On Saturday the 4th April 2009, fans got together at Birmingham Library Theatre for “Prisoner Recaptured” – the largest exhibition of original Prisoner memorabilia at a fan convention. The memoribilia on show included over 500 items such as original inmates and officers costumes, props, newspaper and magazine articles, over 100 rare and original publicity stills from throughout the series and a selection of transparencies, mug shots, posters, scripts and cast & crew items. The big screen featured messages from Amanda Muggleton recorded exclusively for the event, a look at filming locations then and now and other rare footage.
There was a silent auction for a number of signed prints. The event also included a quiz, fancy dress competition and the opportunity to have a mugshot taken in an original inmates jacket.
Here is a message from event organiser Steve:
I’d like to thank everybody who attended Prisoner Recaptured and made it such an enjoyable day. The team and I had a fantastic time organising it. It was a pleasure to finally meet and chat with a number of you including John, Mark, Judith and Andrew. Everybody behaved immaculately and it was a pleasure to see fans enjoy the rare memorabilia, exclusive screenings and files full of original articles.
The fancy dress contestants went to a lot of effort and brightened up the day. The winner, ‘Zara Moonbeam’ bore an uncanny resemblance to the character, right down to the Northern accent and stubble …
The winner of the Pris Quiz got an impressive 24½ out of 25 questions correct. Some were quite tough, so well done to Jay, who also won 2nd prize in the fancy dress contest!
For those of you who had your mug shots taken in the original inmate’s jacket and would like JPEG files of your photo, please PM me [send message using the forum] and I will be happy to email it.
Most importantly, the generosity of the fans who bid in the silent auction helped to swell the donation for The Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal to over £500 which is being donated on behalf of Prisoner fans.
I’d like to publically thank ‘the team’ who generously gave up their weekend to manage the event. Particular thanks go to Greig and Ian who helped with lots of the preparatory work and donated contributions to the display. Also, Robert who put in a LOT of work in a ridiculously short amount of time to edit together the three videos, especially the incredibly polished Locations: Then and Now video which was produced specifically for the event. Watching it premiere on the large screen was one of the main highlights of an astonishing day and we would be interested to hear people’s feedback to it.
Hearing fans positive reactions to the event firsthand and reading the comments on this blog and the forum makes all the hard work worthwhile. There was a lot of memorabilia which we were unable to display due to space and time constraints and we hope it can be included in a similar event at some point in the future, but not within the next few months as I need time to put my collection back into order…
Steve West (Network 10)”
Zara Moonbeam: “I went and was pleased to win the competition for dressing up. I went as Zara Moonbeam but got mistaken for Rita Connors. There was a lot to see and the comparative footage shown at the beginning was very good. The venue wasn’t bad at all either. Thanks to N10 for organising and hope there was a good amount of dosh raised for the cause.”
jaydeeh28: “There must have been about 30-40 people there, I think a very good turn-out, including somebody who’d come over especially from Northern Ireland.
There were several major features of the day. We had dvd session, where first there was a message to us from Amanda Muggleton, reminiscing about being on Prisoner and what she has done since. We then saw a video about various locations used in the series and what has become of them now. A film of Val Lehman in Q & A session with fans when she was here in 1998 was also shown. Although I did see this at the last Prisoner convention I attended in London, it was worth seeing again.
There was a photo and prop exhibition on the stage which was open throughout the day including rare photos of the cast and things like scripts and prison bars, and the original name badge worn by Joan Ferguson and Pat Slattery’s actual uniform.
We also had a silent auction of various memorabilia, including posters signed by the cast, a tee-shirt and a program from the Musical Tour. I myself was very lucky to win a poster of Karen Travers and her QC that she had a relationship with, actually signed by Peta Toppano herself! The starting prices of the other items were, understandably, way beyond my budget, but I was delighted to come away with something!
A few fans turned up in costumes, so there was a small fancy-dress competition, with ‘Zara Moonbeam’, who won, ‘Kay White’, a male fan dressed in the Navy blue officer’s uniform and another lady wearing the light brown one. She told me that her mother had been up till the small hours of the morning getting it ready! Both uniforms could easily have passed off as the real thing.
Finally, there was also a quiz about the show; I was surprised at how many of the questions I didn’t know the answer to. There were also many people there who only became fans later on and haven’t yet seen the whole series, so don’t know the ending.
Thoroughout the day, you were able to look at a selection of files each containing a vast selection newspaper-cuttings about the show. There was a separate file for each year, so literally, if you did nothing else whilst there, you could have spent the whole time reading the files and really enjoyed yourself. Steve West, whose collection it was, told me that he’d collected so much Prisoner memorabilia over the years, that it eventually filled his entire loft!
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, well worth the journey from London and the cost. I hope that we can have an event like this at least once a year. Now that the series is out on DVD, I’m sure those fans who watched it originally will show them to their children, so that this fantastic, timeless and unique show will be passed from generation to generation and never be forgotten.“