M’lovely Purple Fred (Whom I Love Very Much) took me and MiniFred to ”Live and Deadly” yesterday..

For those of you unexposed to children’s television, I should explain that ”Live and Deadly” is based on a programme called “Deadly Sixty”, where a bloke called Steve introduces the little ‘uns to the world’s most dangerous animals. The programme team have apparently been on tour for the last eight weeks, and yesterday was Southampton’s turn.

I’ve been to better organised p*** ups in breweries. OK, the weather wasn’t the BBC’s fault – although bad weather in November is at least fairly predictable – but the day seemed to be designed thus:

  1. Turn up and discover that all the parking close to the event is “maximum one hour”, and relocate to a multi-storey where you swell the city council’s coffers by five quid.
  2. Queue for an hour to register and receive a wristband – and we were lucky, the queue grew to at least four times the length it was when we joined
  3. Join another queue for a “Sepcial Effects” exhibition, which was so oversubscribed that the adults had to wait outside in the freezing cold, so as many littles as possible could go in.
  4. Head for Debenhams’ café for a hot chocolate. It hadn’t occurred to the organisers that at an outdoor event in November, a tea and coffee wagon might be popular. They also hadn’t told Debenhams’ café the event was happening, so they only had their normal Sunday staff on.
  5. Return to the park and stand in another queue. This queue, together with your wristband, gives you access to the “live show waiting area” (aka a queue in a fenced-off compound)
  6. Be shepherded into another compound to see Steve and three snakes and three birds of prey. Be constantly hassled to squash up as they’re short of space. Here’s an idea, BBC – next time hire a few more fence sections and build a bigger compound.
  7. Decide you can’t be bothered to join yet another queue to see some mealworms, and go home to warm up

It’s a shame, this could’ve been so much better done – loads of local animal organisations would’ve loved to get involved, and only a tiny fraction of the park was used so there would’ve been loads of room for them. I’ve got a fair bit of experience of being an audience member for BBC, both on TV and radio, and it’s always been obvious that their policy is that it doesn’t matter how badly they treat audiences, there are always more people wanting to go than there are places available.

The same policy obviously worked yesterday – in spite of the freezing cold, and the fact that you could see there wasn’t much going on, enough people decided to stay to make a queue twice across the park and halfway round the block. But I know a few people who won’t go again.

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