Toby Philpott‘s father was an eminent puppeteer, author and teacher; his mother was an actress and singer who ended up teaching voice. He started performing when travelling. Seven years of work as a comedy acrobatic juggler (and studying masks and mime) led to working on animatronic puppets with Jim Henson on The Dark Crystal, where he played Garthim, UrTih the Alchemist, and worked on Jim’s support team, helping operate Jen and the Ritual Master, as well as background creatures, Pod People, etc.
He later worked on Jabba the Hutt for Return of The Jedi, and on creatures for Labyrinth such as Firey 1, Helping Hands, Junk Lady (eyes) & Goblins.
After movies, he got involved with encouraging circus/theatre; helping open and run circus schools, and touring/performing with NoFit State Circus. He then left show business, and spent 15 years as computer whisperer for his local library, exploring and teaching internet use. He is now retired, and lives in the countryside, with three dogs.
Brian Meehl is a puppeteer and award winning Author. Brian worked for The Jim Henson Company on the last six shows of The Muppet Show, and then worked on Sesame Street, performing Barkley, Grundgetta, Telly Monster, and an early version of Elmo, among other characters. His work also included roles in the films, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Great Muppet Caper & The Dark Crystal. In the dark Crystal he not only performed SkekEkt The Ornamentalist Skeksis & UrSu The Dying Master Mystic but he also voiced both Characters! Additionally he did the Puppetry for UrZah The Ritual Guardian Mystic.
In 1984, Meehl left the Muppets and began writing for children's television series including Between the Lions, Codename: Kids Next Door, Cyberchase, the TUGS segments for Salty's Lighthouse, Eureeka's Castle, Eyewitness for the BBC and DK Vision and The Magic School Bus.
Brian has written 7 young adult novels: Out of Patience (2008), Suck It Up (2009), You Don't Know About Me (2011), and Suck It Up and Die (2012). He released an eBook and paperback adult novel, Pastime, in 2012. More recently, Blowback '07 (2016), Blowback '63 (2017) and the brand new release Blowback '94, about time traveling teens who fall back into pivotal points in sports history. https://www.blowbacktrilogy.com/
If you have seen the new Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, you will have heard Louise Gold voicing the character Maudra Argot (pictured), whom she also puppeteers. Louise is also the puppeteer for The All-Maudra, skekAyuk/The Gourmand and Onica.
Louise started acting in 1973 and in 1977 joined The Muppet Show, during the show's second season, where Jim Henson trained her as a puppeteer. She became the only British puppeteer regularly employed on the show. She played several characters during her four seasons with the show, the best-known of which was Annie Sue Pig (pictured). She also sang on several of The Muppets' albums and was often paired vocally with Jerry Nelson. She was a puppeteer in the films The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Dark Crystal (1982), and she appeared in various other Muppet series and specials.
During these years, she continued to appear in musicals and plays in between her commitments to The Muppets. Among her non-puppeteering television appearances, Louise was featured as Mrs Tyler, a Goodwife, in the first series episode "Witchsmeller Pursuivant" of Blackadder (1983).The same year, she appeared as Maureen Bedford in episode two of For 4 Tonight, a talk-show spoof. In 1991, she played the domineering Private Elsa Bigstern in two episodes of 'Allo! 'Allo!.
From 1984 to 1986, and occasionally thereafter, Louise was a lead puppeteer and voice on the satirical television show Spitting Image (The Queen pictured) and was the lead singer (as Nancy Reagan) on their first single, "Da Do Run Ron", a pastiche of The Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron", released in 1984. Gold was the first puppeteer hired for the show and "helped out with the Spitting Image pre-pilot, so she naturally became the 'consultant' for the hiring [and training] of the rest" of the puppeteers.
Louise' later puppeteering work includes the title character, Fughetta Faffner (and others), in The Ghost of Faffner Hall (1989), a Muppet music education TV Series. She played several of the characters on Roland Rat The Series broadcasts in 1986 and 1988. She also played several characters on Sesame Street in the early 1990s, on Mopatop's Shop in the early 2000s, and in The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) and Muppet Treasure Island (1996). In 1992, she played Sally Spook in The Spooks of Bottle Bay. In 1995 and 1997, she played characters on series 2 and series 3 of Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky and Jake, including Tizzy Bee, an early example of a computer generated image puppet.
Louise reprised her role as Annie Sue Pig in the 2014 film Muppets Most Wanted, also operating Wanda. In 2014, she puppeteered on the CBeebies television series The Furchester Hotel, co-produced by Sesame Street. She plays Funella Furchester.
It's great to welcome Hugh Spight back to Thames Con. Hugh has been professionally engaged in dance, theatre, television and films for 25 years.
Trained at Cardiff College of Music and Drama and the Andrew Hardie School for Dance, London. Hugh appeared in numerous musicals including West End productions at Drury Lane, Palladium, Cambridge Theatre and at new London Theatre (Cats).
His work in film includes appearances in the Elephant Man, History of the World, Great Muppet Caper, Dark Crystal (Landstrider and Mystic Cook ) and Star Wars - Return of the Jedi playing the Gamorian Guard. It was thanks to Hugh's years of ballet training that he was strong enough and agile enough to be able to 'run like the wind' whilst perfomring the 4 legged Landstriders on high stilts! Jim Henson himself wanted the creatures to be very fast and they certainly were.
In television his roles have been many and various from presenting on Thames Televsion series 'Through the Eyes of a Child' to appearing in the Doctor Who adventures.
Other credits include Tripods (BBC), Luna (CTV), Abbracadabra (C4), Four Minute Mile (BBC) and Tumbledown (BBC).
Have you ever wondered what its like to run alongside a full size X-Wing on a Resistance base in Star Wars? How about standing beside Rocket & Groot on the Kyln Prison planet in Guardians of the Galaxy or chasing the Doctor on a Space Station as a Zombie in a Space Suit in Doctor Who. These are just some of the delightful experiences on set that Clem can share with you.
Clem initially began working as a background actor on the Japanese historic fantasy film 47 Ronin in 2011 and has gone on to build invaluable experience in the film industry. Clem has become a featured and in demand face, having worked on over 30 major feature films to date and numerous TV shows including Sherlock, Being Human and ten episodes of Doctor Who. Other appearances include a Kyln prisoner in Marvel Studios popular hit Guardians Of The Galaxy, a Spectre crime boss in James Bond: Spectre, a Resistance Trooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Clem also featured in the highly regarded Marvel Studios block-buster Doctor Strange as one of the protectors of the Hong Kong Sanctum and an Animus patient in Assassin’s Creed. Other films Clem has worked on include The Last Jedi, Ready Player One, Jurassic World: Fallen kingdom, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Detective Pikachu.
Paul Warren is a british actor and creature performer known for playing aliens and monsters in such films as Star Wars: The Force Awakens , Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World, Clash of the Titans, World War Z and Ghost Stories.
Although now known for his creature performing work, he began his film career as a body double for Daniel Radcliffe on the film Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix. Spending much of his time 20ft up in the air on the hydraulic broomstick system and performing other physically demanding activities, it wasn't long before Paul started to get noticed in the industry as a versatile performer.
His first creature role was in the remake of Clash of the Titans. Working with the Oscar nominated Creatures Inc, he underwent a 5 hour makeup process to transform into a tortured soul that pulls the boatman across the river styx. To add to the challenge of performing in such extreme silicone prosthetics, the scene was filmed in a large outside water tank at Pinewood studios.
In 2007, he was recommended to the legendary Stan Winston Studio as a good choice to portray an emaciated version of the title character in The Deaths of Ian Stone. The role required full body prosthetics and cgi head replacement with lead actor Mike Vogel. The invaluable experience Paul gained working with Stan’s crew to achieve this tricky effect is what ultimately set him on a path to becoming a creature performer.
In 2010, Paul was chosen by director Joe Johnston to be the pre-production visual effects double for skinny Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger. Working closely with Lola Visual Effects, he helped bring Skinny Steve to life in the pre-production VFX tests. He was also on set as a visual reference for the recruitment scene (along with Leander Deeny, who was the body double for the remainder of the film).
He has since gone to play aliens, zombies and creatures in Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World, Ghost Stories and World War Z, however he is probably most known for his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Paul is credited on the film as a 'creature and droid puppeteer' and plays an alien called 'Varmik'. This character is of particular interest to Star Wars fans due to his origin; Varmik is based on 2 classic pieces of production art from George Lucas' first Star Wars film in 1977 - the cantina showdown and early Chewbacca designs by Ralph McQuarrie. The the cantina showdown was a particular favourite of J.J Abrams’ that he wanted to bring to life on screen.
Paul was asked to return to perform creature performer duties on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He played a Dowager alien in the Canto Bight casino. The character created quite a buzz online when it was confirmed by director Rian Johnson that the animatronic space dog it holds was based on Carrie Fisher's very own pet pug Gary.https://www.paulwarren.actor/biography.html
In 1973, Stephen played the role of Ned in the second series of The Adventures of Black Beauty. He also appeared in another film for the Children's Film Foundation in 1975 called The Hostages. A year later he played an alien called Kwaan in the Thames Television sci-fi series The Tomorrow People. He played the boy Dan in The Boy from Space and also played the part of Tim Moffat in the controversial six-part serial, Two People, for London Weekend Television.
One of his more notable television appearances was as John Standen, the son of a duplicitous business man Ted Standen (Gareth Hunt) in the Minder episode The Son Also Rises in which he appeared with fellow Corona boy Dennis Waterman.
If you are a Doctor Who fan you may recognise Stephen from the story, Mawdryn Undead where he played Ibbotson. Other TV appearances include Lovejoy and The Bill.
Stephen has provided many voices for radio and TV commercials and also films. His best known voice role is the main character Jen in Jim Henson's 1982 American–British fantasy film The Dark Crystal.
Stephen is appearing on Saturday only.
Peter Roy is a British actor who is no stranger to Oxford having played Wizards in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, The Order of the Phoenix, Chamber of Secrets, The Goblet of Fire, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
Peter started his acting career at the tender age of 7 and has spent his entire life in entertainment. He is probably best known as the Rebel Engineer in Star Wars - A New Hope and as Major Olander Brit in Return of the Jedi .
Peter has appeared in many James Bond films such as: Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale, Tomorrow Never Dies, Goldeneye, The Living Daylights, A View to a Kill, Octopussy, Never Say Never Again, For Your Eyes Only, The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, Die Another Day ' and Thunderball as 006.
Peter has also worked on some iconic blockbusters like Superman I, II, III and IV and all three films of the original Indiana Jones trilogy: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade.
With such a long and fascinating career, we can't wait to hear some of Peters stories about the numerous amazing films he has worked on.
Known on the Comic Con circuit as a trader with his business NJP Pastel Art & Illustration, Nathan has now ventured into the world of TV & Film. As a huge fan of the screen, cinema and TV Nathan decided to join a couple of casting agencies and through hard work and good fortune, the rest is history.
Nathans first main gig was to play a body double for Ewen Bremner (famous for playing Spud in the film Trainspotting). This was a period drama called WILL so he got to wear an amazing costume.
Since then Nathan has made regular appearances on Casualty, Father Brown , Midsomer Murders , Keeping Faith , Bodyguard, Collateral, Warren, Stella, Pure and Traitors. A few films too, including Guernsey and two huge franchise films currently in production.
Nathans most proud role to date is as a featured supporting artist in the BBC's Poldark. Appearing in multiple episodes of the fifth and final series he plays Cardy the new Trenwith footman, sharing the set with all the principle cast.
This year has also been a busy one for Nathan. From Sandition to Sarah Lancashire's The Accident and very recently filming on the second series of a fantasy drama airing series one next month.
Nathan has always been a supporter of Thames Con and we couldn't be prouder of this local legend.
Spencer Wilding is a Welsh actor and special creature performer in the UK. He is from St Asaph in North Wales. He has also had some success as an professional kickboxer and professional cruiser weight boxer. He was trained by former three time world champion Russ Williams.
Spencer is well known for performing Darth Vader in Rogue One and playing a guard in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film and has an impressive list of credits to his name. Spencer can be seen in all of these TV shows and films and this isn’t even the full list! - Men in Black: International, Class, Batman begins, Pan, Jupiter Ascending, The Legend of Hercules, Atlantis, Trance, The Wolfman, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Wrath of the Titans, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Beowulf & Grendel, Stardust, Green Lantern, Eragon, The Royals, Victor Frankenstein and fast and furious: Hobbs and Shaw.
Spencer is looking forward to coming back to Oxford, he has fond memories of working on numerous Harry Potter films including being Hagrids body double in Order of the Phoenix , a Knight of Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows part 2 and playing the werewolf in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Spencer was also the white walker in the very first pilot episode of Game of Thrones ‘Winter is Coming’. If you’re a Doctor Who fan you will have likely seen one of more of Spencer’s creatures. He has been working on the show for nearly 10 years! Episodes such as The God Complex, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, Cold War & Orphan 55.