I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I made my way to the Central Hall in Westminster at the crack of dawn this morning. I've never been to a fans film convention before and never really been one for collecting autographs but the presence of a couple of familiar Carry On faces at this event made it a must for me.
Together with my lovely friend Alison (follow her on Twitter @FutureUrban) we battled through the crowds of tourists outside parliament and Westminster Abbey to mingle with the stars at the Convention. It was a packed venue with lots of classic film merchandise on offer covering all kinds of different film genres. I could honestly have spent hours just have a browse.
Anyway, eventually we found our way to the main area where all the stars were busily signing autographs. I always think it's weird when you suddenly find yourself in front of famous people you've known all your life, often grown up with and feel like you know through the characters they have portrayed. Finding myself standing in front of Cleo herself, Amanda Barrie, was a slightly bonkers, surreal experience. I make no secret of the fact that I've been a huge fan of Amanda for years. I grew up watching her trials and tribulations as Alma in Coronation Street and if you add to that her appearances in the Carry Ons, she has to be one of my all-time favourites.
Amanda was as funny, warm, welcoming and gorgeous as you would expect. I still cannot believe that this lady has just celebrated her 80th birthday. She looks amazing. As she signed a print of her in her Glam Cab uniform from Carry On Cabby, she told us about a recent holiday in Italy were the owner of the villa held a party to show everyone that very same film! It seems the popularity of Carry On films is completely universal! As we had our photo taken, Amanda asked me where I was from and then proceeded to reminisce about treading the boards in Glasgow with the wonderful comic actor Stanley Baxter. It was a joy to meet her.
Moving next door, I met the equally lovely Anita Harris. Anita was stunning - charming, friendly and very chatty. She came across as such a warm, genuine lady and I could have chatted with her for hours. Another wonderful performer who doesn't seem to age! I really should have asked what their secret is!
I had such a wonderful time at the Convention and it was great to meet these terrific ladies. Sadly I didn't have time to meet Margaret Nolan, Alexandra Dane or Shirley Eaton - the other main Carry On actors present today. I would most definitely attend another one of the conventions as it was a fantastic experience.
Long may they Carry On!
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