Ringer Spy Trueogre sends in this report and accompanying pictures from the Collectormania 2003 event from Milton Keynes in the UK. I absolutely love the picture of John Rhys Davies with the birthday balloon.

John Rhys Davies With Birthday Balloon

Trueogre writes:

After missing my train to Milton Keynes, I managed to get on the next train.

My hopes was to arrive at 8:00am to get there early and get in line, but with the missed train there was no hope of that, as I had to now arrive at 9:00am.

One thing about Milton Keynes, is that it is badly signposted – there are no maps telling you where MK Shopping Centre is. I had to follow a bunch of other people whom I thought looked like they were going to a fair.

I arrived to the Shopping Centre and still no directions to the event. I had to blindly stumble around hoping I was going in the right direction. But luck have it, I was.

The first thing I came to was a signing booth for Warwick Davis, Virginia Hey, Lou Ferrigno, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Daniel Logan and Chris Sabat. No Lord of the Rings yet.

So advancing into the swell of people who had turned up, I saw the next lot of signing booths, this time it was Paul McGann, Tom Felton, Devon Murry, Alan Ruck, Armin Shimerman, Corey Nemec, John Rhys Davis, Bruce Hopkins, and Sala Baker.

Over to the sides were Andy Serkis, and Billy Boyd. And Robert Englund with Samantha Bond.

First things first was go get my virtual ticket, John Rhys Davis, was already signing items, so I immediately got tickets to him as well as Armin. Since Andy and Billy weren’t there yet, a queue had built up none the less. My ticket for Billy was an orange 148 and my ticket for Andy was a blue 109.

I also had to get a queuing ticket for Robert Englund, his queue was more slower than John’s!

With my tickets in hand, I was free to wander around until it was my time to get into line. The time now was about 10am. Sala had no ticket for queing, so I immediately got into line to get his signature and picture. He was very nice and shook my hand, but me being me headed my hands straight for the pictures where upon they quickly zoomed to his hand. We swapped greetings and then I popped the question. ‘Do you fight Aragorn at the end of the third movie?’ he answered ‘I can’t say anything.’ so I said ‘Ah but you’re not denying it are you.’ he signed my photo and then replied ‘I don’t know what Peter Jackson has planned.’ I left only to realise I hadn’t paid the fellow for his two signatures, I felt like an idiot as people thought I was pushing in, but I wanted to pay the fellow his money which I eventually did.

I then went to queue in Bruce Hopkin’s queue as he didn’t have a ticket system either. He was very pleasant and lovely to meet. I asked him if he was going to be in the next movie, but his reply was that when filming Two Towers, Peter Jackson liked his role that he expanded it. But it was too late to insert him into the Pelennor Fields as they had already been filmed. So he appears more in Two Towers than he does in Return of the King. He said he was going back for reshoots soon.

Finally I got to queue for John, but disaster, I dropped my camera and busted it into a zillion bits. Had to buy another one sharpish, but I missed out my opportunity to have my photo with him. I had to get one from afar. But I wished him a happy birthday.

I asked the lady who looked after John’s queue what number they were on, she said 30. It was around 12:00pm, and he’d only signed a few, boy when John speaks, he speaks. So I went for some lunch while I waited for my numbers to come up.

When I got back around 1:30pm, I found that Billy and Andy had gone for lunch and they wouldn’t be back till 2pm. They were on tickets 160, so I was well in the zone as well as for Andy, so I waited for them to return. They didn’t come back till 2:30pm and the people that were in the queue when they went on their lunch break were let in first, then I got to get in the queue because of my ticket.

The queue went quite quickly, and by the time I got to Billy, I was in a fluster because I hadn’t got my stuff ready and I was rummaging in my bag for my ticket and photo’s to sign, so I hadn’t got a question prepared.

I quickly joined the queue for Andy and when I got there, I spoke to him about his role in Othello, but he said he hurt his back, and couldn’t do the last three weeks of the show.

All in all the ticket system wasn’t bad, but it was hard to hear the numbers come up, as the speaker was poor so you got muffled information. The only way to find out was to keep asking the helpers, what number, what number? They had a board up telling you what numbers they were on, but it wasn’t updated as quickly as it should have been.

But I did enjoy myself, and I’m very greatful that Milton Keynes held such an event, and that all the actors were gracious and kind enough to appear at the event. It’s something I won’t forget in a hurry.

– Trueogre