Walker Stalker London Olympia 2016
Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 February 2016
I bought a VIP ticket for this event on July 04th 2015 after enjoying myself at LFACC where I first met some guests from the show )Michael Traynor, Steve Coulter, Keisha Castle-Hughes). It was hell waiting so long for this event, but well worth the wait in the end. Throughout this I have been part of a brilliant Facebook community of fans who were also attending, and many friendships have been made online over the months. It was an invaluable way of keeping up to date with news of advance ticket sales, etc. Photo op tickets and a ticket for a special panel with Andy Lincoln and Norman Reedus was purchased in advance. I was lucky to get a couple of these as demand was out of this world.
The fun actually began on the Friday. With something like 6 to 8000 people expected each day, it was advised to get wristbands, etc sorted out at Will Call the day before the convention started if possible. I planned this into my weekend, and am so glad I did this. I picked up my lanyard, convention poster, my Andy/Norman panel ticket, and my photo op vouchers. I also picked up some tickets for friends. While waiting I got to meet various people in the queues including people from the Facebook forum. Two great people I met were Don who cosplays as Tyreese, and a new friend Gordon who I met up with briefly.
Considering Friday was just supposed to be about tickets, it proved to be a fun day out and precursor to the main event.
Saturday 20 February 2016
The main item I wanted signed was a poster, and you can see this here, although I will talk about the people who signed it further below. Everyone to date has also added their character name.
I knew going into this, that Norman Reedus would be most in demand, and probably got it just right. I was in the queue to get in for 07:30 with my friend Sam, and doors opened at 09:00 for VIPs (one hour earlier than standard entry). I went straight upstairs and joined the queue for Norman. Trying to get his autograph was probably the most unrewarding and upsetting aspect of the weekend for many as so many missed out due to the crazy demand. I passed the time waiting by chatting to many in the queue, having lots of fun in the process. I eventually met him at 12:25, 5 minutes short of 5 hours from starting to queue outside. As he was about to sign for me his manager informed him he only had one hour left, and he was visibly upset, and gestured at how huge the queue was. I then had my brief words with him, and he signed my poster nicely adding Daryl Dixon. Really pleased as when rushed he is prone to some poor squiggles, but this was a decent signature. Someone behind me took a load of pictures, and captured me in a few of them. I have included the only one which shows my face.
After Norman, I literally had 10 minutes to race downstairs and join the queue for a photo op with Sarah Wayne Callies. I just made it as the back of the line was disappearing into the photo area. Thrilled with this photo.
For the first time, I was able to step back a bit, get my bearings, and finish the day at my pace which was quite swift as I was trying to cram in as many autographs as possible to allow for photo ops and more relaxed time on the Sunday. I met up with my friend Sam, then met Kenric Green and Sonequa Martin-Green. They were both lovely, but with some guests charging for selfies, my budget was limited to what I could manage. Sonequa signed the poster for me, while Kenric signed an 8x10 and posed for a pic with me.
I then wandered over to see Giancarlo Esposito, and was hoping he would have a colour Face Off picture from Breaking Bad. His table only had B&W pics of this, so I passed, and went to see Greg Nicotero with my friend. I did not get anything from Greg myself.
I then met Alanna Masterson who signed the poster for me. I did not get a picture with her, but took one of her. She is a very bubbly and really nice to meet. After Alanna I met Chad Coleman who also signed the poster. Wish I had spent more time with him. Maybe next year. Then it was Tyler James Williams who was a lovely chap, and I had a picture with him. He also signed the poster for me. Additionally I met Lincoln A Castellanos who was a late addition from the Fear The Walking Dead cast. He was great fun to chat to, and I got a 10x8 signed by him.
I also got an 8x10 signed by Lawrence Gilliard Jr. He was great, and said how much he enjoyed delivering the legendary tainted meat line despite his exit. Someone else I would like to spend more time with another day.
I then visited Chandler Riggs who signed the poster for me. He had big queues, so was rushing through signing for people. Then it was Sarah Wayne Callies who recognised me from the earlier photo op, and we had a nice chat. Self confessed mid life crush on this lady. She charmed the hell out of me today. I had originally only planned to get the poster signed by her which she did do for me, but also grabbed an extra 8x10 signed by her as I could not resist. My friend also had a selfie with her.
After Sarah I went to see Alexandra Breckenridge who was lovely, and signed my poster plus two 8x10s.
Then it was Ross Marquand. He climbed the totem pole in coolness with me as instantly recognised my Killing Joke t-shirt and said he was also a fan. Awesome ice breaker! Lovely chap to meet. He signed a 10x8 for me, and allowed me to take a couple of pictures. Someone else managed to capture the moment Ross recognises my t-shirt. Lovely surprise coming across this photo, and it is included below.
After this my friend left for the day, and I quickly visited Jon Bernthal who signed my poster, and I got a brilliant signed Daredevil pic with him as The Punisher ahead of it airing. Cool dude, and nice to meet, but I did not get a picture with him. After this I went over to the panel area where I had my first sit down for the day, and saw the final panel of the day which was a brilliant one with Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies and Chandler Riggs.
I was about to leave and was wandering back past Giancarlo Esposito's stand when a volunteer I had spoken to earlier said they had a found a colour Face Off pic, and grabbed it for me. I got this signed by Giancarlo which was a top surprise. After this I was shattered and wandered home for the day. See Sunday for the pic as I had it dual signed by Greg Nicotero. On the way out I picked up a pre-ordered charity poster signed by Charlie Adlard.
Sunday 21 February 2016
Transport issues meant I did not get to the venue until 08:55, but was aided by my friend Gordon who arranged to meet me at their hotel in Shepherds Bush,and I shared a cab which saved my feet. After getting in, I immediately went to see Melissa McBride, and very fortunately had met her by about 09:45. She is awesome, and my favourite cast member of The Walking Dead. She signed the poster, and I could not resist getting a 10x8 signed by her.
I then went to try getting David Morrissey as he was only attending half days due to his theatre appearances. I ironically bumped into my friend Gordon, and waited with him, but it became apparent I would have to rush off for my 10:40 photo op with Melissa McBride as there was not enough time to see David. Gordon kindly took my poster and got it signed by David for me while I was at the photo op with Melissa. The latter made my day, and I love this picture.
I then quickly took the Breaking Bad Face Off pic to Greg Nicotero as he designed the legendary make-up for this, and he signed it also, plus allowed me to take some pictures. Really nice guy.
I then had a chance to chill with Sam and her partner, plus meet up with another friend Greg which was really nice. Had a coffee, and half an hour's rest before heading over to the panel area for the sold out charity panel with Andy Lincoln and Norman Reedus. Andy was only appearing at the event on the Sunday only, and even then his time was limited to the panel, and pre-purchased photo ops that had all sold out in seconds. All of these raised money for charity. The panel was a lot of fun, and continued my now chilled day theme. lol
I also recorded a short video of the intro to this panel - https://youtu.be/xhnTmZ3kfmk
After this it was straight over t the photo ops area for my holy grail photo - the cast picture with 12 cast members including Andy. I plan to get this enlarged and framed at home.
While waiting in the photo queue I made a quick video showing the scale of the venue - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4rju0zi5xk
The cast photo was delayed, so I missed a photo with Giancarlo Esposito. As a substitute, they gave me a photo with Alexandra Breckenridge which I was more than pleased with as she is lovely.
That was me done for the day with photos and autographs, but I took the time to grab another coffee and chill while Sean Patrick Flannery and David Della Rocco gave a fun panel. SPF is a riot, and this was a great finish to the day.
I had a superb weekend, and did not really want it to end, so wandered around a bit talking to a few people, but finally called it a day, and went home. Everyone connected with this event went overboard to make it a fun weekend, and I will definitely be returning in 2017.