Andrew Dipper and John-Paul Stephenson

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet convention: “cattle class” fans angered by email

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Fans who have paid £75 a ticket to attend next week’s Auf Wiedersehen, Pet convention have reacted angrily to an email sent out today forbidding them from approaching their idols.

Saturday’s event at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead, dubbed the “Brickies Banquet”, is the highlight of the three-day convention on Tyneside, which also includes a Q&A with writers Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais, a bus tour of locations, and a ‘treasure hunt’ around local pubs.

But in an email from organisers today, fans were told: “Our celebrity guests are here to meet up with old friends and to have a good night out so please don’t approach any of them during the filming.”

The email also confirmed that the event has now sold out, despite the fact that Tim Healy [pictured] and Melanie Hill, who played Barry’s wife in series two, are the only actors to confirm their attendance.

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet super fan Terry Armstrong is attending the convention next weekend, and says he is disappointed by the message from organisers.

Armstrong, 34, from Gateshead, said: “I feel like I’m an unwelcome guest as they said this was an old friend’s get together – I’m not really part of it.”

Terry has spent over £150 on tickets for the convention, and says he would feel short-changed if Healy was the only regular cast member to attend next weekend’s event.

He said: “I’m a bit annoyed, as the announcement of the gig seemed to suggest all the cast were coming. It looked like an afterthought to actually invite them.

“It’s no secret that Jimmy Nail fell out with the cast.

“I love Tim Healy, though, so will be good to see him – but if I cannot even approach him then what good is that?”

Fans have also been prohibited from “moving around the room during filming”, and told that there will be “announcements to alert you to toilet breaks.”

The restrictions imposed by the filming came as a surprise to fans as it was only announced today that the event would be recorded for inclusion on a Sunday for Sammy fundraising DVD.

Members of the official Auf Wiedersehen, Pet forum have also voiced their concerns about the convention.

User ‘AlreetPal’ posted: “Doesn’t fill me with confidence reading all that.

“I thought it was billed as meeting the stars of the show, sounds like us working class gadgies are going to be in ‘cattle class’ and if we catch a glimpse of them it’ll be a bonus.

“Also says ‘there may be a chance for autographs later.’

“I’m feeling a tad pessimistic aboot all this, only Tim Healy and Melanie Hill confirmed, nee walking, nee talking, nee nowt.”

Another user known as ‘Si’ said: “Don’t approach the guests? Toilet breaks? Divvn’t move aboot? Bloody hell, sounds like Stalag 17.”

In later posts, ‘Si’ said that the rules “make some sense”, and branded today’s email as “poorly worded.”

Other fans also acknowledged the difficulties faced by the event’s organisers.

Forum member ‘Andy H’ wrote: One thing we all want I’m sure after waiting 30 years is a photo with the cast members, writers etc plus autographs.

“I’m sure if it’s all done in an orderly fashion for us to queue up it will be fine. We don’t all want to go in ‘mob handed’ as Wayne would say.”

The event at the Hilton Hotel, compered by local comedian Dave Macbeth, will include a charity auction of two handwritten scripts from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and The Likely Lads by Clement and La Frenais.