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Name: Santacon
Dates: 1980s
Location: Leeds, England
Focus: multi-media, science fiction
Founder: Sue Stuart assisted by Trisha O'Neill
Founding Date:
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Santacon was a British media and science fiction con.

Conventions were held in December 14-16, 1984 at the (then) Dragonara Hotel, Leeds with guests Nicholas Courtney, Jeremy Bulloch and Dennis Spooner, and December 5-7, 1986 at the Viking Hotel, York, with a guest appearance by William Gaunt. There were, perhaps, others.


Con Report: 1984

It was a very foggy morning when our friend Steve picked us up to drive to the Dragonara Hotel in Leeds, but luckily despite not being able to see where we were going, we found the hotel alright. Once we'd dropped bags, coats etc in our room we whizzed off to the first port of call at a Con... the sales room. Surprisingly I only bought 3 items, so came out feeling rather proud of my self-control! I then had a stewards duty in the main hall, which coincided with the appearance there of the 3 guests Dennis Spooner ( who has written scripts for The Champions, the Avengers etc etc), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett from Empire and Jedi) and Nicholas Courtney (Brig Lethbridge-Stewart in Dr Who), Santa Claus also put in an appearance! After lunch I had another duty in the main room, this time coinciding with Nick Courtney's talk.

It was then announced that there would be a special autograph session for stewards ... not wishing to miss this I whizzed along to the room to find that there were 200 balloons ready for some 'volunteers' to blow up. We were told that if we wanted autographs we had to blow up balloons! The room was soon full of very redfaced breathless stewards and it was also full of balloons. The 3 guests signed autographs and also did their bit towards blowing up balloons. I took some photos but I'm not sure if there will be anything to see but balloons on them. It was quite a novel sight to see Jeremy up to his chin in balloons! At this point someone decided that the room wasn't big enough to accommodate 200 inflated balloons and that we didn't want to lose our guests permanently underneath them all, so it was decided to take them all downstairs into one of the (now closed) salesrooms. This proved even more fun than blowing them all up, as about 6 people tried to stuff the lifts full of balloons while the rest of us struggled downstairs, through about 4 firedoors and round some tight corners clutching handfuls of rather large balloons! At this point someone asked why we hadn't taken them all downstairs BEFORE blowing them up. Well, I suppose it would have been less fun that way... a lot more sensible though!

The costume parade was the usual high standard and the disco was very good (I enjoyed the Boy George look-alike contest!) I then had a video room duty from 12,00 till 1.00 am, after which I thankfully collapsed into bed. Sunday began with a stint of duty on registrations, after which we sat and watched the auction (and I didn't buy anything... I felt REALLY pleased with my self-control!) We then had lunch, and walked round the salesrooms again, and this time I saw all the things I'd missed last time round and spent a fortune (I knew the self-control. We enjoyed the first half of a very entertaining music quiz then had to go on duty in the salesroom, unfortunately when Jeremy's talk was on! Happily I mentioned that I was sorry to miss this and 5 minutes later was released from my duty so I could go and see Jeremy after all. The closing ceremony held a special surprise, it was Nick Courtney's birthday and a huge cake was brought in for him, which he divided up for us (it was delicious tool) Then a lot of Christmas crackers were thrown around so there was a mad 5 minutes with everyone pulling crackers and donning silly hats, before people started to drift away. We joined a friend for a meal in the restaurant, just to round off the weekend nicely - the 'ordinary' people in there looked a little oddly at us when we walked in wearing paper hats and streamers! (I can't think why, I thought they looked very nice!?) It was a wonderful weekend, made extra special by the Christmas atmosphere. Everyone was very friendly and happy (this being particularly good considering many were first time Con goers). The guests in particular made the weekend enjoyable, they were friendly and willing to mingle and chat, and join in with the fun, and each of them possessed a sense of humour that really did add to the general festive feeling of the weekend. I arrived at the Con not really knowing much about any of the guests, and came away feeling I'd made 3 friends. A big thank you to the people who made the weekend so enjoyable. And the good news is, there'll be another one in 1986! (I'm saving up already!) For any of you pp fans out there, I'll just make you a little jealous by saying that Paul Young was also at the hotel - I was sitting at the next table to him when we were having lunch!

Also good news for 'Robin of Sherwood' fans - a new series has been made to be shown 1985 and a 3rd series is planned. Jeremy will appear in both. (I know it's nothing to do with ST, but thought you might like to know anyway!) [1]




  1. ^ from Beta-Niobe February 1985