Thursday, 8 November 2012


I woke up at 5.30am to get my train back from Newcastle this morning. Imagine that? I didn't even know such times existed! I was out of the hotel before they'd started serving breakfast, and had to eat a bag of hash browns from a pasty stall at the station because nothing else was cooked. 

I don't remember much about the journey back to London. I slept uncomfortably most of the way, periodically waking up as my head lolled about. 

I woke up properly at Peterborough to the distressing news that we were running 36 minutes behind schedule. I staggered to the buffet car for a bottle of water and in the process passed a group of lads who were drinking heavily. At 9am. Do these people have no pride? 

They were grotesque creatures. One of them actually managed to burp the word "hola" as I passed... He did the same on my way back. I can only hope he was Spanish - and recovering from major throat surgery!

From King's Cross, I took the Thameslink to Elstree and Borhamwood. I'm doing the autocue on a second series of The Matt Lucas Awards, which has moved from  television centre to the BBC studios up here. Elstree is the home of Holby City and Eastenders, but the buildings resemble a 1950s holiday camp. 

I keep walking past patients in robes and nurses in uniform, so I guess Holby is filming today. 

Matt's show aside, which is absolutely fabulous, this is a highly depressing place, which has served up, twice, the worst food I've ever had the misfortune to eat. Under-cooked peas with the consistency of little stones shivered on a polystyrene plate with watery tinned carrots and potatoes like old shoes! My stomach hurts. I might as well have been eating corrugated cardboard!

Walking through the corridors here, one encounters nothing but deeply miserable-looking people. There's a sadness which seems to hang over this place like a dusty lilac shroud. I don't know why I've had such a bad reaction to, what is essentially, a flag ship BBC studio. Maybe it's psychological.  Maybe it's because I loved the iconic  Television Centre so dearly. Maybe it's because this place feels like the back end of beyond. 

I got an email today telling me that Canada's foremost radio station will be playing the Kyrie from the Requiem on their classical music show this Saturday. This is a very exciting prospect and I'm hoping it might trigger a few sales on the other side of the pond. 

I went to see a medium, I think in Blackpool, about 20 years ago. She said (and I was having none of it at the time) that success would come late in life for me ... And that it would  come first in Canada. That'll teach me for trying to pay her with a moose hyde! 

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