Saturday 8th October 2016, 9:30am-6:00pm – Norfolk Showground – £10.00 standard entry
After taking 2015 off, Norfolk’s premier TV, film and comic convention (or Nor-Con for short) returned to East Anglia earlier today for its sixth (almost-)annual celebration of all things geek and cult.
Relocating from 2014’s multi-roomed labyrinth that was Norwich’s Holiday Inn, this year’s floor-plan covered the vast hanger-like main hall of its spacious new venue, the Norfolk Showground Arena. Upon entering, you were immersed head-on in an eclectic array of merchandise stalls, indie authors, comic book artists and prop/model displays and exhibits (Battlestar Galactica; Star Wars) which dominated the front and middle of the hall. I was also happy to bump into – and pose with – the T.I.T. mobile and Lightning McQueen. The Iron Throne and T.A.R.D.I.S. were also in attendance.
To the back left resided the professional photo-shoot booth and a rather snazzy Delorean for you to sit inside (or hop on the adjacent hover-board). Sandwiched between these was a professional cosplay body painting demonstration, where the less body-conscious models happily stood near-statuesque for prolonged periods to be painted head-to-toe throughout the day!
Back right was where the celebrity line-up sat. This was the main port of call for me, personally. Here you could meet, grab a selfie with or get an autograph from this year’s special guests, including Peter Doctor Who Davison and Paul “Greedo” Blake. While Norwich can never hope to get the same quantity of A-list names as London Film & Comic-Con, for example, I must confess to being very pleased with the quality of names present today – even if three M’s pulled out before show time (a Musketeer, a Misfit and Miriam Blackadder Margoyles).
I have taken it upon myself over the years to meet all of the Red Dwarf cast, so for me Danny “Cat” John-Jules was a huge draw – and judging by the length of his line, everyone else felt the same way! So, too, were Primeval stars Andrew Lee Potts and Hannah Spearritt, who happily added their signatures alongside Ben Miller’s to my Series One DVD cover. I was thrilled to meet all of them – including Norman “Holly” Lovett for the second time – and was particularly impressed by their chattiness, energy and approachability; only too willing to converse, move about and pose as if they really wanted to be there (which is not always the case in such forced and conveyor-like situations).
The centre of the back of the Arena was dominated by the impressively large main stage area, upon which all of the guests would take for talks and Q&A sessions throughout the day. In front of this were cordoned-off rows of seating for attendees to listen in, although judging by the volume of the Pokémon, Lois & Clark and Power Rangers themes which were being piped through the sound system during off-stage down time, it was quite possible to hear the talks throughout the venue.
Due to work commitments I was only able to spend just over two hours at Nor-Con 6. I would have liked longer, but was able to make my way around all the major points of interest before my reminder alarm vibrated in my pocket. Back to reality… but if the rest of the day was as fun, bustling and well-organised as the morning than this was a stellar event which the organisers can be proud of – doubly so as it was selflessly raising money for charity.
I first attended Nor-Con back in 2010 when it was located in the LCR of the city’s UEA, and it has grown so much larger and more confident in the intervening years. Judging by the astonishing turn-out and huge level of demand for today’s convention, I can only see it growing bigger and better in the future, and already I am eagerly anticipating the guest announcements for Nor-Con 7!
CR@B’s Claw Score: