Admittedly I knew very little about Neil Roberts....okay, I knew nothing about Neil Roberts apart from what I looked up on imdb before going to London.....his link with SGA, an audio book which he had just recorded with Paul McGillion.....of which I recall the theme was a planet on which a volcano was erupting with the local population suffering from some disease.
I did actually miss much of Neil Roberts talks as I was busy getting hugs from Kavan Smith and Chuck Campbell....more than one from Kavan because I'm special...and the camera flare from my glasses meant the photographer had to retake the picture.
Anyway, much of what Neil Roberts said is mostly unprintable...he's a man who likes to wander in terms of subject matter and leans strongly toward the 1970's comedy tones and style of Frankie Howerd....It proved popular which much of the audience but I must admit I do prefer hearing career and behind the scenes stories.
The man has had a varied career including Diagnosis Murder, Charmed, Sliders, The Bill and Holby City....and once starred in a rather dodgy looking film called 'Nick Fury' with none other than The Hoff (who was sporting a rather camp looking eye patch)....Oh, and on British TV he was the face behind Max Meltus, an ad campaign for a cold and flu remedy, with themes of James Bond, in the fight against 'Chesticov'.
The one question which he did answer was that his dream role would be Doctor Who and, due to his connections with Stephen Moffat, he was apparently on the list at one time....'above George Bush, but below Obama'...he has also recorded Doctor Who audios with Slyvester McCoy (7th Doctor) in which he played the sidekick.
Neil was around for the parties in the evening...joining with the con dances, making me look pretty damn good...especially when Prince Charming was played.....and finally he did manage to educate us meager audience when one of his stories involved mention of toys of the adult persuasion we all learnt the sign language version from the lady interpreter in the front row.
James 'Bam Bam' Bamford
Right, well I was particularly excited by this guest as the Sunday talk included a demonstration Bam Bam had put together....before that though his Q & A....
Bam Bam started out as a martial arts expert and got into movies by being the right height to double for Micheal Dudikoff (Cobra series), he then trained in other disciplines. He mentioned how the process of getting into stunt work is different in most countries...in the UK for example stunt performers have to be registered in multiple skills in which they must take an exam before they can work (figures, only the British would form an orderly queue in the world of stunts)
In terms of whether he's limited by what he can do stuntwise, due to actors and legalities etc, he tends to be able to due what he wants....as long as the actors are up for it and that the stunt in question is indeed possible...generally it's a case of 'here's the script...make it look cool'
He was asked if there were any actors who are bad at or scared to do stunts and without missing a beat 'David Hewlett' was Bam Bam's reply 'and, er......David Hewlett'. He goes on to say that David is actually pretty good with the stunts, though a tad accident prone (is there anyone out there who finds that hard to believe?....anyone?...yup, didn't think so) 'Even if there's not a way to hurt himself, David will find a way to hurt himself' ....Bam Bam continues to say that because of the trust everyone has in him the actors tend to try it out the stunts because of the safety they know he provides....even David 'Just put some elbow and knee pads on him...and go David don't hurt yourself....and he will hurt himself' (much laughter from the audience...in fact more laughter than the few token 'aws' thrown in on behalf of David).
In the episode 'Runner' Bam Bam aided in authentic performance from David while he was suspended upside down from a wire by setting him into a spin as the director yelled 'action'...producing many expletives from the actor, as well as producing a technicolour yawn. On other occasion a wire stunt, in the episode 'Doppleganger', involving Joe Flanigan gave the poor man a case of whiplash due to repeated takes...which according to Bam Bam were purely due to director Robert Cooper's desire to torture Joe.
Bam Bam loves to do car stunts and has done 'just about everything you can do in a car'.....at which point the, gutter minded, audiences laughter cause the man to add 'I didn't say on the back seat'.....He enjoys the driving, pushing button at the right time which launches him into the air and then landing on the other side (hopefully in one piece) process......he then mimes getting out of the car in a slight daze 'Was that cool?.....what's my name?'
When asked if he had ever been hurt he spoke about a fall through a roof stunt which caused him to bruise some ribs and tear his lat muscle (ouch) and then having to perform as David Duchovny's double in The X-Files the following week.....which involved being thrown into the side of a van....much sympathy drawing of breath from the audience was heard as he mentioned that you can see the expectant grimace of pain on his face if you slow-mo the scene. (not sure of the episode but he thought it was in season 3). His other injury happen whilst filming Scary Movie 4 in which a fall down a 17ft hill landing on frozen ground has caused a hip injury and the appearance of 'walking like a pimp'.
Bam Bam was a brilliant guest, I got to speak with him, and his utterly gorgeous and lovely wife (who'd spent the weekend on Oxford Street) at the Saturday night party. He posed for several photos with fans...the face pulling possibly due to the whiskey he's been sharing with Paul McGillion.
Final part for now and the Stunt demonstration in which Bam Bam brought in two British Stunt performers, James Embree and Adam Young, and one of the Wolf crew (who's in training) and a fan TinaK (aka teknikal) who he taught a series of 9 moves of a very cool fight sequence. I was really impressed as the 'fight' (which Bam Bam put together on the day and Tina had very little time to learn) was a great insight into the style, techniques, problems and general bad ass-ness of the stunt crew...with a little goofing around too boot.
For the life of me I can't remember what comment was made which initiated it (something to do with Scottish manliness no doubt....and a cunning plot from Chuck who had whispered something into Bam Bam's ear moments before) but after the Stunt demo Paul McGillion came storming onto the stage, walked right up to Bam Bam and 'head butted' him, gave a 'I mean business' look to the audience as he stripped off his shirt (unfortunately a tee was underneath) and proceeded in giving the same treatment to the other stunt guys, leaving them writhing on the floor as a mass of cheers, laughter and whooping erupted from the audience...I'm afraid I wasn't quick enough to capture the action of video and the motion was too quick to focus anything more than the following shot:
Finally, here's a couple of videos for you're enjoyment:
Bam Bam runs through the final stage of the 'fight'....'strike a pose'
and Tina on her final run through.....'action'
and Tina on her final run through.....'action'