26 October 2016

Good Times! #7 MonsterCon 1 and 2 1986

Monstercon Photo Special
William Russell and Carole Anne Ford plus friend (or foe)

Debbie Watling and Frazer Hines. She doesn't like her mic does she?

Frazer is splatted by Cybermen!
Michael Kilgarriff, Terry Molloy and Nabil Shaban with interviewer David Howe
This quiz seems to have got them stumped
Now you now what team the Cybermen support

Monstercon 2 (originally published in the MLG Megazine 1986)

So I’m at Lime Street Station bar having a little drink with a newly arrived Philip Akiens. I’d already popped into the Adelphi Hotel earlier in the day but, finding only Glenda Jackson and Tony Jordan in a silly cravat, thought better of it and hightailed it home in the pouring rain ignoring Father Christmas absailing down Lewis' opposite. All bodes well upon our return, with no-one having yet turned up and Woody looking hassled and harrassed whilst multifarious Adelphi staff gave the proceedings a nervous glance not having quite realised just what they'd let themselves in for. I'm sure if anyone had said; "It will all be okay tomorrow .. ", Graeme would have throttled them. Funnily enough nobody did.

MonsterCon 2 - an absurd notion? What else could we have thought when, a mere two days after the rip-roaring success of May's Monstercon thrash, Graeme Wood announced that there was to be a second campaign. This time the Adelphi Hotel was our chosen venue and what a place it was – marble panelling, spectacular chandeliers everywhere and an air of `Mawdryn Undead` about it all. Actually, upon tapping the walls the apparently marble panels were exposed as being more than a little fake! Clearly the place was built especially by the BBC!
Early Saturday morning awoke to the body building tasks of shifting TARDISes, whilst the ever scowling Mr Barnfather and pouting assistant Andy Grant set up the cracking audio-visuals. In another room up some steps, opposite the rather ornate main hall merchandise started to appear, including large stalls from The Doctor Who Shop and John Fitton and (by the main doors) a rather strategically positioned MLG stall. Oh yes, there was DWB too and managing to sell a staggering three copies good old `Spectrox` plus a new zine called `Timelord` and not much else. A
bar was later opened in this room which I mention only to stun you with the fact that they were charging £1-50 a pint, which is more than any other hotel I've ever been in, so a big thumbs down to the staff for that.
The Brig!!

The event was clouded by the sad news of Ian Marter’s death only a couple of days beforehand. A much liked and well respected person, he was to have been a guest here and a tribute was paid to him at the start of the day by Nicholas Courtney. I interviewed Ian Marter last year at LogiCon and found him to be a really great bloke, extremely friendly and modest about his undoubted skills. After the opening ceremony, it was straight into the first panel of the day with Nick Courtney and Richard Franklin (not forgetting T Bag). This panel was a relief for experienced convention goers, with no trace of "eye patches", or `The Deamons` in sight, the duo preferring to explore such topics as Nick's planned book; "Whatever Happened To The Brigadier?", which he doesn't even know the subject of yet. Will it be about him or the Brig? Or maybe even Doris? We discovered that Nick's second favourite story is `Inferno` whilst Richard's is `The Green Death`. Nick expressed a wish to continue with the tradition of appearing with every Doctor but both of them had mixed feelings about the current season, reservations that were mirrored by nearly all the guests actually, not to mention some of the audience.

Terry Molloy was next up interviewed by our own Chris Chibnall. Terry related to the audience various Davros tales including the process he has to go through to have the mask made which sounds excruciating. He also expressed strong views about the current BBC obsession with cutting back on violence; opinions later echoed by Philip Martin. It seems that quite a lot of people at the Beeb are concerned about their bosses' apparent desire for high ratings over the process of actually creating good quality

With 5.45 fast approaching and a rather murky picture of Roland Rat on the two video screens we all reckoned on missing the vital start of that evening’s episode but in true "snatched from the jaws of death" form, everything was okay and a clear picture heralded that familiar tune. Audience reaction to part nine of `Trial of a Time Lord` was, to say the least, polarised – some (like me) liked it especially that brilliant cliffhanger with the pods, others seemed to dismiss it as "a load of old rubbish". Our instant reactions were gauged by John Brand and his moving mic.

The final part of the day brought back Philip Martin and Nabil Shaban.  Amazingly the two had never really met before so at times it was like watching a private chat. Nabil is a very talented person indeed, apart from Sil, he’d recently done two other telly plays and he explained to us the plot of the play he'd written which certainly deserves to be made. Both talked about the problems surrounding Sil’s costume, his changing head piece and why the voice box was not utilised. And in case you were wondering Sil wasn't killed off in episode eight – Nabil was very happy about that. 
A short auction hosted by John Brand followed with many signed photos, books covers and a signed leather bound edition of The Key To Time which went for £50.  All the proceeds would go to War On Want and Amnesty International charities. The choice of these was a brave move for a Doctor Who event, but both are well worth supporting if you care about freedom from oppression everywhere in the world.

Thinqs wound down after the auction, the video room was open for those that wanted to watch `Inferno` whilst the main hall hosted a disco. Sadly, it didn't really get off the ground, for a variety of reasons as it was intended to be an evening cabaret featuring Ian Marter and Nick Courtney, still the monsters all had good bop. We also had the premiere of the Doctor Who chant which even Philip Martin had a go at. Altogether now: “Yes my boy, yes my boy, oh my word, oh my word, Yeth Brigadier, Yeth Brigadier, I’ll have a pint, I’ll have a pint, “ (cont Smash Hits)

Sunday was rather slow to crawl from the wreckage so well all headed to the bar. Other guests who graced the event included Mark Strickson and Sarah Sutton plus there were in the spirit of the name of the event monsters lurking everywhere.  

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