Why Does Everybody Call Me “Big ‘Ead”?

As long term readers will remember, Purple Fred (Whom I Love Very Much) and I are registered with a company that sends out free tickets to be in the audience for recordings of TV shows. We haven’t been to one for ages, but she snagged us tickets for a recording of a new game show at the weekend, to be filmed at Elstree studios. It’s a new show that’s never been on before so we were asked to divulge little in the way of detail, but I can say that it’s called “Big Heads”, it will be on ITV on Sunday teatimes and according to the pre-event blurb it attempts to answer the question “What would happen if Camilla Parker-Bowles rugby tackled Donald Trump?”. Leaving aside that the real answer is probably “an international incident”, it promises to make some interesting viewing.

Knowing the way these things work, we got into the queue outside the audience gates for Elstree studios at 5 PM, an hour before the advertised gate opening time, at which time we were about thirtieth in line. By the time the gate finally opened, about twenty minutes late, the queue had stretched to about five hundred people, as well as the usual smattering of first timers who went straight to the security man at the head of the queue claiming “but we’ve got tickets!” – to which the answer is, of course, “so has everyone else, now get to the back of the line”.

Filming started at about twenty past seven, and with the usual technical delays – plus some unexpected ones – it quickly became obvious that the advertised finish time of twenty to ten was just a pipe dream on the part of whoever was paying the studio crew’s overtime bill. I’ve been to one of these before – at BBC Wood Lane – which overran so much that I only just made the last underground train back to Waterloo1 , and this one looked like going the same way – although as we had the car this time it was less of an issue. By eleven o’clock the people sat behind us, who had to drive back to Warrington that night, were starting to get a bit restless, and I was glad we were only going back to Purple Fred’s ancestral mansion half an hour up the road rather than the two hour haul back home. The genial bearded host commented during one of the technical breaks “you came here expecting a nice evening out and it’s turning into a hostage situation!” .

I must add here, in case I’ve given the wrong impression, that it was huge fun and we’ll definitely do similar things again.

We finally left just before midnight – by which time filming still hadn’t finished, but all that was left was the closing scene and the genial host’s final piece to camera, and they’d filmed the audience infill shots for those earlier in the evening so they didn’t need us any more. By then the local McDonald’s drive through had closed, so as well as being tired and grumpy we were hungry and grumpy too…and then I took a wrong turning which added fifteen minutes to our evening, or should I say early morning.

Once I found the A1(M) the only event of any note was when I was going exactly on the speed limit (it was just about the right time for the traffic police to have all their anti-drunk-driver patrols out in force, and although I’d obviously have blown a clean breath test, getting stopped for speeding would only delay our journey). We were overtaken by an Audi going so fast I thought for a moment I’d stopped and parked without noticing.

We were back indoors just after one in the morning, and collapsed into bed, only surfacing ten hours later just in time for lunch!

And for the benefit of anyone younger than me, who may be wondering, the title of today’s piece is a line from a Max Bygraves song.

1 as referenced in this blog post

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