For those of you that managed to miss the exploits on Twitter and Facebook earlier, today was our Only Connect filming day. We were due in the studio at 12.30. I was booked to be on the 8.20 from Sheffield, to change at Birmingham 9.45 ish and then Bristol after that, due to arrive in Cardiff just before midday. Just before we got into Derby station, the train stopped for a bit, as they sometimes do when waiting to get a platform. Around twenty minutes later we got an announcement that the freight train in front of us had broken down and split in two (?!) and we’d be about half an hour. I rang the TV people and they said to keep them informed. Much later we got another announcement saying it’d be another 45 minutes. We were sandwiched inbetween trains so couldn’t do anything about it. After nearly two hours of standstill, we got moving. The train was due to go to Preston but they decided to stop at Derby. Those of us going to Brum were able to get a train not long after, the others were even less fortunate.
The late train is one thing, but the trolley lady took the biscuit. When I got on in Sheff, she raced frantically through the carriage, clearly not looking as though she was actually serving. I assumed she’d come back more slowly, but when she came back she was just as fast, not offering any drinks, not looking people in the eye, clearly not prepared to stop and serve refreshments. A while after the 45 minute annoucement, she came over the tannoy and said because she was getting off at Derby when we eventually got there (which turned out to be nearly an hour later) she wasn’t going to come through the carriages to serve people but she was in coach F if we wanted to buy anything. Even later still, they announced that we could have free tea/coffee/water but would need to go to coach F to get it – but they ran out of water to make hot drinks!
During the journey, there were lots of frantic calls to Steve and Chris, the production people and to our reserve, the lovely Helen (as well as lots of tweeting, including between people stuck on the train behind and some other people appearing on OC this series – hello everyone!). In the end they decided there was no other option but for me to get a cab from Birmingham to Cardiff. £230 (of their money) later, I arrived at the studio at 14.20.
The cab driver was a bit eccentric, but nice – if rather shellshocked by suddenly being whisked off to the other side of the country. He pulled into a layby and asked if he could nip into the bushes to wee but I asked if we could stop at services cos I needed to go too. He said he thought I was in a rush, which I was, but I also needed the loo really badly. I thought he’d pull into the first services but didn’t, and in the end we both made it to Cardiff without, perhaps each being too polite to assume the other would decide now was the time to stop. Every bump in the road was fraught with danger, not least because I didn’t have spare jeans. Imagine being on BBC Four with wee-filled trews, as if being on there wasn’t scary enough. He also offered me a fag, which would have offered the illicit pleasure of being able to smoke in the back of a black cab, blowing rings IN THE FACE of the no smoking ads, if it wasn’t for the fact I don’t smoke. Still, it’s the thought that counts.
The recording itself was intense. It is harder than watching at home because, for one thing, at home you can get it sort of right and award yourself a point. There is an advantage in being part of a team, though it’s harder to trust your own/each other’s knowledge.
Interesting titbit for you – you don’t watch the other team do their wall, so that’s all very intriguing. Oh, and as Chris pointed out on lowculture, a bit of slippy carpet to fall over on.
We didn’t really see much of Dame Victoria Coren outside of the questions but when we were waiting for the wall round she was very nice to us, and she is indeed very funny (even off camera). She also speaks exactly the same way in real life as she does on the telly. She wore a lovely frock, too. We didn’t get to see davidbod much either, but he was nice and friendly – and the team we spent most time with, including Jenny and Rachel, were utterly lovely people, as were our opponents. In fact, apart from the train fiasco, it was a lovely, if surreal, day.
I totally forgot to take any photos so I’m hoping they will let us have copies of the promo shots. Tomorrow will be seeing some of the Doctor Who/Torchwood/Gavin and Stacey sights of BEAUTIFUL CARDIFF though I don’t think there’s any watchable Who filming going on. I might remember to take photos then.
We can’t tell you when we go on because we don’t know yet, and we certainly can’t tell you the result. I am not sure I can bear to watch though (other than to see our opponents do the wall, which we didn’t see) but you will know as I will probably be hiding from blogging/tweeting/facebooking. Everything is easier from behind a screen than in front of it!!