Newcastle Film & Comic Con: Fans queue for hours to meet screen idols

The first Newcastle Film & Comic Con attracted thousands to Metro Radio Arena

Storm Troopers from Star Wars at the Comic Con event at the Arena, Newcastle
Storm Troopers from Star Wars at the Comic Con event at the Arena, Newcastle

Patience may not be the most exciting superhero power but it came in handy as thousands of fans queued to meet their screen and comic book idols.

The success of the first Newcastle Film & Comic Con took even the organisers by surprise as some people waited several hours to get into the Metro Radio Arena on Saturday.

Andrew Bowman, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, said he queued outside the venue for four hours with son Gary, aged nine, and daughter Laura, 13, who were both in fancy dress.

Once inside he queued again to secure the signature of Sylvester McCoy in an old Doctor Who annual which has become a prized autograph book.


“I’ve been to these events in London and there are never queues so I’m really tired now,” said the former owner of a comic bookshop in Durham.

He wasn’t complaining. Like most of the thousands who flocked to the event, he seemed happy to be among like-minded people, many of them engaging in ‘cosplay’ – the name given to dressing up as your fantasy hero and heroine.

Mr Bowman pointed out the many Green Lanterns in the crowd, evidently all fans of an old DC Comics creation. The place was also crawling with David Tennants, who had arguably taken the easy option of simply wearing dark-framed spectacles and long brown coats to ape their favourite Doctor.

Two real-life Doctors were among the stars gathered to talk and sign autographs over the weekend. Sylvester McCoy was in demand both as the Doctor, from 1987-89, and as the wizard Radagast in Peter Jackson’s big-screen trilogy The Hobbit.

As people paid £15 for a signed photograph, he said: “It is hard work but I do enjoy these things because the fans enjoy a one-to-one and I like the Q and As (question and answer sessions) because for me it’s a bit of a stand-up comedy routine.”

Paul McGann, who became the eighth Doctor in a 1996 TV film, told his very knowledgeable audience: “I only ever shot 20 days as Doctor Who. That’s less than three weeks.”

Jill Ubdegrove, spokesman for Showmasters Ltd, which also runs similar events in London, Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Glasgow, said the Newcastle event would be repeated next year.

She estimated about 6,000 people attended on Saturday and about 5,000 yesterday when access to the venue had become more streamlined.

The queues had been due to “a mixture of things”, she said.

“But what you can’t control is how many people turn up on the day.

“With new events you have to say tickets will be available on the door but now we’ve got a feel for Newcastle we’ll be looking at this and working with the venue. We never make mistakes twice.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
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