How scary is that?!
In fact, it wasn’t as scary as working on a recorded piece, where the pressure to get everything “just so” is immense and retake after retake builds the stress to astronomical levels. No, a live show needs everyone to be relaxed, to be themselves and to work right first time – and if it doesn’t, then it’s too late to do anything about it. Give me, the media tart, a choice and I’ll go for live every time! Especially when working with such professionals.
Let’s go back to the start of the story, then, and five o’clock or thereabouts on Tuesday afternoon when I checked my email before going upstairs to think about preparing supper. There was a message from Charlotte at NFWI, asking if I was available to do some craft ideas on Thursday’s edition of The One Show. A moment’s hesitation and I’d replied in my usual way – say “yes” first and ask “why?” later! the rest of the evening was spent in a tailspin, making lists of ideas, surfing through old photo collections and blog entries to find out what kinds of things I had to offer. Would they fit the requirements?
By Wednesday, I was in the swing of things, had clearer ideas of what was needed but still hadn’t spoken to the researcher. I went to the hairdressers as planned and winced a little as my hero said “At least your hair will look good”. I know he intended it as reassurance, but…
Wednesday afternoon and I was in touch with Emma from the programme, who said “yes” to everything I’d suggested and then added one or two more ideas. I couldn’t do everything – I don’t do hampers for example, so she called in my colleague Jill at this stage. Later on in the early evening, another call to ask if I could bring a bunch of friends? Not at this late stage – I was still dashing around trying to get all my things together and making, of all things, a snow globe, which was a particular request from the show’s producer.
Wednesday evening and we were supposed to be going to a concert in Birmingham but the snow had started to fall and my hero didn’t want to act the part on the M5 by getting stuck. In addition, I was still working through lists and gathering samples, tools and scribbling notes. We decided to stay home and even if those added hours weren’t needed for prepping more things, then at least we’d kick back and relax.
Thursday morning was no time to get in a spin but more one for quiet concentration and almost continuous checking of things as I put them in the bag and took them out again to check that I’d put them in to begin with. With about an hour to spare, our builder brought around the wooden blocks I’d asked him to make for me and I quickly made the sample photo puzzle.
I caught the 13.07 train from Stroud and finally sat back and tried to relax, having left the house in such a tizz I’d forgotten both Kindle and Ipad – me, with the boredom threshold of a gnat, with nothing to do for more than a whole hour! Fortunately I found my ipod touch in my bag and played Angry Birds for a while, until the battery died and I simply had to sit.
I met Mary from Los Angeles at Paddington Station and we hopped into a cab to Shepherds Bush, talking non stop. Here she was, thinking she was going to enjoy a quiet, pre-Christmas break in the Cotswolds and then out of the blue, finds herself being catapulted into prime-time TV! In no time at all, we were standing outside a grey studio complex, feeling rather overawed – thankfully, Emma sent Fraser down to meet us and bring us upstairs to the One Show base where he found us something to drink and left me with his phone number!
We’d got a first glimpse of the actual studio as we walked past and were immediately struck by the size – incredibly small! For the time being, we sat overlooking the view of the courtyard below, until Emma came along and suggested we start getting our things together.
Of course, there were preparations to be made, things to get going, ideas to confirm with Emma and the producer too. Small changes were requested and followed through and however hard I tried to drop the snow globe, the producer was insistent that it remain as the key project.
Emma’s elves had been sent shopping and had returned from their trip with extra glitter, starry sequins and all kinds of other bits and pieces. Of course, I’d bought the kitchen sink with me, so much of this was nice to have but actually not needed.
I prepped a project for Sarah to finish and was pleased that I’d brought plenty of material, even though, as the hour slipped by, it appeared that less and less of it would be used.
Cutting out the flower shapes for the paper ball, Mary reflected on how the day was shaping up. Had she envisaged herself here doing this? Not in a million years!
At five o’clock the call came through – time for me to go into make-up! We’d met Liz the make up artist earlier when she’d first arrived and stopped by to admire and compliment us on the ideas. Here I was now, sitting being titivated by her – she did a grand job! Whilst chatting, her colleague, the show’s stylist was unpacking a few outfits, pressing and hanging them up ready for Alex’s arrival.
I’d see that black sweater again in a while!
Rehearsal time now and Matt had arrived. He was going to have the conversation with me and we spent some time working out what I was going to say in answer to his questions. Which projects should we highlight? How much (little) detail to go into? All the time we were going through these things, he was getting messages through his earpiece from the producer, changing small things, making adjustments and commenting on what I should/should not do. the sound man came and fitted my microphone and apologised as he fitted the wire inside my pinny!
With fifteen or so minutes to go, Alex arrived and rehearsed her conversation with Jill, my colleague and in no time, they were counting down and the programme was about to go live. A posse of media students arrived to stand at the back and observe and a group of WI members from Kent busied themselves at a table under the “Christmas Craft Corner” sign. This small room was incredibly full!
What followed was a series of short bursts, of live action to camera and then, after ten minutes or so, relaxing down time filled with chatter and general chaos whilst the pre recorded films were shown. Towards the end of these, there would be a countdown and all would go silent again, ready for the next live action. Matt and Alex were relaxed and put everyone at ease, professionals that they are and the interviews were more like conversations. The thirty minutes of the show passed very quickly indeed and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the signature tune was playing and it was all over. Alex rushed off to catch a train to Blackpool, Matt bid everyone farewell and within five minutes, the studio was empty again.
We packed up our things and made our way to the Green Room to await a car, to take us to Paddington. Everyone except Emma had gone home, her colleague who organised the car for us awaited its arrival so that he could go too.
What a day. What an experience!
I shall never watch The One Show in quite the same light again ;-)
More information about the actual craft projects I made, including a couple which were seen only fleetingly, can be found on my NFWI Craft Blog here