With no too long to wait for the special convention coming to the East Midlands, Chris Harding has released this batch of information to have a read through. EM-Con is on a clear mission; to bring science fiction and fantasy to the East Midlands, something that has seen the EM-Con team travel the length and breadth of the country to secure the impressive array of stars, artists and attractions about to descend on Nottingham for EM-Con 2014. It’s a convention which aims to show Nottingham can compete with the likes of London, Manchester and Birmingham in the energetic and competitive world of science fiction and fantasy conventions.
Event organizer Lee Wallis explains “The idea came from a friend of mine, he’d been encouraging me to put on a sci-fi convention for a while. Unfortunately at the time I had other commitments, but eventually he convinced me to come to another convention he was attending. I went down and saw this queue of 5,000 people and thought, ‘actually he might be right, it is quite popular!’” And this friend who acted as catalyst? “That was Cat from Red Dwarf – Mr. Danny John Jules. He was convinced that in Nottingham there would be a lot of people who would enjoy this sort of thing. Just as I began to realise he was right he went off to the Caribbean for 8 months and left me to it! But in that time I discovered there’s been nothing like this in the East Midlands. Thanks to Danny and his industry contacts, EM-Con was able to hit the ground running – and because of that we’ve been able to fill a venue as beautiful as the Albert Hall, Nottingham”
Despite this being the first such event on such a grand scale, this is far from Nottingham’s only foray into the world of conventions and panels. Wallis explains, “As I say, I’m friends with Danny from Red Dwarf, who plays the Cat and through him we’d put on an evening with the rest of the cast at the Approach in Nottingham which was a sell-out. They liked Nottingham and they liked the crowd that we got there so it didn’t take much convincing for them to appear at EM-Con next year. We’ve got six of the guys from Red Dwarf – obviously Danny John Jules, Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Robert Llewellyn but we’ve also got Mac McDonald who played Captain Hollister and we’ve also got Norman Lovett coming who played Holly”
Since that starting point, EM-Con has quickly grown to encompass a wide range of science-fiction and fantasy franchises. Among those who will be visiting Nottingham next year will be a number of stars of Doctor Who; from Frazer Hines who played Jamie in the 1960s, right up to Dan Starkey and Simon Fisher-Becker who recently appeared in Doctor Who’s most recent season, Eve Miles and Kai Owen who are best known for their roles in Torchwood, and David Warner whose acting jobs include Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Titanic, Tron, Doctor Who, and many more! Fans attending the March 2014 event will also be able see stars from Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Star Wars as well as artists from the worlds of DC and Marvel Comics.
So far, with strong ticket sales and interest from around the world it seems something large is looming. Lee Wallis explains, “since I’ve been involved with this, I’ve heard from people as far away as Canada and Australia and I’ve met so many people who love attending conventions. It’s more than just being a fan, it’s like a family and it’s one we want to welcome everyone to, which is why we’ve made sure to keep ticket prices as low as possible. Whether you’ve been to a convention before or whether this is your first time, we’re putting the emphasis on EM-Con 2014 being warm, welcoming, and most of all fun for everyone!”
Article by Chris Harding