Monday, September 08, 2014

Trip to London for recording of "Palladium" TV show

As I've already mentioned in an earlier post, we'd got free tickets for a recording of "Sunday Night At The Palladium." We weren't due to pick up the tickets from the theatre until 4.30 so we really didn't need to be in London too early, but knowing our propensity to get to places far too early, we caught a train at around 10.00 a.m. We decided to drive to the station and park. Being a Sunday, it seemed the easier option. When we last went into London, around a month ago (see earlier blog post.) we went in by  bus, and then found, on returning to Milton Keynes, that the busses back towards Eaglestone were somewhat erratic and we'd have to wait far too long, so we got a taxi. When we got to the carpark near the station we were shocked at how much it was going to park all day, around £8, and looked around and managed to park further into the city centre. You pay up until 6 p.m, which is during the week, but it seems Sunday parking is no longer free. We then had to walk a fair distance to the station. We'd  booked tickets on-line, which means we had to go to the machine at Milton Keynes Central station to get them printed out. Not too difficult. You get a password which you get when you register on-line and use the Debit or Credit card you made the payment with and the machine produces the tickets, printed out and they appear out of the machine. No real problem.

The train we eventual caught was virtually empty, which means we were able to sit down for the entire journey. Unlike the previous trip into London, when we had to stand for the entire journey. On arrival in London we went straight down to Oxford Circus Underground station which is only a two-minute walk from the Palladium. We just needed to know where we had to go later, even tough we had hours to fill before we could actually collect the tickets. As with any of these free tickets for television shows, you don't actually have the tickets until you turn up, as I think so many people order them and don't show up, so they have to over-extimate how many will be needed and you have to get to the studio in good time in order to get in for the recording. We decided to go off and find something to fill in the time. We went into Liberty's, which is within a stone's throw of the Palladium. Carol has never been in this iconic store before and we were really amazed by how amazing most of their products on sale are, particularly the Christmas store at the top of the building. Seemed to be far too early for Christmas, as it's only the beginning of September, but the range of items to decorate your home was incredible. If you've never visited this store, I can recommend it highly.

We went to a McDonald's and had a burger each. Not being a complete fan of Mcdonald's, I have to say it was passable, and it did mean we could use the toilets. The place was absolutely heaving, as their restaurants are generally in the centre of London. Just great to be able to sit down for a brief time before going off somewhere else.

As I say, we didn't have much idea where to go to fill in the time, but eventually decided to go to Regent's Park and laze in the sun there for a couple of hours. Totally amazed how beautiful it was, with long walks lined with flowers and the paths dotted with fountains. For an early-September afternoon it was amazingly warm and pleasant. Only a single stop on the Underground. Also amazed how busy the traffic was for a Sunday.  By now it was past 3 o'clock and we got back on the Underground and went back to Oxford Circus. We walked down towards Langham Place,  where Broadcasting House is located. We went into a Starbucks and had a couple of their cold frappe drinks and then went towards the iconic B.B.C. headquarters. I was interested in seeing how they'd redeveloped Broadcasting House and we looked into the windows of the studio where the television programme "The One Show" is made. If you ever see this early evening show you will know that you can see members of the public passing by the windows, which is exactly what we did and were surprised at how small it was. I think the cameras and lenses seem to make things look wider and a good deal bigger which was the case here. We then looked in another window and saw a mock-up of a news studio and some people being taken on a tour of the place and two you men were doing their own news bulletin complete with weather forecast, using auto cues and all the additional equipment.

By now time was moving on. It was near enough time to head back to The Palladium and queue up to get inside and, hopefully, take our seats in the Stalls. Just as well we did queue when we did and get our tickets, because when we walked past the queue stretched round the block and into the next street! We decided walk on as we didn't actually need to be back until gone 6 o'clock when we were supposed to be allowed in. The doors were opened at 6 and there was a huge crush to get in. As we were in the Stalls we had to go in through another door from the rest of the audience. But when we got inside the theatre we couldn't get into the auditorium and had to wait in the rooms leading into the main body of the theatre. For whatever reason we were never told. It was extremely crowded, a great crush of people, moving forward very slowly. It was getting very hot and sticky so we found somewhere to sit and wait until the Stalls doors were opened up. We fortunately didn't have to wait long. By now we were both feeling very exhausted, which was a pity as we had been looking forward to this for quite some time.

On arriving in the Stalls and finding our seats in row '0' we then found that there were already people sitting there. We carefully checked that we had the numbers and rows correct. Yes, clearly printed on our tickets. But the people were adamant that was where they were sitting. We had to go and check with a member of the theatre staff and he came down to the seats and looked at the people who were sitting in our seats and discovered that their tickets were for row 'Q'. I suppose it was quite easy to see that a 'Q' was very like an 'O' on the tickets. So the problem was resolved and they went to sit in the correct row and seats.

We had to sit and wait for a considerable length of time before the recording started. You  have to remember when you go to a television recording as a member of the audience that it's not like live theatre where it's all run straight through, apart from intervals, scene changes and so on.  They do tend to stop and stet the recording, due to technical issues or someone forgetting lines etc etc. There was a warm-up comedian (I don't know his name. He wasn't familiar from television or elsewhere. A warm-up man is there to get the audience in the mood, to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. The the host for the evening came on, Stephen Mangan. The opening of the show was done, then they did a second version, which had a slight variation. Then the recording stopped. When it began again the first act came on. Bryan Adams, who is one of Carol's favourite musicians. A surprise. And the evening went on like that, stopping and starting. When edited it will appear to be 'live.' The other acts were a music act called Little Mix, which I've never heard of, Alan Davies, Alfie Boe and two novelty acts, a 'towel' act, called Les Beaux Freres which I won't describe on here, but I'm surprised as it was quite 'adult.' I have a feeling that this won't make the edit, as there are too many people 'out there' who are only too willing to complain at the least provocation. Then a somewhat naff 'magic' or illusion act. The 'game' element is called 'Top Of The Bill.' I do recall the original gameshow element which was in the original 'Palladium' shows when it was hosted by Bruce Forsyte, but to be quite honest this part of the show was a bit lame, but never mind. Bryan Adams came on for the final number and there was another disappointment when they didn't have the famous finale with all the cast members going round on the famous Palladium revolve. A really iconic part of the original show. Never mind. It's just great that there's going to be proper variety back on television as opposed to talent and reality shows.

The recording ended at around 9.30. We managed to get out of the theatre in the crush and walk the short way to Oxford Circus Underground station. It was only two stops on the train to Euston and we managed to get a train from platform 8 fairly rapidly without having to wait. By now we were both flagging and almost fell asleep on the journey home. The train was very slow and stopped at virtually every station on the line and we got into Milton Keynes Central at around 11.45. We're now looking forward to next Sunday and watching the complete show all over again on I.T.V.
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