My Encounter with Christopher Lee: November 2002
Arriving at the Cinema Store inside the Cornerhouse shopping complex in Nottingham, I saw there were about forty people queuing outside the store. I thought: "this isn't too bad" and went inside to purchase my items for Mr. Lee to sign. At the counter, the store assistant told me: "Mr. Lee will sign as many items as you like" - I was a bit suspicious of this, as I doubted very much that Mr. Lee would deny other fans the opportunity of seeing him by spending time signing multiple items for individuals. However, I purchased what I wanted signing and moved on.
Leaving the store, I walked past the people I had seen earlier and joined what I thought was the end of the queue (like so many before me) only to be told that it was not the end - and that the queue continued down the stairs of the fire exit. I went down one flight, and then another and another until finally it stopped and I sat down to commence my epic wait.
I was sat next to Michelle who was from Nottingham and a huge fan of Christopher Lee's portrayal of Dracula. To my left were Alex (from Greece) and Rood (from Norway), both of whom were graphic design students living in Nottingham. I think Alex has to be the biggest fan of the film version of The Fellowship of the Ring I have ever met. His enthusiasm was infectious, and he kept us all entertained with comments such as "Richard, The Two Towers is going to be so good - like nothing you've ever seen before!"
Finally, after just over five hours, we were inside the locked Cinema Store and in the presence of Christopher Lee. In stark contrast to the noise outside the store, there was a hushed, but excited, chatter as people eagerly anticipated the moment when they would get to meet the octogenarian with an appeal which transcends generations - as evidenced by the huge age ranges of those present. Then I heard him. Christopher Lee's voice is all it promises to be, and although he was speaking quietly, it carried a deep resonance that has lost none of its power over the years. As for what I had been told earlier, my suspicions were confirmed: due to the huge number of fans, Mr. Lee was only signing one item per person. It was suddenly my turn.
As I approached the desk, I couldn't help but feel that I had been summoned before my old schoolmaster - and hoped that I had not done anything that would lead him to confiscate my Fellowship of the Ring extended version DVD!
Luckily for me he signed it instead, and I was free to go; however I still had to ask him for a photograph - he graciously agreed. It was fantastic. To be posing for a photo with one of my all-time movie heroes! After he returned from a brief break to stretch his legs, I shook him by the hand and thanked him for making such an effort to see his fans, a comment he genuinely appreciated. After I stepped aside, Alex and then Rood went up to get their items signed.
How much does Christopher Lee care about his fans? Well, upon realising Alex was from Greece, Lee spoke to him in Greek. Not only that, but he addressed Rood in his mother tongue, Norwegian - apologising that it was not as good as he would like it to be. Rood did not seem to mind.