Tried something a bit different last night.
Along with Kelly I went to the filming of a television quiz show called Secret Fortune hosted by the manliest of all television personalities Nick Knowles.
On arrival it turned out that going to a television show is very similar to attending a gig.
You line up, get your tickets checked, and then hang about a bit waiting for the show to kick off.
The main difference is the demographic that makes up the audience.
It really is like a microcosm of society rather than just one tribal aspect of it.
You've got your young dolly birds all dressed up as if they were about to hit a nightclub, the pensioners who have come there straight from the nursing home, young guys dragged along by girlfriends and older discerning gentlemen like my good self who would go to the opening of an envelope if it was free, and then over and above all that virtually every other little grouping of people you could think of.
Well that's not strictly true.
There's actually something rather uncool about it all, and I doubt anyone who considers they have a shred of street credibility that they still wanted to hang onto would be seen dead in the audience of Secret Fortune.
Thankfully the last shred of said credibility that I had disappeared many years ago so I wasn't bothered about the uncool factor.
Anyway after hanging about for a bit in the foyer, where I did a bit of people watching, we were then directed to the bowels of the BBCs building where the filming would actually take place.
Studio A if my memory serves me right.
I was quite keen to see the behind the scenes aspect to what is beamed out to the nation.
The reality behind the magic.
The first thing that struck me was the amount of lights hanging above the studio, and I doubt any of them were the long life, dull as fuck, environmentally friendly ones that we find ourselves squinting under.
If they turned them all on at the one time they could incinerate an audience.
I kid you not.
Aim them at a kid with a magnifying glass and the lad could burn a hole right through the earth and burn the arse of an ant in Australia.
The second thing that struck me is that everything is so fake looking when you are close to it. Plastic and thins sheets of metal are bolted onto everything and I found myself very impressed that they can make it all look so clean, even new and cutting edge, when filmed.
I would actually be scared to lean against anything just in case it all came down like a house of cards around me.
The other thing that I was impressed with is how professionally smooth running everything is.
There's the people seating you, the cameramen, the lighting techs and the usual cadre of young executive looking folk with clipboards and everyone seems to know exactly where they should be at any given time.
It only took seconds from being directed to our seats to what is known in the trade as 'the warm up guy' marching on and explaining how things would play out.
His job, apart from entertaining us, is to run us through what seemed like a fifteen minute bootcamp for television audience newbies.
We were informed that there's three levels of clapping required depending on the amounts mentioned that could be won, and then we demonstrated our ability to to do this.
Clapping seals would have been proud of us.
If there was a competition they would be hard pushed to compete in clapping on command with us.
One of the most important pieces of information that he imparted was that no one was to even whisper an answer to a question as it could literally be picked up.
This was something that the elderly gentleman next to me failed to pick up on as throughout the show he answered every question..........wrongly.
Thankfully the contestants either couldn't hear him or knew he was muttering shite.
Back to the lead up to the show though.
After some banter designed to lighten to get everyone in the mood, Nick Knowles arrived and had a chat with the audience prior to filming starting.
There's no prima donna antics and his off stage persona is exactly the same as his on stage one.
Maybe on his business card it says 'This is it baby. You get what you see', and fair play to him as he can effortlessly do the job of hosting a quiz show.
I'll not divulge any spoilers about amounts won, or how the actual show plays out, but during the on stage time he made the contestants feel at ease, and the few minor glitches, as in fluffed lines and such, were dealt with quickly and with a minimum of fuss that allowed the evening to flow rather than stop and start as I thought it may have.
Funnily enough you can actually get swept away with the tension and excitement.
As high amounts were lost I groaned along with everyone else, and cheered when the couple managed to get rid of the small amounts that would leave them with the larger prize.
It's like being a patsy in a Pavlovs dog experiment, but enjoyable none the less, and once it was all finished I'd have to admit that I'd do it again.
In fact they gave us complimentary tickets to the x-factor auditions that are being filmed on Monday and although I'm not sure if we can get along to it I might if I have the spare time.
Even if it's just so that when I'm slagging it off in future I can do it for a position of authority.