Me and my hero, William Shatner.
Never Meet you hero’s…
They say “never meet your hero’s, you will always be disappointed” and I must admit this was on my mind as I drove the 2 hours to Birmingham’s NEC Arena on the 8th October 2016. I was worried that William Shatner would not be the man I had always pictured in my mind. The Convention was a dream experience for me, not only was I in the same building as Kirk, but also in attendance was an alum of Star Trek actors that included George Takei, Christopher Lloyd, Walter Koenig, Wil Wheaton, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis and the son of Spock Adam Nimoy. It was a fantastic experience, I have been to a few comic con conventions in my time in which attendees dress as all manner of characters from popular culture but this was the first that I had been that saw every one dressed as a character from the universe I loved most.
When I arrived at around 9:30 in the morning the venue was still pretty quite although there was a good few hundred people inside the huge space. Scattered around where a variety of stalls selling related merchandising, the 50th Anniversary art exhibition, a few stages and three set replicas of the Next Generation Enterprise bridge, the Original Series bridge and the bridge of a Klingon warbird. As I explored the arena to get my bearings, I noticed a rather large queue and a lot of activity surrounding the original series bridge set. As well as buying your tickets for the event online you could also pre-book a photo session with the actors in attendance, one of which was a picture of yourself on the bridge with William Shatner and of course I snapped this up without hesitation. What I didn’t take into consideration, or even checked after purchasing was the time of the photo shoot. I looked at my e-ticket and saw that the time slot I had was booked between 10.00am and 11.00am (roughly, I cannot remember the exact timeslot but it was something like that) and it was currently 10.20am when I quickly checked my watch. Panic stricken, thinking that I would miss out on meeting William Shatner (and the thought of £75 down the drain) I joined the queue.
My shot of William Shatner on the replica Enterprise Bridge
There he was. Sat on the Captain’s chair dressed all in black with the brightest white trainers I have seen in a while, greeting fans as they stepped onto the bridge to have their pictures taken; soon to be my turn. The queue seemed to dissipate quite quickly and before too long, I was next in the queue. This was it, I was about to meet a man I had admired since I was 13 years old (now aged 36), a man I had seen in numerous TV shows and films, as policeman, various killers in Columbo mysteries, a (now looking back at it) potentially racist guest star spot on the Fresh Prince of Belle Air all paled to insignificance against his portrayal as the Captain of the Enterprise. “Ok you” I heard and as I looked over, I was being ushered over to William Shatner by one of the staff and I walked over to him, a smile beaming on my face.
“Hello” I said.
“Hello” he said
“It’s a great pleasure to meet you” I said
“Thank you” he said.
“THIS WAY!” the photographer said.
“Ok move along” the assistant said.
And move along I did, giving a gentle, satisfied wave goodbye to William Shatner, to which he gave a small wave goodbye back. It was an overwhelming experience for me and although the process was very quick, which I can understand giving the timescale of the photo shoot and the number of people waiting to have their pictures taken with Shatner, it’s one I will never forget. For me this was something more than just meeting an actor from a TV show, I have met many actors during my time visiting comic cons, this was meeting someone who had a profound impact on my life and helped shape me into the person I am today. It’s strange and a little hard to explain but I am sure it’s something that many people, fans, can relate too. Star Trek made me not only look at myself differently but also my outlook on the world. To always look at the better side of humanity. I guess it’s one of the reasons I do what I chose to do in my normal 9-5 career which is helping people in situations of poor welfare. Meeting William Shatner was more than meeting a boyhood hero, he was the symbol, the personification on what Star Trek did and continues to do for me by helping set a morale code and to life my life in a specific way. Being in that arena, surrounded by fellow fans all embracing what they love without hiding away was a very special moment.
I had hoped to get a signed picture later on in the day but it seemed almost impossible as the queue for William Shatner seemed never ending which can go some way to demonstrate his impact on others as well.
They say never meet your hero’s as you will always be disappointed, I spent 30 seconds in the presence of my hero after 23 years of waiting; he came across as a nice, genuine man who has time for his fans and the franchise that gave him his fame. So what can I take from this experience? I guess I would say that it’s better to spend 30 seconds with your hero, than a lifetime never having met them.
Did you enjoy this little tale? Have you ever met your Star Trek hero? If so let us know in the comments section below or by visiting our Facebook page