"Trekkies" break world record at London convention
LONDON (Reuters) - Star Trek fans made history on Saturday by breaking the record for the largest gathering of people dressed as characters from the TV series at the "Destination Star Trek London" convention.
An estimated 1,083 costume-clad "trekkies" assembled at the event at London's ExCel centre, narrowly beating the previous record of 1,040 characters, which was set at the bigger, annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas in August.
The achievement will be officially verified by Guinness World Records within a few days, but organizers were confident they had topped the Las Vegas record.
The majority of record-breakers dressed in the color-blocked uniforms of the Starfleet, with Vulcans, Klingons and Romulans peppering the crowd.
Trekkie Mark Whitfield went to extreme lengths to participate, wearing a full-body suit to emulate a mugato, a beast from "Star Trek: the Original Series".
"It looks silly, it's just a gorilla suit painted white with horns on it. It's very, very hot. In fact, I was on the verge of collapse when a very kind person gave me a bottle of water because I dehydrated quite badly," he said.
"Destination Star Trek London" is the first live Star Trek event in Britain for over a decade. Around 17,000 fans came to London to celebrate the 46-year-old TV and film franchise, which has spawned six television series and 11 feature films.
Dawn Harris, 26, who had created an Orion slave girl costume and painted herself metallic green, said there was great enthusiasm for the world record attempt.
"There just hasn't been a convention in the UK for so long. So I think everyone wants to be involved in everything as much as they can. Everybody saw that guy jump out of a plane in space so people are drawn to things like that," she said, referring to Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking jump from a balloon near the edge of space last Sunday.
"Nerds like achieving missions. We've been set a quest and it must be achieved," Harris's fiancé, Ryan Croft, added.
Outlandish costumes were ubiquitous at the event, which saw Britain's first Klingon wedding on Friday. Swedish couple Jossie Sockertopp and Sonnie Gustavsson tied the knot in full Klingon attire and exchanged vows in the fictional and guttural-sounding language of the Star Trek characters.
The three-day convention also saw all five captains from the TV series appear on stage together for the first time.
The captains played by actors William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard), Avery Brooks (Captain Sisko), Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway) and Scott Bakula (Captain Archer) joined forces to officially open the convention on Friday night.
Speaking ahead of the opening ceremony, 81-year-old Shatner appeared moved when discussing the show's loyal and sometimes obsessive fans in an interview with Reuters.
"It's an accumulation of a lot of work and a lot of people travelling from all over the world here. It's sort of monumental in its worth," Shatner said.
The veteran actor turned filmmaker has released the documentary "Get a Life!", which examines why fans attend conventions.
"The conclusion that I come to is that it's (Star Trek) mythological," Shatner told Reuters. "It's a desire for mythology that we don't have in this age."
(Editing by Paul Casciato)