Spark Night Preston – Meetings
April 30, 2017 1:53pm CST
The Friday 28th April 2017 event organized by Spark in Preston was centred on giving short talks involving true stories about ‘meetings;. This could be staff meetings, first meeting with boyfriends / girlfriends, etc. or as I used it, meetings with famous people. One lady spoke of how a near fatal car crash gave her a chance to meet the members of a rugby team who sprang to her rescue. Two lads gave alternate sides to how they met the future wife of one of them, (the lady herself was present too). Another speaker managed to say all the wrong thing on meeting royalty. As a frequent attendee at science fiction conventions and author book signings (having only just returned from a big event in Birmingham) I could have used my five minutes of talk time just a list of names, name-dropping like some old ham actor letting everyone know he once worked with or shared an elevator with Sir Lawrence Olivier (Dear Old Larry to you, luvvies). As the event venue was The Ham & Jam Café Bar in Preston, I referred to the Ham thespian actor as a Ham & Jam actor. I settled on my meetings with two actors who had appeared in Dr Who, both from the same Manopticon convention in Manchester in the mid-1990’s, around the time when the Paul McGann TV movie was the centrepiece of an abortive attempt to reboot Who after many years off our screens. David Prowse had been in a few John Pertwee Dr Who adventures before landing the role of Darth Vader. As a convention guest, he was funny, charming and he had many great anecdotes to share. He was also very relaxed and unpretentious. While some cast members were surrounded by bodyguards and only willing to sign or be photographed with purchase of official merchandising, Prowse simply let it be known that he was sitting at a desk in the book-dealing rooms and we could chat to him any time, without queuing or being limited as to what we could get signed etc. I popped by to see him and as we chatted, a conflict erupted at a nearby dealer’s table. A customer objected to a book-seller not reducing the price on something he wanted to haggle over, and started getting rather aggressive about it. Prowse apologized to me for the distraction as he went to help remove the angry customer, who fled quickly on seeing the actor approach. Prowse got the role of Vader for being around 7 foot tall. Prowse later continued apologizing to me as if having to deal with all that was in any way his fault but I told him it was the coolest thing I’d seen in years. Later that evening I attended the annual charity banquet meal. This was a meal where attendees paid to sit at a table with the TV players and producers. It was very much pot-luck which celebrity would share your table. Many clearly wanted to be on the table with John Pertwee, who is a very entertaining after dinner guest and one of the best loved Dr Who actors. I was at the table with John Leeson and David Brierley, who had each voiced robot dog K9 in the series. Both actors were highly entertaining. I was sitting right beside John Leeson, and I asked him what else he had appeared in. He replied with (quite deserved) tremendous pride that he had been the first actor to play Bungle The Bear in Children’s TV’s Rainbow. I found myself thinking I was with the real cream de la cream of British acting now. Leeson suggested we get some wine to go with our meal. As he asked me first I requested white wine, and watched in dread as everyone else (about fourteen diners and Leeson & Brierley) all chose red wine. I ended up with a full bottle of white wine to myself. I also started to worry that we might have to pay for the wine as it was not listed as part of the main meal (which we had paid for in advance). I sneaked a look at the wine menus and saw that mine cost a staggering £45.00. I was used to modestly priced supermarket wines. Fortunately, the wine was offered as a curtesy by the convention organizers, and after the meal I kept hold of the bottle so I could drink the wine for the rest of the night’s entertainments. A big thanks to everyone at Spark, Ham & Jam and a belated thanks to David Prowse, John Leeson and David Brierley too. Youtube – theme from Rainbow Arthur Chappell
8 people like this
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I saw the special about him on NetFlix and they talked about how he was especially famous as the Green Cross Code superhero, -how he also starred (under almost as much make-up as he wore as "Vader") as Frankenstein's Monster, and -how the part of Vader was stolen from him for the few seconds when we could see Vader's 'human' face (since Vader was supposed to be 40 or 50 at the time, and Prouse was more like twenty-something).
Any fan of Star Wars is extremely aware of who David Prowse is. The British actor played Darth Vader in the three original Star Wars movies yet his face was never seen. At the end of the original t…