|Dates:||March 6-8, 1998|
|Location:||Sachas Hotel, Manchester, England|
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The con's charity was "The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland."
A flyer notes: "Please note that your details will be held on a computer readable format."
From a flyer:
We have planned to run this event to co-incide with the scheduled filming of Highlander in Paris, which makes all the stars available to us. Our intentions are to invite more guests, however, this depends on You. Register early, as this will mean that we have both the time and the budget to achieve this aim.
We travelled up to Manchester on Thursday afternoon and the train journey passed really quickly with the six of us talking about 'Highlander' and tossing story ideas about. The worst one has to be the idea of the Immortal Teletubbies of the Apocalypse. Up until Monday, I had not seen the programme but then I managed to catch it while Manjula and I were packing, anyway that is a separate tale.
Unfortunately we did not get to see Valentine Pelka Friday night. We did go to the VPFC party but we did not stay that long, however we were only in the toilets when Valentine turned up and a so called friend did not tell us until it was way too late.
We did have some VP magic though when we saw the first UK screening of the final two episodes of "Highlander" - 'To be' and 'Not to be'. Valentine was only in the second part but when he leapt through a window with a submachine gun blasting away he received a great big cheer. It was a great entrance and he was his usual wicked best as Kronos in an episode which allowed him to live while Methos died.
Saturday saw us all up early and getting into the main hall in time for the opening ceremony. The writers - Rebecca Neason (novelist). Donna Lettow (writer on series and novelist) and Gillian Horvath (series writer) were introduced first. Then it was Marcus Testory and he was a last minute replacement for Peter Wingfield who was offered a part in the US series 'The Sentinel' so could not attend. It was all due to Valentine that Marcus turned up as it was his suggestion that he be asked to attend as a replacement for Peter. The Peter who could turn up was introduced next and that was Peter Hudson who played James Horton. Finally it was the guest of honour's turn to appear and Valentine was greeted by a tremendous cheer as he came through the door. All three of the men looked absolutely gorgeous - Marcus looked a lot younger than I had imagined, Peter was very dashing but being blond was not my type and as for Valentine, well what could I say but that my heart was beating like mad when I saw him.
Manjula, Jo and I had managed to finish off the film in our cameras so it was a quick dash to Boots to have them developed in an hour. We were pleased with the results and were back in the hall getting a prime seat ready for the afternoon's session.
Marcus Testory was the first actor to make his appearance on stage at Saturday lunchtime and he handled it incredibly well. It was his first convention appearance on stage without anyone else. The only other convention was one in America which he attended with Peter Wingfield. He was funny and amusing although one question which should not have been asked (what were his thoughts on slash fiction, specially in relation to his character Caspian) almost confused him, the remaining questions did not flummox him at all. He was asked whether he had any problems when filming the flashback scenes and it turned out that he hadn't ridden much if at all before and was given a horse which was too strong for him. As we learned later Valentine ended up with that one and Marcus had the one originally allocated to him. He ended up going off in one direction while the other three horses, with their riders, went the correct way. Valentine made circular movements with his hand on Sunday to show how well Marcus was handling the horse. Marcus also said that he was not in makeup that long as the tattoo he wore as Caspian is already there, so hidden under that hair is the real article. He also talked a bit about his band M.E.L.T. (Mother Earth Love Truth).
It was then time for a general panel discussing aspects of 'Highlander' so we took the opportunity to eat our lunch and visit the dealer's room. Then it was back in our seats for Valentine's first appearance on stage on his own. He was nervous I think about coming out on to the stage as he had some notes with him but once he was there, he talked a bit about his previous roles and then opened up the floor to other questions. The girl who had asked Marcus the slash question asked it again to Valentine but he had been forewarned and was ready with a categoric denial of having any interest in that sort of thing. He said that he had never heard of the term 'slash' before.
He was very relaxed, handling the questions easily. He was wearing Kronos' leather jacket, a present from Ken Gord, and gave quite an insight into working with Adrian. He was very complimentary about AP, even if he did call VP a dummy! (A long story for later). Valentine said Adrian got the four horsemen together in his hotel room and they spent seven hours going over the characters, so that when they started filming, they were the Horsemen, not four actors on horses. He also said that he nearly got beheaded for real, as he made a mistake in one of the fights, blocking down when he should have blocked to the side, leaving Adrian with a clear strike at his head, but AP's control is such that the blade stopped inches from his head, instead of taking it.
After Valentine, it was Peter Hudson's turn. Peter was just as nervous as Marcus and Valentine had been as this had been his first convention. To break the ice he asked if anyone wanted to make an offer for him as we had just had an auction which was compered by Jason Joiner. It would seem that he is doing the voices of a cartoon on Channel 5, the name of which 1 cannot remember apart from it is something to do with Greek mythology. It was then time for the first autograph session of the weekend and after queuing up for two hours, I had my autographs so I was happy. Later on we had the fancy dress and disco Saturday night which was loud and kept the guests out of the room apart from when they ventured in to judge costumes for the competition. Peter Hudson was the exception staying to dance for an hour or so before disappearing for the night. Sunday dawned early with an Sam showing of 'To Be' and 'Not to Be' which some" of us were seeing for the second time. Donna and Gillian were back doing there talk in the main hall and then there was an abbreviated showing of their 'Script to Screen' video which did include Valentine's audition which he was horrified to learn we had seen that afternoon. He was just glad he hadn't seen it. Marcus was on stage again at the same time and then it was the second autograph session which included Peter Diamond this time round. Then Peter Hudson was back on stage and then we had what was probably the highlight of the weekend all three acting guests on stage at the same time. As the autograph session had just ended, Valentine came on still eating a sandwich so I was hoping that photo came out!! It did luckily.
Anyway when the three were seated, hilarity ensued with Marcus's microphone continually drooping down to the table, not that it was much use as he was in hysterics most of the time he was on stage. During the session, VP was talking about filming the naked scenes in 'Rowing in the Wind' and he was saying that the first scene he had to film was one of these. The actress tried to put him at ease and Valentine thought that 'she handled it well' which had everyone in fits of laughter and made him go bright red as he realised what he had inadvertently said. Later on someone asked what they looked for in a role to which Peter promptly replied 'a sausage' and Valentine retorted he was not too keen on sausage.
As they were ending the session they were each handed a gift. Peter was given a wooden platter which had Chronicles 98 and Peter Hudson written around the edge whilst in the centre was the Watcher symbol. Marcus was presented with a bottle of whisky and Valentine was given a Leeds United shirt, along with a football signed by all of the team which he seemed mightily impressed with. So much so that whenever he was on stage afterwards the ball came to.
Then it was time for Peter Diamond to finally make his appearance on stage. He started off demonstrating how punches are thrown for the camera, all a matter of camera angles really, and then he was on his own for a while talking about his work on Highlander, film and series. Then it was time to demonstrate how he would choreograph a sword fight and asked if there was an actor in the audience. Valentine made his second appearance on the stage and Peter asked him his name before asking if he had any previous fencing experience. Valentine said a little and for the next ten minutes they demonstrated how a sequence would be worked out. Then Valentine left the stage leaving Peter to a Q & A session.
Valentine was back on stage at 3.30, wearing his Leeds United shirt which itched like hell as he was continually scratching. He told us a few more anecdotes about filming 'Rowing' and the horse he rode in that. The horse took a liking to him and whenever he dismounted, the horse would follow him so someone would have to hold a piece of chocolate out of camera shot to keep it from following VP. He came up with quite a few stories of the horses he had ridden in 'First Knight' (Fury - the black horse in the Lloyd's bank adverts), 'Ivanhoe' and 'Highlander' and was very enthusiastic about answering questions.
Valentine also told us that he and his wife are expecting their first child. He didn't say when it was due but it would be their second child as the cat (His Nibs) was counted as the first!!!! Hopefully it will not be due in September, in time for Albacon, but if it was I will survive as I have survived Chronicles without Peter Wingfield.
Donna, Gillian and Rebecca came on stage for a general Q & A session in which Donna said that Elizabeth Gracen (Amanda) was signed for the spin-off 'Highlander' series which would not be called 'The Raven' and there had never been a 'Methos Chronicles' suggested at any time.
Valentine joined them briefly before the four of them handed out the prizes for competition run throughout the weekend. I didn't win anything but I had such a great time that it didn't bother me at all. I know we all enjoyed ourselves and after building up to the convention for the past few months, it is sad to see that it has now ended. I have now sent off my membership money to Albacon and do it all again in Glasgow at the end of September.As you can tell, I had a really great time. I was pleased to meet up with people I had seen on the mailing lists I am on and it was so relaxing that Chronicles has to be the best convention I have ever been to. Hopefully there will be another Chronicles arranged at some point. I hope so. 
- from Suzanne Godsalve in Galaxy Travellers #10