MCM London Comic Con’s big day finally came on Saturday. There were panels and guests abound. Saturday definitely is by far the busiest day at the convention. While there was plenty to love, there were some great disappointments (and mishaps) as well.
Two highlights in the start of the day were Tyler James Williams of the Walking Dead and Kristian Bruun from the popular science fiction show Orphan Black. The two each did a Q&A that was supposed to be an hour long. Williams was terrific. The first thing he did when he entered the room was compliment the amazing fan base. The entire time after that he only showed the greatest respect for the people there. Every question he answered was very thoughtful. He acted more like a devoted fan than just a cast member. He definitely won the room over.
Then Bruun. BRUUN! This man is incredible. While Gillian Anderson was great to watch at her Friday panel, Bruun could give her a run for her money for best personality of the whole weekend. He kept everything super witty and told fantastic stories: how confusing it is to work with the same actress who plays so many parts and he gave full details about that torture scene from season 1. Unfortunately, there weren’t many fans there to actually see him. And that was a part of a major problem that happened at the con this weekend.
First, there was no emcee. When Williams entered he wasn’t even entirely sure what he was supposed to do. Brunn was over 30 minutes late because no one came to get him. He didn’t know what to do either. Thankfully they both were quick and took control by running a Q&A. Both were great sports and were totally gracious guests. But they kept getting interrupted due to ‘scheduling conflicts.’ The entire thing was a total fuck up. These were two guests from two of the biggest shows on television and weren’t allowed to have an entire hour with the devoted people who came to see them. It was really a shame. While they were great to listen to, there should have been someone in charge to make sure things were going right – and they certainly didn’t.
Even more embarrassing, no one thought to give the (paying) fans any respect. No apologises were made nor was there ever an explanation. Normally that wouldn’t be so bad is people hadn’t paid to be there.
That kerfuffle aside, the rest of the con appeared to run smoothly. The afternoon was full of panels that celebrated television on the other side of the pond. Upcoming ITV show, Jekyll & Hyde had many stars in tow to share information about their new show. Guests on the panel included stars Tom Bateman, Natalie Gumede and Richard E Grant, writer Charlie Higson, producers Francis Hopkinson and Foz Allen.
The show, which will be out next autumn on ITV, is more a sequel to the classic Victorian novel. Instead of focusing on the traditional story, this show will take place in the 1930s in London. Hyde’s grandson (Bateman) has been trying to figure out his grandfather’s secrets. Bateman discussed the intense challenge it was to bridge his Jekyll and Hyde. Unlike the book where Hyde becomes a grotesque ape-ish character, the alternative personality is “the guy we all think we are when we’re drunk.”
The cast and showrunners promise plenty of early monster movie inspiration. While Hyde will be battling his own personal demon, other terrifying creatures will be haunting the streets. In an exclusive first preview, there was lots to see including werewolves, vampires and a British icon. Of course that staggering icon is Richard E Grant. He was on the panel offering fantastic quotes like, “I’m very greatful for a job” and his favourite part of filming was “fucking lots of vampires.” Still waiting on clarification on whether or not this was a joke. But jokes aside, Higson promised to bring these British myths back (such as the black dog) to the forefront before they are forgotten in the mist.
British myths and stories were also the centre of attention for the panel of BBC miniseries Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. The show, based on the 2004 book by Susanna Clarke, follows two magicians as they bring magic back to England during the Napoleonic Wars. The panel was unlike any other from the weekend. Considering the original source material, many of the answers and questions were on a higher philosophical level. Actor and star Bertie Carvel was definitely unusual, but his love for the theatre showed through everything he said as the panel discussed things such as the importance of a community when creating a project that worth being proud of.
The seven-episode miniseries is now showing on Sundays on BBC 1.