Tuesday, 9 June 2009


What I should be doing right now is re-potting more seedlings (because I like growing things - especially yummy tapas things). I can't really be arsed though, plus my living room floor already looks like this:

I'm going to be eating a lot of pimientos in the Autumn!

Anyway, this post wasn't about food, it was going to be about what I did the other week.

Do you know what I did the other week? No, of course you don't - I haven't told you yet.

I went to see the filming of
QI in Londinium :)

Living (as I do) on the other side of the country, it meant that I had to take an afternoon off work to get to the filming by 6:45pm. So - obviously - I spent a two hour lunch in the pub, a short break in the pub at the train station, a two hour train journey with beers and a couple of beers in a pub opposite the studios while waiting for everyone else to turn up. I even managed to squeeze in a quick pint with my Dad who was in the vicinity at the time.

The person who'd invited me was an old friend and colleague whom I'd not seen in quite a while - mainly because he lives hundreds of miles away and has bad aids (or 'kids' as they're also known) and we had a lovely catch-up (over a pint) while waiting for his two other friends to turn up - the last of which did at 6:30pm, and then promptly got a round in.

None of us had ever been to a TV recording before, so we made sure we left the pub at 6:45pm and walked over the road to the studios, clutching our printed tickets.

There were two queues. One with a hundred people in, one with a thousand.

We had tickets, so sidled up to the back of the smaller queue. It was for Have I Got News For You.


We slunk back around the side of the building to join the back of the huge queue, only to hear a TV bod (possibly a 'runner' or a 'fluffer' or something) proclaim that from 'this point on' (200 people in front of us), the show was full.

Thank you very much. Please come again.

Double arse. It seems our ticket was on a first-come, first-served basis. Ah, how naive we were...

We contemplated the pub, but then made a split-second decision to join the back of the HIGNFY queue again and try and blag our way in. Genius plan - I'm like that when I wasted.

This worked brilliantly and we were soon past security who glanced at our 'tickets' without noticing they were from the wrong show, though we nearly tried to sneak onto the back of the QI queue as they filed past us into their theatre. Then, disaster, we saw another fluffer counting down the HIGNFY queue and we could see that we were going to miss out again. Quick as a flash we took a show of hands and voted that the dutch guy in our group should go and pretend to be 'foreign' to a nearby security guard and say that we joined the wrong queue and should be in the QI lot.

Bizarrely he agreed, only to be rebuffed by the security guard who placed him in a 'standby' queue outside the main gate. We waved, and waited to put our names down for 'guaranteed' HIGNFY tickets for the next season.

We resigned ourselves to more beers in the pub, when suddenly the security guard came rushing past into the street and brought the dutch guy back past security (even though he was about 20th in the standby queue), grabbed us on the way through and rushed us into the QI theatre. It turned out that 4 VIP guests had failed to turn up, and so we got their seats.

Awesome seats too. :)

I won't say much about the filming, beyond that Stephen Fry is very funny, it takes two hours to make a thirty minute show, and that we're in the one with the question about 'Who had the first driving licence?' The drunken guy laughing loudly is probably me!

We barely had time to get another pint in the pub before I had to dash across London to get a train that was then cancelled, before getting into Bristol at 1:30am on the only other train westwards which unfortunately stopped at the station on the outskirts of Bristol. I had no cash on me to get a taxi so had to stop at the cash machine to stock up and promptly missed every single taxi.

Triple arse.

So, there I am, standing in a freezing cold car park at 1:45am with a banging headache kicking in - and I had to be at work in 7 hours - when a entirely random posh couple came *back* in their taxi and offered myself (and the other stranded person, a completely wasted oldster in a bow tie) a lift. They were on their way to their 'club' in Posh Bristol (at 2am, wtf?) so were going near my house.

I then had a very interesting conversation all the way back with this seriously minted couple (the bow tie wearer, when asked what sort of day he'd had, had replied in a bemused tone "I honestly couldn't tell you" and then fell asleep) who'd been in London to see the opera and 'spend some money at Harvey Nicks'.

I got to sleep at 2:15am. Top day :)


Gorilla Bananas said...

I'm glad that to see that noblesse oblige is not dead. So what bits do they edit out then? The bits where they fluff their lines?

Beverly Hamilton Wenham said...

You my friend are as we would say here on this side of the pond, a hoot! I too love Stephan Fry and would wait in any line to see him in real life. He is even the voice of my alarm clock. I wake up with a smile (if only briefly) every day. Your great.

weenie said...

I appear to have missed some sort of announcement about you breaking your teetotalism...

Anyway, sounds like a grand day out!

Rachel Noy said...

Oh wow! You are such a jammy git!

Glad you got in in the end. Not getting in wouldn't have done your amazing plan any justice.

Red Squirrel said...

gb - indeed, I was most grateful for the lift.

They edit out the unfunny bits, of which there were a few. There was only one scene reshot when they didn't trigger the siren when Alan Davies gave *another* obvious answer....

Beverly - thanks! :) Our Stephen is a proper wit.

weenie - oh that was on New Year's Day! I did my year off, and then eased myself back (with the occasional blow out) :)

Rachel - it was touch and go, but fortune favours the brave apparently. Or possibly the quick. Maybe even the dead.

Belle said...

Wow Squirrely -what an adventure. We do love a bit of Fry. Although I do love his fwend Hugh even more and would stand in line forever to have a bit of him.

Anonymous said...

Your story instantly reminded me of Mr. Bean...

You're hilarious like that!


Mia Dickinson said...

Stephen Fry is a legend. I nearly wet myself when I went to last series filming!

Dont know how you managed to stay patient in all the chaos. I live in London and hate going into town.

Does my nut in! x

Red Squirrel said...

Belle - you like a bit of Fry and Laurie eh? ;-)

Sweet Cheeks - I'm not 100% convinced that that's a good thing....

Mia - I managed it through the simple method of being too drunk to care. I suggest you try it next time :)

London Belle said...

I went to see one programme being filmed - the pub landlord thing. I hated that prog! But got front row - saw Buzz Armstrong & Jodie Kidd and Sophie Ellis Bextor perform live - all for free no bad!!