London Premiere Report
by Nina Watson
It was a wonderful event.
I got there early and took photos in daylight of the after-party venue which was across the road in a huge white pavilion. You could only see into the end of it where the dining tables were, with a view of the Albert Memorial. Inside were snow covered fir trees, tables with gold candelabra, a white carpet, and see-through chairs. There was a rearing gold horse statue. In the distance I could see an imitation ice arch. The entrance to the party was through rows of fir trees.
The Royal Albert Hall had snow machines up high pumping out snow, it was very atmospheric. It was lit in blue floodlights with projections of whirling snowflakes, and there were white searchlights raking the sky above. In front of the venue, there were piles of fake ice made of polystyrene blocks sprayed blue, but it looked really good. The White Witch’s fighting chariot was on display against a panel of scenery.
We went into the grandstand at 4.30 and there were not enough people to fill them. You had to stay sitting down so that people behind could see. We were given free Turkish delight donated by Thornton’s.
There were large video screens so if you couldn’t see someone on the carpet in person, you could see them up on the screen. Often someone famous would have a group around them so you couldn’t really see them or get a clear camera shot.
The cast spent ages signing autographs and talking to film crews: Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone, Dawn French, Tilda Swinson, William, Anna, Georgie and Skander. Georgie admired my costume!
Some people went past and none of the TV crews approached them. Kiran Shah was one and so was Richard Taylor, holder of several Oscars. I greeted him joyfully as I had met him in New Zealand at the Lord of the Rings. I think he was pleased to be recognised, and he leant over the barrier and kissed me.
They went into the Royal Albert Hall and the media started to pack up. Some people left the grandstand and did not wait for the Royals.
Prince Charles and Camilla arrived but did not walk down the blue carpet – they swept straight up to the entrance to the hall in their black Rolls limo. The film must have started about 7.15.
During the film, a few of us waited outside in pouring rain for them to come out because we knew they had to go across the road to the party. They started to came out at about 9.30. It took a long time for everyone to come out as there were photography sessions inside for the press.
I wondered if anyone would get a limousine ride round to the party, but they all had to walk. They had to cross the road in the rain, some with umbrellas, some holding their coats over their heads. Women with dainty and expensive shoes were not pleased. There was often a crowd of partygoers at the two entrance gates to the park because everyone had to have their invitations checked by security to avoid gatecrashers. Thus we fans had a second chance to see some people close up, though it was chance as to who went through which gate.
At the gate, going into the party, I saw James Cosmo, Kiran Shah, Richard Taylor (WETA), Patrick Kake. I wanted to take photos but my camera didn’t always behave. I cheered at the sight of James (who plays Father Christmas) and called out to him”I think my battery’s dead”. He answered “I feel like that myself.” I seemed to be surrounded by people desperate for photos or signatures of Roger Moore, and they didn’t know who the actors in the film were at all, but I had done my homework thanks to Narniaweb and was able to tell them.
Many people went straight through to the party, but William stopped at the gate to sign. I asked if he was pleased with the film. He said “Yes, it’s a good adaptation, I think you’ll love it.”
Liam Neeson was sadly missed.
Stars attending included Roger Moore, Cliff Richard, Annie Lennox, Brian May, Sharon Osbourne, Derren Brown, Lenny Henry, Joan Collins. There were lots of “beautiful” people I didn’t recognise who seemed to hang around as if expecting to be gawped at, but I will have to look at OK magazine or Empire to see who they are.
As the only adult in full costume I got interviewed by TV crews about six times. I mentioned NarniaWeb to several of them, eg and E.Com entertainment channel and the LA Times journalist.