Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Hard cheese

The days I spend operating autocue for the BBC are long and hugely tiring. They start with a long journey. Getting to Elstree is never easy. It's just up the A1, and I assume I'll whizz home tonight, but on the way here, I got caught in rush hour traffic on those irritating sections of the A1, places like Mill Hill, which plague all motorists who are simply longing for North London to end. 

When you live in London, the joy you feel when joining a 3-carriage motorway can be intense. You can finally take your foot off the clutch and speed like a dart towards your destination. 

Elstree Studios is as depressing as ever. Even the pictures on the long corridors of Eastenders and Holby City characters are low-res cheap colour photocopies, which have stuck to their nasty clip frames and faded to weird colours. It feels like a tacky holiday resort which has lost its way... And its tourists!

I had a baked potato for lunch and was handed a little pot of cheese gratings to sprinkle over the top. The gratings were like little heat-proof bullets which refused to melt into the potato.Terrifying. 

Operating the autocue on a entertainment show is an adrenaline-fuelled business! It's one of those jobs where everything is very calm for long periods but then suddenly someone's shouting in your ear that the script needs changing - and you're typing in the amendments at the most ridiculous speeds whilst six other people are shouting about something else. 

You sit for hours in a darkened corner of a studio, the colour slowly draining from your cheeks like veal. Food and cups of tea are your only friends... Both of them are very hard to come by in this godforsaken place, which doesn't even have an on-site cash machine. 

With the tea and the cold comes the frantic desire to pee every five seconds. 

Still, it's all worth it. I love the show. I love working with Matt and today's show was a belter. I shall sleep well tonight. 

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