Prisoner fans gather for Val’s reunion

300 die-hard fans gathered high above Melbourne yesterday afternoon for a once-in-a-lifetime reunion of former Prisoner stars.

The event, staged by star Val Lehman at Level 17 at the RACV City Club, was a sell-out at $300 a head with with fans visiting from around Australia, Europe and the USA. 40 years after it first aired, Prisoner remains a show etched in their hearts -their detail for storylines and characters prompting Jane Clifton to concede “You all know the show better than we do.”

It was veteran stars they were there for, and they were thrilled to see 88 year old Patsy King, 80 year old Betty Bobbitt, 70 year old Anne Phelan plus Colette Mann, Fiona Spence, Amanda Muggleton, Paula Duncan, Maxine Klibingaitis, Jacqui Gordon, Jentah Sobott and Annie Lucas. Composer Alan Caswell sang On the Inside (twice) and several former crew were in attendance for the 4 hour event.

There was a toast to deceased cast members, and some devoted fans spoke about still maintaining the gravesite of Sheila Florance. During a lengthy Q&A Betty Bobbitt acknowledged her character’s pioneering gay portrayal, Colette Mann recalled shooting an elaborate escape scene in a tunnel, Patsy King revealed the trick to her governor’s hairdo and Anne Phelan paid tribute to Wentworth.

Queen Bea held court for most of the afternoon thanking fans for their enduring support and highlighting merchandise,  recalling various run-ins with producers, network and Logies organisers -at one point asking if there were any reps from Fremantle in the room. “Yes me!” Neighbours‘ Colette Mann interjected. Fremantle was also treating the cast to a post-reunion dinner.

A “no selfies” rule was quickly abandoned when the cast took to the floor to meet fans, which they appeared to enjoy the most, before a memorabilia auction with some items topping the $2000 mark.

Lehman even auctioned a Wentworth costume she had worn, explaining little but teasing “Keep watching….”

Wednesday marks 40 years since the show’s premiere, with the National Film & Sound Archive also conducting an event in Canberra.

20 Comments:

  1. Was a great day but a tad long. It was definitely Val’s event and Val’s day. A lot of the cast had no idea what they were there for as I don’t think there was enough interaction with the cast.
    Colette Mann sums it up nicely on an Instagram post!
    I was the lady who bid a ridiculous amount to get the photo proof sheets. It was well worth it I think. I plan on donating them to the sound and film archives once I have scanned them.

    • Wow you sure did, but they sounded like the pick of the punch. Yes Colette not happy with most of it, it was amazing she even went. I already own some of those items maybe I should put them on eBay haha. Points to Val for taking the risk and pulling it off.

    • That collection of photos looked like a goldmine, would love to see some of the best ones. Although I greatly enjoyed the day it certainly would have been much better to run a silent type auction on the items so it didn’t take so long and could have had more interaction with the panel.
      Some structured time for selfies/autographs would have been much better, especially for people like me as I’m not a pushy person by nature and I just couldn’t get through the throngs of people also wanting selfies or things signed. I would have paid extra, that’s how it usually works at the kind of pop culture fan events I am used to.

        • I seriously considered going but the Sunday afternoon timing ultimately ruled it out for me (it would have been a mad dash to the airport as soon as the event to get back home for work early the next morning). I would love to have been there, though. David, did anyone twig that it was you or did you keep that well and truly under your hat?! Collette’s comments on Instagram were interesting. She loved the fans, but by the sound of it, she was annoyed by one thing in particular, which is a shame.

        • yep I noticed even Val threw her own “no selfies” rule out the window a few times. Although not as much as the others. Val is still quite involved in showbiz and media a bit more than others maybe is a bit more tired of it, whereas others like Patsy and Fiona and Betty are basically retired from showbiz now so were more happy to spend time with the fans. And just different personalities, I thought even before the event that it would be difficult to stop Amanda Muggleton from talking to everyone and I was right 🙂 I mean she was still chatting to fans at the pub for hours afterwards from what I’ve heard along with some of the others.

  2. I had so much fun at this event. Well worth the money, and I got to meet Fiona Spence who I am a huge fan of (and who, I may say, can really tuck away the glasses of champers).

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