On the weekend of the 21st March 2015 fans descended upon MCM Birmingham Comic Con. Formerly Birmingham Expo, this event has really grown as the Comic Con re-brand has caught a lot of people’s attention. This year with guests from The Walking Dead in attendance as well as Sleepy Hollow, attendance was high and queues were long. A total of 34,142 visitors attended the show in March which was an increase of 6,000 more than the last event. But Visionary Trek was only interested in one of the guests. Elusive on the convention circuit until recent times, this event was all about Colm Meaney.
Colm Meaney was situated along from the Sleepy Hollow and The Walking Dead guests. But before you could meet him you needed to grab your smileys. Smileys are tokens that you pay for away from the guest desks. This removed the guests and fan interaction with money at the event. You simply handed over your voucher in exchange for an autograph. An autograph will set you back £20 of your hard earned money, and considering the increased prices at events today, this price was as expected. No photos were allowed at the desk with any of the guests but you could also buy ‘professional’ photo shoots for an additional £20.
Colm Meaney is very approachable and an all-round nice guy. I was very interested in seeing his panel later in the day. As luck would have it I managed to get a front row seat for the panel. I felt that chairs were a bit too small and ended up sitting at a slight angle for the panel but I didn’t care – I was front row in the Colm Meaney panel! I was very curious to see what kind of questions that he would be asked – we know him from Star Trek, but he has had such a varied career. MCM don’t often get Star Trek guests to their events so it would be interesting to see what the audience knew him for.
Although Meaney did get two Star Trek questions – one being about the Klingon make-up he had to endure in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he received more questions relating to the other acting jobs he’s had. His current series Hell on Wheels will soon be airing its last season and he got quite a few questions on that, as well as how he had first broken into acting as he spoke about his experience on Z-Cars. He regaled the audience about his experience filming Westerns and how they’re not at all glamorous in any way and briefly touched on the fact that he was quite politically minded. The panel was really interesting and it was nice to hear Meaney talk about shows other than Trek. His vast CV made his panel really interesting to listen to and never once was there an awkward pause or moment when no questions were being asked.
As far as MCM events go this was one of the best I have attended. Although the crowd levels were high, if you knew what you wanted to get out of the event then it was possible and the crew were very helpful. Photos from the event can be found here.
You can catch Hell on Wheels season 2 on ITV4 and season 4 on TCM in the UK. The fifth and final season will air in the US beginning the Summer of 2015.