"5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Thunderbirds are go!"

- Thunderbirds -

Cult TV 2004 Review

By Caz Rudd


Mark, David and I got to Paddington with only 15 minutes to spare, before the Bristol train was due to depart, thanks to signal failure on the circle line.

We met up with Gail and Anne on the concourse and the five of us travelled together. All of us proudly wearing our new green LOTNA polo shirts.

To occupy us on the train, Mark had the Halloween Simpsons Top Trumps cards, very appropriate for the weekend, as I will explain later. Despite a valiant effort by the others, I won the game.

Changing trains at Bristol was fairly easy are there are lifts to and from the platforms now, so no need to lug our cases up several flights of steps.

Arriving at Weston Gail, Anne and I were impressed by the security measures in the Ladies toilets. The loo roll was chained to the wall with a thick chain and a padlock, no danger of us nicking it!

David and the girls took the first available cab outside the station. Another driver was waiting and he went off to get his cab, informing us that we were the first passengers in his brand new car. Mark made a witty comment about me suffering from travel sickness (I don't) and therefore likely to puke up on the seats!

After a drive through picturesque Weston, we arrived at Sandbay. We spotted a few fellow LOTNA members and tried our luck at the tombola and lucky dip. Though the official time was 3pm, we were able to collect our keys a little earlier and check into the chalet.

The chalets are comfortable, but a little small for three people, even with an extra room on the side for David.

Our next door neighbours were Tony, Steve and his dog Luke and we chatted with them for awhile, joined a little later by Sue and Kathy. David played with Luke, who christened the grass; Mark bravely volunteered for clean up duty!

The first event we attended was the Dalek racing. Though the LOTNA guys Russell and Mark tried hard, the girls were victorious with Gail the outright winner.

The league all gathered in the bar, everyone in a green shirt, then we went outside for a photo shoot. The photo looks fantastic. The sea breeze was getting a little nippy now and it was a relief when it was over and we could warm up.

Dinner was included in the price of the weekend and it was OK. I went for the more filling veggie option. The challenge to get as much food as possible from the buffet on a plate was probably won by Darran but Tim came a close second.

After the opening ceremony, it was race night, Wacky Races style. I did rather well winning £5.50 on Red Max for one of my 50p bets but overall the three of us lost, a couple of quid. But it was all for charity and we had fun taking part.

Between the race sessions was On Golden Pong, a large screen projection of the classic high-speed arcade game from the 70's. The contestants couldn't see the screen so were directed by shouts from the audience. The right-hand side where we sat didn't quite get the hang of the idea!

David left in disgust to go to bed during the next part of the entertainment, sing-a-long theme tunes. The LOTNA crew relived many childhood memories, most of us sad enough to know all the words, even without the help of the on screen prompts.

The evening ended with the disco. Dave at one point was on stage directing Bohemian Rhapsody. Mark and I left shortly after midnight, leaving the others dancing until the early hours.


After the traditional full English breakfast and several cups of coffee, we were ready to face another day of fun.

Keith Lindsay's workshop about the eight basic story ideas was very interesting. The ideas were expanded on by a quiz, spilt into two teams we had to come up with film titles that used the ideas. Though many films use several to appeal to a wider audience.

Mark went off to join the other LOTNA guys dressed in the UNIT costumes for a photo shoot with John Levine, while David and I fought the Battle for Planet Hell!

Two teams, Stargate v. Enterprise building a projectile weapon from a selection of household waste items such as kitchen towel rolls, in an allotted time. Our team won, the weapons we made knocked over all the plastic bottles first.

We met up with Mark again, and caught the end of a talk with costume designer June Hudson, then had some lunch. The cheese tomato toastie was very hot!

David and I mooched round the dealer room for awhile. I was very tempted by some CSI comics but resisted as they only had 4 of the 5-part story. I did buy a new Jonas Quinn keyring though.

However, all was not well in sleepy Sandbay, early that morning, a body had been found brutally murdered in the snooker hall.

It was up to the intrepid CSI: Sandbay crime lab to uncover the evidence and track down the murderer!

Mark, David and I, temporarily assigned to the Crime Lab, interviewed suspects, took fingerprints and after a couple of hours successfully arrested the perpetrator.

I really enjoyed this part of the weekend, maybe because I was the one that sussed out the murderer, I knew he was lying and I got to slap on the handcuffs and arrest him!

We returned to the main hall to see Jenny Handley's talk, very interesting as she discussed her early career as a photographic model and she had some funny stories about her time on Magpie.

Following her talk was part one of the charity auction; we saw the end of it from the queue to the dinning room, as we wanted to eat quickly that evening. David and I went for the buffet option this time.

Why we needed to eat quickly was because Mark and David had to get back to the chalet to get ready for the fancy dress.

Nearly all the LOTNA guys were dressing up as the Simpsons. David was Millhouse and Mark was Mr Smithers! They looked fantastic!

The evening entertainment started with a short film Blake's 7 Junction, which was hilarious!

Then came the star studded awards ceremony, awards are nominated and voted for by the people registering for the convention.

While Mark and the others went round to Dave's for a game of five rounds rapid, I borrowed Cathy's key and took David over to her chalet to clean him up. As we only had a bath and no shower in our chalet. Blue hair and yellow skin would have been very difficult to clean off and even with the shower, it took some time.

I was intending to go back to the disco when Mark came back from Dave's but it was nearly midnight and the warmth and comfort of the chalet and the long day was catching up on me, I was really tired and sleepy, so we had an early night.


After breakfast, we tried our luck with the Eclectic 21 TV Quiz; we didn't win, but had fun taking part.

Then a Workshop with John Levine, very interesting and moving in places as he read us his father's account of his War Service.

We ate lunch listening to Peter Tuddenham, the voice of Zen and other characters in Blake's 7.

LOTNA raised money earlier in the year from our auction to sponsor one of the Cult TV guests, Colin Baker. So we had a private session with him. He was a little late as the autograph signing had run on, he was very apologetic and still stayed the full hour. Steve had some clips from Big Finish audios for him to guess and he talked about those. As well as Sue's Boxers and Briefs quiz, we had some prepared questions that he choose at random from a duff beer glass, which bought up the Simpsons fancy dress. Colin said he did wonder why some of the LOTNA guys were a little yellow twinged and hoped we didn't have jaundice. A couple of pictures on a digital camera soon explained everything!

We returned to the hall to see Colin give his main talk.

Part two of the charity auction had a few things I tried to bid for, especially the Stargate Atlantis T-shirt and pen donated by Thomasina Gibson, but they went up too high for my pocket.

After dinner, we returned to the chalet, to change. The theme that night was Doctors and Nurses, so Mark and David, put on white coats.

The evening started with Famous for Three Minutes, which was won by the same man that did it last year. He was funny but Sue was much better with her Hi-de-hi style routine.

Like Friday night, we had a theme tune sing-a-long. Mark and I popped over to the shop, and as I walked back to my seat, I could see David singing along to Postman Pat. So much for being too cool to join in!

The comic that followed this was the only down point of the weekend; he simply wasn't funny and within minutes was dying. The material started to become more insulting to the audience and suspecting he would get worse and bluer, we de-camped to the rear bar. We returned to see Vaughan Armstrong play his ukulele, which was in my opinion only slightly better!

We ended the evening in the disco; Mark and I stayed right to the end, 3am!


David watched a screening of an episode of Babylon 5 while Mark and I packed up the chalet, two of us moving around in the small space was bad enough, so he was better out of the way. Though we weren't too impressed to return from breakfast and find the maid had already started making the beds, nearly an hour before we had to check out.

The convention ended with the final panel with several of the guests. During the closing ceremony, we heard the sad news that Christopher Reeve had passed away and held a minute's silence for him.

We said our goodbyes and called a cab to take us to the station. Not expecting to see Cathy, Sue and Tony again as they were on an earlier train, but they encountered problems on the way and were delayed over an hour arriving at Paddington only a few minutes before our train, so we all travelled on the tube together.

A fantastic weekend, so much to do and see and I'm very proud to be a part of LOTNA, good times, good company and good friends.

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