As someone who has never attended a tv/movie convention event, I finally bit the bullet last week at the “Smegheads Strike Back” event in Adelaide, South Australia. This was the closest thing to a full cast event here ever, with Danny, Craig, Robert and Norman all listed to appear.
After seeing videos and reports of these type of things for years, including many years hoping back a visit back home to the UK would line up with Dimension Jump, it was a surreal experience to be in a room with fans of the same thing and see actors in person.
The day started off a little disorganised. Danny had to cancel the flight to Australia due to the passing of his father, but he was still gracious enough to call in via Skype, with him seeing the room and being piped over the speakers doing a short Q and A. It was incredibly generous of Danny to call in and obviously an attempt to not disappoint fans in the room who had come to see him, but to be honest I would have been perfectly fine if the organizers had just said he had to cancel due to a family death and then left it at that.
The morning felt somewhat like a school class. Episodes of Space Cadets and Red Dwarf XI were shown on the conference room screen while groups of people were called out for their paid photos.
We then broke for lunch, with myself feeling a little ‘is this it?’ after paying money to sit in a hotel meeting room watching things I could have Googled up for free at home.
After returning for lunch, the event proper got started.
First up was Norman. Anyone who has seen him know what that entails. Anyone who doesn’t, it’s not just seeing Holly talk, there was a lot of discussion of his current life, his career, and how he personally views his Dwarf legacy. I was fortunate enough to get to ask a question and it was really interesting to find out about his life before entering comedy and acting.
Next came Robert, and it was fantastic. There was a genuine appreciation for the opportunities that Red Dwarf has delivered to him, along with plenty of discussion on batteries, electric vehicles, and how he fell into his role.
Finally came Craig. He had entered the room sporadically during Norman and Roberts talks to heckle them, and entered the stage with a little comedic swagger.
Craigs Q and A was amusing and went far too quickly. The stand out moment was someone in the audience asking a question related to Craig and Chris Barries pay in the first series and how that influenced their relationship. It was an obviously awkward moment that had most of the audience staring at the guy who asked it, but Craig responded with good humour.
Finally all three attending actors joined together on stage for a joint interaction/Q&A, in which Craig brought up the awkward question asking attendee to the others, and then the day was over barring any remaining autographs.
It was great to attend, and while I couldn’t justify paying the autograph/photo prices it was fantastic to finally see some of the boys from the Dwarf in person.
Should add: In the Q & A sessions the cast gave away a couple of very interesting spoilers for series XII. Won’t repeat anything here but can say I’m not even more keen to see every episode of the next series!