Thirty-one North Carolina EastEnders fans gathered on Saturday, November 17, for a lunch meeting at the Royal China Buffet in Raleigh. It was a delightful mix of newcomers and longtime members of our fan club. Attendees came from all over the state, and we were thrilled to welcome Katharine Smith, who was visiting from Erie, PA! Katharine's son lives in Apex, NC, and she planned her visit to coincide with our meeting.
Dave Horne, our club president, opened the meeting with greetings and announcements. He introduced Katharine Smith, and she told us about our fellow fans in Erie. The Erie club publishes a wonderful newsletter, and we enjoyed perusing the copies that Katharine brought with her. Katharine has a long history seeking out other EE fans; she first connected with an early California group, then the famed Minneapolis club, and now Pennsylvania and North Carolina!
Another treat for everyone was "Melissa's Traveling EastEnders Museum"! Melissa Berry, President of the Western North Carolina EastEnders Fanatics brought her extensive collection of EastEnders photos, autographs, books, CDs, magazines, videos, toys, and other memorabilia. Melissa also brought WNC EastEnders club wear, including tee-shirts, hats, and totes for sale. The WNC Fanatics designed a gorgeous EE logo that rivals the best from the BBC!
As usual, we indulged in a sumptuous feast, featuring Chinese specialties, dim sum, a fresh sushi bar, salad and fruit bar, and dessert bar. Between trips to the buffet, we mingled, made new friends, gossiped about EE characters, and browsed Melissa's collection. After fortifying ourselves with food, we were ready for a competitive pub quiz.
Linda Fineman, our quiz mistress, posed 20 questions, and the top winner answered 12 correctly. Quiz questions ranged from show details such as, "What is the name of Rosa's cat?" to Cockney lingo, as in, "What is the Cockney term for a low-class tavern or bar?" (Answers: Bella and boozer)
Winners were divided into two categories. There was a prize for the highest scorer among those who have watched EE for less than five years (a small contingent at this meeting), and three prizes went to remainder of the group. Winners had their choice of the books "EastEnders - Blood Ties: The Life and Loves of Grant Mitchell," "Tiffany's Secret Diary," "EastEnders Who's Who," and "EastEnders: A Celebration."
A Morning with...EastEnders
We closed the meeting by viewing the first part of a BBC program called "A Morning with...EastEnders." The program aired live in the UK this past February and featured interviews with EE cast members, classic show clips, and a hilarious compilation of music videos made by EE actors with musical aspirations. (Ricky Butcher will NEVER be Ricky Martin!)
Of special interest to our group was a phone interview with Linda Fineman, who had to be awake at 5:30 a.m. for the transatlantic call! The program host asked Linda all about the North Carolina EastEnders Fan Club and displayed photos from our Web site. When the program first aired in February, Dave Horne received E-mail messages from UK viewers just minutes after Linda's interview. They instantly visited our Web site and couldn't wait to say hello!
Our next get-together will be in January, and we hope to have a guest speaker from UNC-TV. We'll be making plans for the annual Festival fundraiser. 2002 marks the five-year anniversary of the North Carolina EastEnders Fan Club, and it will be our fifth year staffing the phones at Festival. Dave is going to try to get club tee-shirts made in time, so we can make a memorable impression onscreen.
Please let us know if you're planning a trip to North Carolina--we'd love to welcome you to one of our meetings!