Merry Christmas, everyone! And a Happy Hanukkah, Joyeux Noël, Fröhliche Weihnachten and Kurisumasu Omedeto to a few of our international readers! Did anyone get the second series boxset in their pressie haul yesterday? If you haven't, then we've got a little something to fill up your SJA quota this holiday season! Been holding off on posting this 'cause there just hasn't been much to report on the SJA front lately, but I think you've all waited long enough :)
Many thanks to Tysall's Photography
Memorabilia, one of the most popular twice-annual sci-fi conventions in Britain! And on Sunday, 22nd November - the Birmingham side of the event played host to a Tommy Knight, Daniel Anthony and Anjli Mohindra signing!
Aside from the private screening in Liverpool a few months ago, this was the first time the SJA Trio v2.0 had made an appearance together for the general public. With hardly any SJA events this year and the new DVD boxset having just been released a week prior, eager fans of all ages were only too happy to attend and take advantage of the rare opportunity to meet the cast!
This is what their queue looked like well before they'd even arrived!
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When they finally made an appearance, the queue exploded to twice its size in minutes! And throughout the day, it got bigger still! Memorabilia staff had to cater for SO many people that in the end they had to adjust the method of queuing into a more compact snaking method to take up less space. On top of that, a Memorabilia rep apologetically cut off the queue every half an hour if it got too lengthy, and fans started to form a queue to get into the queue! Madness xP I kid you not, the SJA trio had the longest queue of any signing table that day! Even Harry Potter's Tom Felton, also attending, struggled to match a third of the numbers they were getting. They were that popular!
Anjli and Danny embraced their random side and donned two balloon hats made for them by a wandering entertainer, who was kind enough to manipulate additional balloon shapes for the kids waiting in the queue!
The cast tirelessly signed items and posed for photos for two hours straight, before heading off to the Green Room for a breather!
Many thanks to Tysall's Photography
Courtesy of the Memorabilia Press Office, SARAH-JANE.tv were lucky enough to use this time to have an exclusive private interview with the trio backstage! Furthermore, I was able to bring along a few of our giddy blog readers and competition winners to meet the cast, as well!
Upon entering the Green Room, Anjli greeted me with a hug and thanked me for the flowers she'd been sent for her final theatrical performance of East Is East! Danny bellowed out a jovial 'Nabs!' before leading me into another hug [I may have kinda sorta squeezed him so hard I lifted him off the ground! :P] And as for Tom, I've met the fellow so often that a hug's pretty much our version of a handshake! For me though, the highlight of these pleasant introductories was seeing fans who'd never met the cast before, now having the enviable opportunity to talk to them one-on-one! It's moments like that which make writing for this humble little blog of ours a truly rewarding experience. =)
After all the hugs and hellos were out the way, we all sat down around a table for a chat. Despite having met Dan and Tom a few times before, even I - along with the SARAH-JANE.tv readers who'd accompanied me to the Green Room - felt slightly starstruck sitting across from three of the most well-known faces in British Children's Drama! Bricking it as we were, once the questions started flowing out - we felt a little more at ease in speaking to them.
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The questions above were asked by Ann Evans, a writer for Collectors Gazette - a monthly publication you can find on the magazine racks of most WHSmith stores across the nation. Their article on Memorabilia and their interview with the SJA cast [and possibly even me!] is going to be featured in their February issue, so keep an eye out! After the video above had concluded, I and two of my fellow uberfans, alias TheNobleOne and Phoenix123, had the chance to ask the cast some of our own burning questions. God help them! :P
Nabu: Anj, what do your extended family think of you working on the show? Do you go to family reunions and have all your little cousins come up to you and say 'Ooh, I saw you on the telly'?
Anjli: Ha, yeah. Most of the young people in my family, all of my cousins - they get school cred for it! They say their cousin's in Sarah Jane, which is really sweet. My extended family love it. I'm lucky to be part of an Asian family where it doesn't irritate them or insult their culture or anything by me being on TV.
TheNobleOne: Are you really cultural at home, do you speak Hindi etc?
Anjli: Nah, not in any way - which is really bad. :P I can put a chapati under the grill! And I do understand the language fluently, but can't speak a word.
Phoenix123: Are Rani and Clyde going to get it on?!
Anjli: Ahaha! *does a saucy cat call*
Nabu: It's been hinted to in the series, we've seen a little shippiness - if you know what that is?
TheNobleOne: Yeah, it's called Clani :)
Anjli: CLANI?! xD
Nabu: There's also Cluke(!)
TheNobleOne: I invented Cluke. :P
Tommy: Cluke(!) :D
Anjli: I like Clani! *ponders* Hmm, we can't really say!
Daniel: Yeah, can't say - I'd love to know.
Tommy: There's going to be a massive wedding(!) *the trio hold each other's hands* We're going to do a joint proposal at some point, but don't tell Anj! ;)
Nabu: Ah, gotcha ;) Speaking of which, were you aware that the fandom were 'shipping' you at all?! Pairing characters together romantically? Cluke in particular, aka. Clyde/Luke, has quite a following! It's spurred on a bit by several moments in the second series, especially Mark of the Berserker - which has this one scene where it looks like Luke's staring at Clyde's foot(!)
*the whole table bursts out laughing*
Tommy: *bemused* I don't remember staring at his foot(?!) :P
Daniel: It was when I had my toe hanging over the side of the bed!
Tommy: *realisation* Ohhhh yeah!
Nabu: We kinda pick up on out-of-context moments like that and go with it!
Daniel: Hmmm, I dunno. I guess, at times it can be a little...suggestible. :P
Anjli: Or it's just love(!) :D
Tommy: Genuine love!
Daniel: Yeah, just genuine love for each other. :)
Tommy: I don't think there's anything other than friendship, though.
Nabu: Oh yeah, that's a given. I think it's mostly subtext, if that(!) Bromance!
We had to conclude our interview at this point, as the trio were running a bit late for their panel segment at 2pm! But before they went off, they were kind enough to sign loads of items for all of us! My own dorky haul from the day:
Signed DWM Special Edition Sarah Jane Smith issue!
Signed Enemy of the Bane Script
[Danny was amazed I had this at all!]
Signed Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith Storyboard
[Cast found this particularly interesting as it was their first time seeing it!]
Signed SJA Audiobook Covers, ticket and promotional postcard
[Anjli was pleased to see I'd gone to see her show!]
And lastly, signed promo pics they were giving out to everyone!
The cast were escorted out the Green Room and to the main stage across the venue, where all the panels were being held. We accompanied them feeling as though we, too, were getting the VIP escort treatment! *dork*
We parted ways, however, when the trio were sent to the side of the stage to be welcomed on, and we had to find some seats to occupy if we wanted to see them give their talk. Unfortunately for us, none were available! The seating area had filled up much earlier, and the side and back areas were bursting with people trying to get a better look. We should've expected this, considering how busy the signing queue was... All was not lost, however - as we managed to find an unoccupied vantage point to the left of the main stage! Phew!
The panel lasted about twenty minutes, the last eight of which you can watch above. The questions asked received quite informative and lengthy answers, even the generic ones like 'What's your favourite monster?' My favourite one has to be 'If you could do a film, what would you like it to be about?' - which I'd been dying to ask them. Tom replied that he'd like to be a 'Samurai ninja!' running around with a sword saving the world, with big explosions going on around him for no apparent reason. Teh lulz! Anjli, on the other hand, would like to play a fish à la Finding Nemo [Tom: Dory!] whereas Dan likes his dark and evil characters, so he'd love to play a baddie in a Die Hard-type film!
The cast came up with some brilliant one-liners during the panel, too, like Tom claiming Luke saves the world before he's even had his Coco Pops! Anj got plenty o' giggles when she said David Tennant looked 'really hot in real life'. T'was also hilarious to hear that Dan apparently didn't know David was Scottish, and thought he was putting on the accent when they spoke! Bless!
The panel concluded to heavy applause at half past two, and the cast went off to sign items for another two hours before retiring at 5pm. As far as SJA signings go, this is the best 2009 has had to offer. The Borders signing from last year still reigns supreme as the best overall, but in terms of turnout and value for money - Memorabilia's organisers have done a truly grand job!
Many thanks to Ralph-Uren Communications for providing SARAH-JANE.tv with five Memorabilia tickets to offer our readers, as well as the Press Pass, free entry and Green Room chat opportunity with the cast they offered me! <3 div="">3>