“How would you like to be in the One Show studio on Friday with me” was how it started, I took my Sister’s excited high squeal as a yes, lol. It began with one of those ‘well I’ll just try’ things, a modicum of hope invested but a healthy dollop of disappointment prepared. When the email arrived confirming attendance it was a mad frenzied series of phone calls and web searches to secure the one and only wheelchair seat on the four trains, and to reserve wheelchair accessible hotel room. All was set for Fridat 30th September, what a way to end the month!
Arriving at BBC Broadcasting House with comfortable time to spare we sat with a drink and panini looking down into the news room, the news studio is underneath the media cafe. Before too long we were booked in, given our yellow wrist bands and grouped together ready to go across to the studio. The lovely audience greeters instructed us that we should have fun, keep watch on the floor manager, watch out for cables and moving cameras etc, and finally could we give a hearty laugh. We must have passed the audition as we were lead across the piazza through the barriered area and into the studio.
Martin the floor manager introduced himself and shook my hand, placing me and my sister comfortably. He addressed us all, reminding us to be careful of cables, to watch for his signals, to laugh if there is something amusing, clap enthusiastically, and have fun. Seated not more than ten feet on the iconic green sofa were Alex Jones and guest presenter Shane Richie, familiarising themselves with a section of auto-cue. They both turned and greeted every one, I passed my congratulations onto Alex, as it has recently been announced she is expecting her first baby. My first impressions of the studio were how small it was, how calm it was (we were less than five minutes to air). There are three cameras, the sound guy, props man Dave, the hair stylist and make up lady, as well as other assistants. The monitors showed that we were in the final minute to air when a voice announced “Ladies and Gentlemen Barry Gibb is in the studio” huge applause and cheers from the dozen or so fans there, he waved and as he turned towards the sofa the same voice announced “Ladies and Gentlemen Stephen Gibb is in the studio” more applause and cheers. I was directly opposite the door they came in through, his face was a picture of surprise and glee as he spotted me, pointed and came straight over to hug and kiss me as he was then escorted out to the performance area.
We were on air! In my direct eye line, over Shane’s shoulder was Barry, and to my right peripheral vision was the auto-cue with monitor beneath. Everything felt so calm considering how time conscious live broadcasting must be. Martin had his hand signals to an art, palms up as ‘get ready’, silent clapping to ‘clap enthusiastic’, palms down to signal stop and double thumbs-up as good job done. As the vt’s are run cameras and cables are moved, we are shown our marks for when we could move forward and when we returned to ‘first positions’. We listened intently to those on the sofas.
It is an eclectic magazine programme, there was a segment about notable cars from the 1970’s being reclassified as ‘classic’ and included a section where Barry and impressionist Jon Culshaw trying to guess the first names of a family who had named their five children after classic cars. Another vt was about singing falsetto. Barry discussed his new album and recounted the tale of running around the house in search of a mini recorder as he had the hook to “You Win Again” in his head and if he went back to sleep he’d forget it.
Barry was to perform the title track from his latest album “In The Now” to close the programme, Stephen is a member of the band. As the last tv was run (about clam fishing is Scotland) we were ushered out the studio and around the piazza to the performance area. Stephen shouted to me as we massed together, laughing together as we \m/ each other. The closing piece was broadcast and the performance began, due to issues with sound it was lip synced from a recording taken earlier. Once we were off air Stephen came across to give me another hug and kiss, express his surprise and we exchanged a few words. I introduced him to my big Sister. He gave me his plectrum (in the header photo). Barry met each of us in turn, which was a nice gesture. Stephen had to start packing his kit (they would be going to Elstree Studios for Strictly Come Dancing) and the assistants were waving for us to leave, in order to hand back our wrist bands and have a group shot taken.
After having seen numerous online videos of the various band members, it was exciting to be just a couple of feet away from the familiar faces of Tim Cansfield, Dan Warner, Julio Hernandez, Beth Cohen, Leesa Richards, Charlotte MCKinnon, watching Lee Levin, Doug Emery and Richard Bravo along with Barry and Stephen.
Back at our hotel, I connected to the Internet to watch the programme, which is when we received messages and texts on our phone saying we had been seen! We watched the broadcast with exclamations of “Oh that’s me!” And “There are my feet” and “Doesn’t it look different on the telly” and “Look my feet are in the closing shot”.
Quite the experience. We got rained on getting back to the train station the next morning and our train was delayed because of an incident requiring police and medics at Ilford, we missed our connection, but got home safely, if a little chilled and shattered.
Sometimes investing hope can pay off, but boy it is a rarity.