Monday, September 29, 2008
How, in the name of the Galactic Federation, do I summarise Hyperspace?
How can I convey the thrill of seeing and meeting my childhood heroes in the flesh? Or the glimpses of what was to happen in the audio stories? Or the awful feeling at the end when we realised it was all over.
I can start by saying that I really very much enjoyed it. It is greatly different to many of the conventions I have attended in the past. It was a lot smaller for a start. There was a cap of 90 on the numbers but I don’t think we had that many. Having such a small amount of people made it much easier for all of us to get to know each other. At other cons I have more or less kept myself to myself and not talked to a soul but here I made two new friends (Jacqui and Stephen), talked to all sorts of people from TPDIS and, shock horror, talked to people actually involved with all the incarnations of the Tomorrow People: actors, writers and producers.
I am not normally star-struck but I do like to respect people’s privacy and so the concept of talking to someone just because I saw them in a television program when I was a child or because they wrote episodes of the audio version of the show thirty years later is alien to me. That is why, after nearly an hour at the first day’s autograph session, I’d only managed to obtain one autograph. Even then I was more interested in talking with people than getting their signatures.
My second day started with a walk through the Lensbury grounds to the famous Teddington Locks. I took some pictures of the lock in the morning fog. Here are some of them together with pictures from the first day in the sunshine.
Teddington Lock is another fabulous place from my childhood. I’ve never been there before but I remember the name from countless episodes of Magpie where the address for that week’s competition or where you needed to send your milk bottle tops was Teddington Lock. In my child’s mind this place existed in the magical land of television, where Pinky and Perky rubbed shoulders with Willy Wombat and Susan Stranks and everyone rode around on Puff the Magic Dragon. To actually see it, eons later, was a bit of a kick.
The first event of the day was the Q&A session. This was divided into four panels: writers and producers, original series, new series and audio series. There was a micro panel for Danny John Jules who had turned up slightly too late to take part in the NS panel. Despite the 101 questions in my head before and after I didn’t manage to think of a one at the time. Hats off to whoever it was who asked Roger Price why Stephen suddenly and mysteriously left with no mention of his character. Roger blamed the Network Executives and said that he hadn’t wanted Stephen to go.
I took a few photos but not many. I hate taking pictures of people I don't know. I feel terribly intrusive. I used my long lens from the back of the room and no flash. That's why there are a few heads in corners.
The Q&A session was followed by a walk around Teddington where we could see a lot of the locations used to film the OS Story A Man for Emily. It’s interesting how a lack of budget in those days made the production team make use of locations local to the studio. We saw the shops where Elmer killed the greengrocer, where he almost shot a little boy in a cowboy suit and where there was a chase over a footbridge.
At THE footbridge, there was a man with his children. He called after his daughter on the footbridge and we found she was called Emily.
I loved the looks we had from the locals. What did they think of this group of people looking at perfectly innocent buildings and taking photos?
Our walk ended with a tour of Teddington Studios, which I found very interesting. Television is an amazing art.
After lunch we had the script readings. This was a treat and something I was looking forward to a great deal. Nigel Fairs and the available actors read from the scripts of the audio stories that weren't released. We found out some of what was to happen. We had the tiniest glimpse of what would have been, the future of the Tomorrow People.
We also had some stunning performances from PVC, Nick Young, Helen Goldwyn, James Daniel Wilson and Trevor Littledale. Helen and Trevor nearly had us all in tears with a very moving scene and Daniel was tremendously intimidating as Jedekiah. It is such a shame that we are unlikely ever to find out the full story. Curses!
There wasn't much of the weekend left. There was a raffle where nearly everyone won a prize. I won a script from the audio series! This was followed by the closing ceremony which turned out to be very emotional. There were tears everywhere!
Then that was it and we all had to go home.