Sunday, 20 November 2016

Events, Events Events! Podcast Nine


Getting to join the ranks of the press for the largest Star Trek event in Europe was a mixed blessing.

While I got the chance to catch up with a few old friends it did seem that management of it was a bit mish mashy. The planned schedule went straight out of the window from arrival onwards as the five minute "round robin" interviews with guests was abandoned and entry into the event wasn't controlled as tightly as had been suggested.

While I should have been in from 12 noon I was wandering the tables from around 1115 which did give me the chance to meet Ben Robinson from The Official Starships Collection and get some unblocked photos of the bridge sets, costumes and art dotted around the rather sparcely occupied Hall Four of the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

It was great to get round and see a whole host of traders selling every Playmates action figure you would ever need through to t-shirts, phasers, mugs and then some but if you're visiting there were certain things you needed to go and take a look at in the main hall.

For one thing there was the Borg Alcove hidden away in a corner just by the Klingon Bridge to the rear of the hall. By that there was a full gallery of artwork from the 50 Artists 50 Years book plus some more interesting works such as the Hot Wheels Borg Cube and the "Spock with Cadillac" exhibits.

There were also a mass of costumes and props from the franchise dating back to the space suit from The Motion Picture as well as Ferengi and Cardassian costumes from Deep Space Nine, jumpsuits from Voyager, a future uniform from All Good Things..., Mirror Universe and Suliban outfits from Enterprise and a lot more besides.

The two bridge sets were amazing. The NCC-1701 set was a quarter of the bridge complete with captain's chair and helm and navigation stations. Importantly it was also the focal point for the guest photo shoot on the Friday afternoon. Notable absences were Robert Duncan McNeil, Gates McFadden, Wil Wheaton and Christopher Lloyd. Lloyd was signing in the afternoon but the other three Star Trek actors arrived for the Saturday and Sunday.


The original bridge was a glory to behold however The Next Generation bridge which sat behind it was the first thing you saw on arrival and was a real gem with curved Tactical station and rear displays all in place.

The press conference itself wheeled out a lot of the guests appearing and I even had a shot at asking William Shatner a question - I'll leave you to listen to the results on the podcast! Besides getting to attend and record the press conference I also had the rare chance to ask a few questions to Star Trek luminaries from the franchise and from every decade of the show's rich past. All those interviews are included on this time's podcast.

The other event well worth a mention here is the Star Trek: The Exhibition on the Golden Mile in Blackpool, UK. Originally planned to end at the beginning of November 2016 it's garnered enough interest to have its stay extended right up until Easter 2017. 

Finally getting down there on a fairly mild Saturday in November big thanks to Paul, Rui, Mark and the team at the exhibition for welcoming us as guests and taking the time to talk to Some Kind of Star Trek for the podcast. Big, big thanks and much appreciated!

While the exhibition isn't massive, it does contain some exceptional items. It was nearly impossible to get past the door since the foyer has Netflix beaming out episodes all day (I got there as season four of Voyager was coming to a close). With a customary glance back over the Star Trek history you're quickly launched into an array of props and costumes from the series, some of which date right back to the 1960's. Probably the highlights of this collection have to be the mock-up, event-used, signed El-Baz shuttlepod, the replica of the USS Enterprise bridge command chair and Helm/Navigation station but you'll be blown away with the chance to be beamed down from the Transporter Room.

In fact that effect is part of the Star Trek 50 app which visitors get to download on entrance and link in with the exhibition as they go round to enhance their experience. A little gimmicky yes, but it definitely adds to the occasion and makes this just that little bit unique and different to all those other exhibitions you go round.

My personal highlight actually wasn't actually any of the bigger stuff - although having the customary bridge shot was ace - it was seeing one of the unused Phase II costumes from the 1970's up close. Totally unexpected and just one of an array of stunning items rarely - and never - seen in the UK. 

So take a trip aboard the Some Kind of Star Trek podcast with myself and Tiff and find out more about Destination Star Trek and at Star Trek: The Exhibition.

You can download the podcast from Soundcloud HERE or drop over and search Some Kind of Star Trek on iTunes.


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