Saturday, 24 January 2009

I was in the audience of THAT show (Friday Night with Jonathan Ross)

with Tom Cruise, Stephen Fry, Lee Evans and Franz Ferdinand

Tom Cruise on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, broadcast 23 Jan 09

Jonathan Ross fan gets to see 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross' being recorded amid an enormous dollop of media hype

As days go, Thursday 22 Jan 09 certainly was a memorable one!

Since my favourite TV show has been for ages, 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross', as previously blogged, I thought it about time I sent off for tickets to be in the audience to see it being recorded. Just where is the green room? Why do they never show the audience? I was hoping to get all questions answered.

So I was on my way to BBC Television Centre on 29 Oct 08 when I was told the show was canceled. The tickets were then reissued for 22 Jan 09. Guests announced: Lee Evans, Stephen Fry and rumour. Then I heard that the time of the show was moved to noon rather than the evening. Must be a VIP rumour - which tied in rather obviously with Tom Cruise. What a stroke of luck that I should end up going to THAT show!

I set off for London nice and early, although the media were already there when I arrived at Television Centre. It was a bit of a media frenzy - I saw Sky News, BBC News, BBC Five Live, BBC Radio One, The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Mirror and several papperazi. I even ended up being interviewed by BBC News three times, and once even live on the morning news! They mainly wanted to ask what I thought about the who-ha, whether I thought what Jonathan Ross did was wrong or right, whether he should apologise - there was enormous speculation as to what he is going to say about it in his opening address.

We, the audience, were then allowed into the doughnut building, the first stop of which was to go through 'airport security'. I was very impressed by the level of good control that the friendly security staff exhibited. They herded us every step of the way, making sure we never strayed beyond 'studio' or 'loo'.

It was very interesting to see the set 'in the flesh' because TV cameras manage to distort one's perception of distances and room layout. It was great, for me, to be in the studio (one of eight) because it is very likely to have been used for the filming of some of the original Monty Python Flying Circus shows in the late 60s and early 70s. How many other unforgettable shows were recorded in that very studio, I wonder.

Then the warm-up artist started doing his thing - a chap from New Zealand - and, finally, the Four Poofs installed themselves around their Piano and sang us a little song - the only line of which I still remember was a Heather Mills putdown.

Then the familiar theme music starts playing and the show is underway: the doors open, Jonathan Ross comes out, makes his apology etc... you know - you've seen the show!

It was fascinating to see how all the cameras move around the set. You'd think a few would collide now and again. Actually, I have a question. The opening shot where the camera flies from the left of the stage (from the audience's point of view) to the double doors where Mr Ross appears - how do they get the camera to fly through the animated "O" so perfectly when it isn't really there?

I was actually struck by how professional everybody was, from security right through to Jonathan Ross himself. I think he only fluffed his lines once, and that wasn't during his apology as I would have expected. He's just the same when the cameras are rolling as when they are not, by the way. And yes, several rude things he said (which I am not going to repeat here) were cut out before the show was broadcast. I must say, it was edited so well; you would never know where the edits were. And it ends at exactly the right second - how do they do that?

What you wouldn't know from just watching the show at home is that when a guest is called onto the stage, they get up, go into the corridor and, at that point, the the recording is halted to maybe do a bit of makeup or something. Then, when they are ready, the Four Poofs get the music going, the floor manager gets the audience clapping, and only then does the guest emerge onto the stage.

During the first pause after Lee Evans had been called, Jonathan made us all laugh when a makeup girl came out from the corridor, and he said, "That's not Lee Evans, obviously." Then he said, "Yes, I have lost a little weight, thank you for noticing."

One other thing Jonathan said while the cameras were not recording was quoted in the media, care of Yours Truly (see My media scrapbook below).

Just before the end of the proceedings, Tom Cruise made a point of coming back on stage to thank the audience for coming - a very considerate gesture I thought and so 'Tom Cruise'.

I also particularly enjoyed the conversation Jonathan and Stephen Fry had about Twitter. I have been following Stephen for a few weeks now and I tweeted every step of the way that day, from my mobile phone. (Follow me if you want:

When we (the audience) left Television Centre, we were besieged by the media who wanted to know what Jonathan said in his opening address, what rude words he used, the memorable moments of the show, etc. I was immediately surrounded by cameras, microphones, note pads and a barrage of questions. They were even getting tetchy with each other when one cut in with their question before I had finished answer the previous question! Now I have an idea what it must be like to be a celeb! Before I answered any, I wanted to first announce to the world, via Twitter, the exclusive news that Lee Evans was going to play a professor in Dr Who.

It was wonderful to then watch the show the next day and to see how it had been edited. Get this: just before the show went on air, I managed to get 2 replies to @johnalexwood from Jonathan (Wossy) himself via Twitter!

As anticipated, the show did really well in the ratings with 5.1m viewers. The last show in October was watched by 3.74m.

My media scrapbook (it was strange checking my own name in Google News!):
Television Centre

The Media waiting to pounce

The audience on their way into the studio

Welcome to the Audience Foyer

The Tardis

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1 comment:


What a great account of what is one of my favourite TV programmes. It's wonderful to read about what actually goes on. T'was a great show. Am now looking forward to next week's.