Meeting Chris Barrie

5 March 2014

Second trip to the United Kingdom and it seemed to perfect that on our last full day in the country there was a Red Dwarf event on with Chris Barrie in attendance, the only main cast member I had yet to meet. Since this was the first event of this kind I had been to internationally I had contacted the event in advance to ask a few questions, comparing how their system worked to what I was used to over here, the system was fairly similar other than being advised that the photos were limited. We were staying with a friend in London at this stage of our trip and the event was at the National Space Centre in Leicester, which was over a two hour drive from London, so we kept the hire car for the day to make the trip.

This being the first international event of this type it was definitely interesting, for starters when buying our tickets we didn’t just buy tickets to the event but also an annual ticket to the National Space Centre, not something we’d be able to use but anyway. We travelled to the event and arrived around opening time, lined up for tickets but they couldn’t find out tickets because they had been put under the wrong name, little bit frustrating but nothing to worry too much about. That was until we were lining up to get a group photo with the Red Dwarf boys, and the person in front of us got the last photo token with the boys, we also tried to get a pass to enter the panel which I had originally not been informed you needed a ticket for but unfortunately there were no tickets available to that either as the staff had been handing them out to pretty much everyone and not just people who wanted to go.

I was frustrated that I was unable to get what I had come for and it didn’t really seem like there was any point in saying and possibly we were a little annoyed with the organisation of the event. Anyway we spoke to a staff member and explained that we had come all the way from Australia for this event and had missed out on a photo and panel ticket and that we would like a refund if possible. They were incredibly understand and processed the refund for us but we were also advised that if we still wanted to get autographs we could go back in and line up for them, so we did as I still really wanted to meet Chris Barrie.

So Jen and I stood in the line with all the other Red Dwarf fans, most of whom were also complaining about missing out on the photo opportunity and panel, there were a lot of “We drove x hours for this” Jen and I were like we flew from Australia and drive over 2hrs, we win! I had to admit there was definitely a lot of bitching in this queue, no one seemed to be happy about missing out on the photos and panel, which makes perfect sense but also because Craig Charles was suppose to be there as well so all four were but it only ended up being Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn and Danny John-Jules. It was pretty hilarious though when the guys started rocking up to sign the autographs and Danny sees me in the queue and comments “Fancy seeing you in a Red Dwarf queue” to which I replied “At least I’m in a different country this time!” the huff and puffs from the people around us was rather entertaining. Of course Danny would remember me as I had sat next to him for a couple of hours only a month before this event in Australia as his minder.

The autographs were a little different to what I was used to, instead of buying tokens and taking those up the a give to a minder to get the autograph the actors are there on their own and you pay them the money and get the autograph. Chris was first up and I was definitely a little excited, Jen had my camera and I labelled her my camera bitch for the day – thanks Jen! Chris was amazing and I chatted to him a little about being present for his Skype chat with Australia the month before we spoke about how it went and he told me to tell Scotty he was going to be sending the autographs back to him soon, so I texted Scotty right then and there so I wouldn’t forget. Oh and for autographs I had them all sign a complete DVD set of the complete I to VII series that I had brought the previous day at a HMV store, it was a great price compared to how much Red Dwarf DVDs have cost me in Australia so I just had to get it.

Next up in the line was Robert, who again was amazing although I can’t remember what we chatted about, but it was probably something relating to Australia. Danny was last for the autographs and the person ahead of us in the queue had managed to talk him into taking a group photo with her so I thought I was ask myself, so firstly we had a little catch up session whilst he signed my DVDs, and then I asked about getting a photo using the whole “I have come all the way from Australia” he said that if they did photos for everyone at the table it would take ages so suggested that we come and get one with them after their panel. So we decided to hang around until after the panel so I could get my photo with the boys. We did get to have a look around the Space Centre whilst we waited which was pretty cool.

Then it came to the panel and since we didn’t have tickets to actually attend the panel we just waited outside a side door with another person, we chatted away as we waited and it was actually quite fun even though we were missing the actual panel. After the panel ended someone came us got us and we went in to get the photo, one of the staff members was going to grab my camera to take the photo and I told her Jen could do it. So I’m standing on the stage with the guys and Jen’s got my camera and one of the guys asked who Jen is and I automatically respond with “She’s my camera bitch!” I believe it was Chris who then made a comment that that wasn’t a nice thing to say to which I responded I’m an Aussie, it’s a compliment” Robert then commented that his wife was Australian and never spoke like that to which Jen responded with “Not to your face at least” or something along those lines. We all had a bit of a laugh and then Jen goes to take the photo and Robert shouts out “Fuck Yeah” or something like that and I crack up laughing and that is what is happening in that photo, but I’m so glad I was lucky enough to get that photo!

That all done it was time to head back to London so off we went, stopping in at Milton Keynes and the Red Bull Factory on our way back, even though it was closed we at least got photos of the outside and Jen was happy. It was a Sunday and there were no concession tolls in London so we decided to go for a little drive around the city and took a drive over the London Tower Bridge. The next day we were supposed to be flying home so we dropped off the hire car and were about to head to the airport when we realised we had the wrong day and didn’t leave until the next day, so this was our bonus day in England.

Complete Guest List: Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn, Danny John-Jules, Ben Miller, Nick Young, Peter Vaughan Clarke, Sammie Winmill, Michael Holoway, Misako Koba, Nicola Bryant, John Leeson, Sophie Aldred, Dan Starkey, Catrin Stewart, Simon Hickson, Lee Sullivan, Andrew Cartmel, Nev Fountain, MG Harris, Mat Irvine, Jamie Anderson, Lalla Ward, Paul McGann, Shane Rimmer, Matt Zimmerman, David Graham, Lauren Crace, Andrew Cartmel and Nev Fountain.

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