Chris King reports on his visit to the London MCM Expo 2006 at ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16.

This was my first visit to the London MCM Expo, I am certainly looking forward to going again next year. Travelling up from Kent, I took the train to Charing Cross, used the Underground from Embankment to Monument so I could pick up the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) so as to reach my final destination. I had never been on the DLR before, it was a fun way to travel mainly as each train consists of only four coaches, plus where the drivers cab would be is just normal seating with an open view ahead of the train so you get a clear view of the line ahead, it twists about like a small roller coaster - Great stuff.
Tickets to the London Expo are £7 at the door on the day, although you could buy quick entry tickets online for a few pounds more that allowed you to enter a few hours earlier. Due to engineering works on the DLR, a special bus service was running from Canning Town to Custom House for ExCel (just 1 bus stop), buses were very frequent, caused no delays and the distance travelled was short, so I reached there after midday.
The London MCM Expo was held in a large room (called N1) at the Excel building, there are a whole suite of similar halls there, labelled up from N2 to N8 on the left side, S1 to S8 on the right side but these were not anything to do with the MCM Expo however access to N1 was via a wide corridor down the middle which was also populated by drinks machines, seating areas, restaurants, cafes, sandwich bars and other eating establishments.
On entering the venue, the room was huge and reminded me of a large aeroplane hanger, it was divided up with wide gangways but never felt claustrophobic, I felt I could move about fairly easily. To the left of the entrance was a massive stage area with seating for hundreds, this was where actors and other events were scheduled throughout the weekend, but the rest of the Expo was taken up with traders stalls selling trading card games (Loads of seating so you can actually play), Magic seemed very popular, Battlestar Galactica had its own trading card game, with a nearby TV showing episodes of the series.

In the far right hand corner of the room was a small cinema area for fans of Manga, which had continuous screenings of shows from about 9:30am to 6pm - the free guide had a list of what was on and at what time.
A large crowd was gathered around one of the computer console games stands, plus there was strong evidence of the X-Box 360 and the Nintendo DS.
Along the back wall of the hall was a long table where autographs were being signed by actors and actresses of the drama series 24 (Season 5), in attendance was Gregory Itzin (President Logan), Roger Cross (Curtis Manning), Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe), Kim Raver (Audrey Heller Raines) and Carlos Bernard (Tony Alemeida), slightly to the left of where they were seated was a photo area which allowed you to get your photo taken with groups of actors (for example: Voyager group, 24 group etc), these would cost you up to about £50-£60 but this did not include signings. Individual signings were £15 per actor but to obtain these you had to buy vouchers from the 'Smiley' booths that were situated at regular places around the hall as no cash was allowed at the signing tables. On a row of tables opposite the '24' group were two more sets of tables, these were back to back but with a dividing wall, seated on these were also actors and actresses signing autographs, these chairs were occupied by Teryl Rothery (Dr Janet Fraiser - SG1), Obi Ndefo (Rak'Nor - SG1), Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica and SG1) and Connor Trinneer (Trip Tucker III from Enterprise), Walter Koenig (Chekov STOS), Nicole DeBoer (Ezri Dax - DS9). At the back of the stage area near the entrance were two more groups of Star Trek actors also signing autographs, these included: Robert Picardo (The Doctor - Voyager), Ethan Phillips (Neelix - Voyager), Robert Beltran (Chakotay - Voyager), Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris - Voyager). The other group was made up of the Klingon Empire, hosted by J.G.Hertzler (General Martok - DS9), Robert O'Reilly (Gowron - DS9) but to keep the peace there was a Federation Admiral in the form of Richard Herd (Admiral Paris - Voyager (Richard also played John in V)) who sat next to J.G. Hertzler!
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