Published on April 28th, 2015 | by Bean0
SHERLOCKED Convention Roundup
This weekend marked the inaugural convention for lovers of the BBC’s brilliant update of Conan Doyle’s classic detective, Sherlock. Held at the cavernous ExCeL in the heart of London’s serpentine Docklands, Sherlocked boasted an impressive roster of guests; Benedict Cumberbatch (titular hero), Mark Gatiss (marvellous Mycroft/co-creator), Steven Moffat (co-creator/Dr Who helmer), Sue Vertue (Producer), Andrew Scott (diabolical Moriarty), Una Stubbs (the awesome Mrs Hudson), Lara Pulver (The Woman, Irene Adler), Louise Brealey (Molly Stubbs), Rupert Graves (the long-suffering Lestrade), Arwel Jones (Production Designer) as well as a host more actors, special effects wizards and members of BBC’s flagship production.
The prospect of being surrounded by Holmes paraphernalia and it’s most ardent admirers was the perfect antidote to a drizzly April Sunday. And you’d have to be ardent at these prices – apparently purchasers of the Platinum ticket would be parting with £595, and VIP passes cost in the region of £3000! As a basic day-pass holder, the limitations were immediately apparent; photo ops, talks, signings and sundry were all bolt-on, and Cumberbatch was a Saturday-pass luxury; all this information was common knowledge though, so expectations were easily met, if not exceeded.
Not to be discouraged, there was still much to enjoy about the event. Having attended a few conventions in the past, I knew it a necessity to book in for one of the talks; my other half and I opted for the Mycroft/Moriarty combo with Mark Gatiss and Andrew Scott. The Q&A was held in the Main Hall, where an extended replica set of 221b’s famous living room had been erected on the stage. Such details abounded at ‘Sherlocked’, and it was an extra treat to watch these two chew the scenery!
Much banter abounded, with Mark Gatiss in particular holding court with charm and ease; the convention Q&A can be an unknown quantity, living or dying by the gameness and experience of the subjects. Luckily, these two are seasoned pro’s by now, and even the trickiest questions were given attentive consideration. Your heart goes out to those members of the audience who spend 45 minutes with their hand in the air, reaching Hermione-style for the conch/paddle (which Gatiss found a bit for, repeatedly announcing the numbers as Patrick McGoohan; “Number 1?” ) only to end up as a Romero feature in my photos.
Back on the floor, beautiful merchandise stretched before the eyes in every direction; exquisite portraits, incredible maquettes and models, stills for autograph-hunters, souvenirs (you want the same pocket magnifying-glass as Sherlock, look no further!), with everything from Sherlock espresso sets, tea-towels and box-sets, to busts, t-shirts and rather reasonably priced novelisations on offer.
Most magnificent, however, were the sets. Sherlock and John’s lounge made another appearance, as did Mycroft’s office and the door to 221b; it was a delightful treat to observe the little details (Mycroft’s guest-chairs look like instruments of torture, of course!) and appreciate the extraordinary amount of care taken when creating a show of this calibre. If you wanted an in depth explanation of the special effects, there was a stand for that, a lovingly-created exhibition of The Life of John Watson, and dotted about were a double-decker, a phone box and a tank!
An impressive amount of ownership was granted to the fandom, with a Cosplay Parade and day-long talks at the free Second Stage with members of the production and Podcasting fans alike. The Second Stage even provided a free talk with Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue at the close of the event, making sure even those on a budget had a great day.
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