after he left for his scheduled photo shoot! 🙁 We decided to come back later and see if David Labrava (who plays Happy) was at his signing table first.
David was lovely to talk to and told us about his love for the show. I asked if he’d done many conventions, he has but not many in the UK.
Imogen Boorman (or Immy Boo) was at a table near David so we decided to meet her next, she was very sweet and engaging. We had a long chat about horror films and especially the Hellraiser and Saw franchises. She also spoke about how old she was when they were filming the movie and how she was too young to go to the premiere screening. She wrote a lovely message on my photo and a great quote by her character.
Mark Boone Junior
Mark Boone Junior was back at his table and had a good look at my journal he asked if I was a writer or a drawer, I draw a little but explained to him I was going to use the journal as an autograph book. Like Tommy he also joked that the dealer should gift him one! 😉
After meeting the Son’s of Anarchy guests and Imogen, I met up with my friends Sazzzy and Gemma so Sazzzy could hold my hand(!) while we met Alyson Hannigan. I was very nervous and didn’t know how I’d be meeting her but expected to get or go mute.
It was nearing the end of the day and the crew were getting ready to close her queue, luckily for us our diamond pass allowed us to jump the queue and head straight to the payment desk. We get one autograph free with the pass but are able to purchase extras, I bought two.
Sazzzy and Gemma mentioned if I leaned to my left I’d be able to see Alyson at her signing table. I did. Got overwhelmed and cried a little! I managed to compose myself before we got to the end of her queue and had a brief chat with her when I got there. She is a very sweet, engaging person and I was on cloud 9 for the rest of the day after I met her. The conversation was relatively short as it was near the end of the day and they were rushing us through, we said hello, I asked how she was and asked her if she could sign my items. I also told her I was very happy to meet her, we said a quick goodbye and I ended up crying again after I left her queue. Lol.
I’ve never had that reaction meeting a guest before but shes an idol of mine and it was a 19 year wait. It was definitely worth the diamond pass.
We headed back to the hotel shortly after and got ready to go for dinner. We were staying at the Hilton Olympia which was a 5 minute walk away.
The room was good and I slept well but the service in the bar / restaurant was atrocious! We waited an hour for food only for it to come out cold and an orange juice, which took 25 minutes to reach us, was served luke warm not cold as you’d expect. I’d recommend you pass on the restaurant if you stay here.
One plus point however was the comic con menu they’d put on with “The Hulk” cocktail; a strong rum based one.
Another early start Sunday as I decided to get my new Witchcraft journal signed by Alyson. I wasn’t sure if my diamond pass allowed me to go down her autograph queue a second time so I picked up a VQ ticket (number 54 just in case).
The 5 of us decided to have a group photo on the Big Bang Theory sofa and each had a turn in Sheldon’s spot. We had 5 photos so were able to do 5 different poses. I’ve done prop photo shoots before bit this was definitely one of my favourites.
After the prop photo I headed to my Alyson Hannigan photo shoot with my friends Sazzzy, Gemma and Pia; I love how the photo turned out and will be framing along with my autographed photo and I photo shoot I had with Amber Benson (Tara) a few years ago.
Shortly after I went to her autograph area and joined the queue to get my Witchcraft journal signed. Dad and I queued a while before overhearing they would be closing the queue soon so she could go to her second photo shoot.
Dad suggested I “use my trump card” (diamond pass) to get into the queue before it closed. They let me and a few others with diamond passes into the queue! I was a lot less nervous meeting Alyson this time and had a longer conversation with her, we talked about the sparkly purple boots she was wearing (they were from Covent Gardens and she’d also bought a pair for her daughter) and spoke about how her daughter’s were visiting the London museums with their nanny this morning.
While I waited for the Alyson and Alexis talk I had another look at the stalls and found a balloon Groot!!
There was a guy walking around in him but he’d taken it off for a well deserved rest. I think this was my favourite cosplay of the weekend.
I got so caught up in the stalls and cosplays that I missed the start of the talk! I ended up not being able to use my diamond pass for priority seating and sat towards the middle of the hall, I still had a great view and took a few photos. Most of them are blurry and this is probably the best one.
The talk was mainly about their time on Buffy and Angel with a few questions about How I Met Your Mother thrown in as well. I remember Alyson saying her most heartwrenching moment was when [SPOILER ALERT] Tara died and Alexis’ was when Fred dead. Both understandable. Alyson also mentioned her favourite Willow to play was geeky Willow playing Vampire Willow and that if she was a flower she’d be a daffodil.
Young Adult Literature Convention
The third floor of the convention was dedicated to young adult fiction and offered a range of young adult books to buy as well ad the opportunity to meet some of the authors. We hadn’t been up there in previous years due to time constraints but decided to make sure we did this time.
The floor was well spaced out with a small restaurant selling paninis and sandwiches, we stopped for lunch and had a look around the stalls. There was an area dedicated to Harry Potter and we added a memory to the wall, there were also Doctor Who Mister Men dotted around. I spotted the 1st, 4th, 11th and 12th doctors.
If you love reading, especially young adult fiction it’s definitely worth a look. Geeky Clean were on this floor selling book themed candles and some bath bombs. I wanted a Pokemon bath bomb but they were sold out. 🙁
I finished off the day with my duo photo shoot with Alyson and Alexis and bought some more cupcakes for the ride home!
The photo shoot was actually a spur of the moment, Sazzzy, Femme, Pus and I came out of the Alyson photo shoot and made a pact that we’d all buy the due shoot later that afternoon. It was quick and easy with the Eventbrite app on my phone, in the old days it would have meant going to the sales desk and queuing for (potentially) a very long time!
I’m very happy with how the photo turned out even if I do look chunky! It’s the way I’m stood, the shoot was very rushed and I barely had time to stand up straight and look forward before the camera went ‘click’! I’m leaning to one side in this photo.
It was an amazing, busy couple of days! Roll on the next one. 😀