I heard the news earlier this year, and with a worldwide fanbase, it was to be expected. There is going to be a Sherlock convention.
I have never been to a convention before, but I’ve always been a fan of Sherlock, so I knew it would be a good experience. So I got tickets to attend the convention yesterday, at the ExCel Convention Centre in London.
First off, we had to go on numerous tube lines to get to the venue. This included my first ever visit on the DLR, which was interesting. After a large amount of travelling, we finally arrived at the ExCel to begin our day.
On the inside were lines of restaurants and takeaways, before signs pointed us in the direction of “S5”, the area of the ExCel was to be for the whole weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). As soon as I entered the ‘arena’, I noticed the room was filled with fellow fans (some in impressive cosplay), as well as a large amount of merchandise and elements from the show. We arrived in plenty of time (since the first item on our agenda was to see the Visual Effects Show with Danny Hargreaves), so we went straight to the queue for the autographs to get our free ‘virtual tickets’ for Sue Vertue (Producer) and Steven Moffatt (Co-Writer) autographs.
Although the idea of the ‘virtual ticket’ sounded a bit confusing at the time to a novice convention attendee, it was soon made clear that we can go and do other things with our time and check back regularly for our number to be called. Thankfully, our number for Sue Vertue was in the 30s, so it wasn’t long before we could get her autograph. As for Steven Moffat, we had tickets in the 300s, so that gave us a bit more time to explore.
After looking at other tweets from attendees, a select few did have a few negative things to say – mostly the organisation and price. Personally, I found that there was enough to do in one day (I was not too sure about whether an attendee could be completely entertained for the whole three days), and there were memorable things to do for free (such as see props and get a few autographs). That being said, the rather hefty prices for some autographs, photoshoots and ticket packets were a tad extortionate. Also, I will admit that the organisation wasn’t so good either, as we found with our first talk for the day…
The procedure to get into the main talk stage area, was to go out of S5, and queue inside the large ‘hangar’ of S7. This would then feed out of S7 all the way down to S6, where we can enter. But, when the talk comes to an end, and you have another talk after that, you have to exit through the door on the opposite side and quickly queue up again. It was a bit tiresome.
Anyway, we were fortunate enough to get tickets to talks by both Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott. But before that, we decided to go to the free visual effects show with Danny Hargreaves (a special effects designer who has worked on the likes of Doctor Who, Coronation Street and of course Sherlock). In this very interesting and entertaining talk, we were given demonstrations on how effective gunshot wounds are created in the show, as well as explosions. In particular, *SERIES THREE SPOILER ALERT* there is a scene in His Last Vow where after Sherlock is shot, he falls down and the camera tilts. In an exciting demonstration, we found out that it was actually a rig that Benedict sat on which lowered him to the floor as the camera tilted – fascinating!
It was great as well as Danny himself went back to his stall to demonstrate props to visitors. Later on in the day, I was able to ask him a couple of questions. These included what his most expensive stunt was (to which he said he couldn’t say since it will be coming up soon), what happens if an actor messes up the stunt (they get a strict telling-off!), and how the infamous fire scene from The Empty Hearse was done without harming Martin Freeman (short answer – controlling the fire with coolants and other cool stuff!). Danny was a really nice guy and it was great to find out more about the effects!
Benedict’s talk. Excuse the poor quality photos – the only way I could take photos was by taking a picture of the large screen, which doesn’t work well with iPhones!
Then came the talks. Understandably, Benedict’s was packed. At the start, there was a light show of eager fans wanting to take a photo of Sherlock himself. But then, the host began to ask questions about Benedict’s portrayal of the sleuth before turning the questions to the ecstatic audience. Overall, the talk was entertaining, with a Chewbacca and Smaug impression along the way.
After leaving to queue up again, we were let into Andrew Scott’s talk. Unfortunately, due to the audio set-up, I was unable to hear much of the talk apart from a few sections. In particular, I question I wanted to ask (which another fan managed to ask for me) was how Andrew would differ his performance of Moriarty to his performance of the next Bond villain. There was silence before he said his answer, but I was unable to hear what he said (thanks to the bad audio).
With the main talks done, we had some time to explore the props. There were opportunities to queue up and take a photo of yourself outside the 221B door, which we did and was great fun. As well as that, there were props such as The Lost Vermeer Painting, and the taxi from the first episode, A Study in Pink. You could also see the sets for Mycroft’s Office as well as the actual 221B set. There was even more props in a special Props Museum, which I will talk about later on in this post…
Another exclusive of the event was a special display called John Watson: History of a Hero. This detailed the life of John before his meeting with Sherlock. We find out about his childhood, as well as what caused the shooting in Afghanistan.
Then we had lunch before having another look at merchandise. At the end of the day, I bought the official programme, a pen (of course) and a printed picture which I could use for my autographs. There was also a BBC Shop on site that sold even more goodies, but the book I wanted to buy, The Sherlock Chronicles, was sadly sold out when I arrived.
So we decided to go to the Props Museum. Inside, were numerous props from the series. These ranged from costumes, to newspaper articles, to some of the most famous props from the show. Set in the form of a walk around museum, it was great to see the items up-close.
It wasn’t long before the day was starting to draw to a close, and we had seen it all – apart from the autographs. We went back and quickly joined the queue for Sue Vertue, who was really friendly asking how my day went. Then later on we met Steven Moffat, who gave me some interesting writing advice.
It was also exciting as whilst we were in the queue for Steven, we noticed that his son, Louis Moffatt, was also doing free signings. For those who don’t know, Louis is the actor that played Young Sherlock in Series Three. It was great to meet them, get their autographs for free and add it to my collection.
Overall, I had a great day. It was so great to see actors and props in real-life and feel involved and part of a fandom (as weird as that sounds). Sherlock has always been a favourite show of mine and so it was great to see how it comes together. I’m curious to see if the convention will happen again next year…
Did you go to the Sherlocked Convention? If not, who out of the cast would you most like to meet? Comment below!