Monday, 1 April 2013

Me and Bruce at TVC

Two great things in one.
A few days ago I went to a recording of a show at BBC TV centre in Wood Lane London; the one that has the postcode W12 8QT.  The one where all those shows used to share the same telephone number 01 811 8055.

I got to see the very last show being recorded in TC1, Studio one; the big studio where shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, Later with Jools, Children in Need and Comic Relief have come from down the years.  The last show there was a retrospective on the life and career of Sir Bruce Forsyth.  Cards on table, comedy is my thing.  Comedians are very often my heroes.  Well, let's just say that one christmas as a boy my dear mum gave me a teddy bear and I gave him a name.  Yes you've guessed it, not for me some brainless footballer on a poster on the wall, no my bear was, and is, called Bruce.  I watched Bruce on the Generation Game and could see the poise and finesse of the skill of the man and he was a god of comedy.  Okay, he was never an Eric and Ernie but as a solo performer he was close to perfection in my eyes and still is (I can even forgive the bizarre quiz that was Takeover Bid).
So the day at TVC was long, queueing in the wind and icy blasts of Wood Lane.  Eventually we got in and were told that those of us who were at the front of the queue would be in the front rows right near the action.  We got inside and were told we could take photos in the corridors of iconic TVC stuff but not in the studio itself.  The walk across the forecourt in now Siberian temperatures was quite bracing, we waited and outside the studio we saw the long stolen TC1 studio sign.  In we went, I was in row two.  The lady before me "plonked" herself down and I sat next to her, the lady after me asked me to move as I was half on her seat.  Oh the horror, the lady on my left was shall we say, large!  She was carrying the equivalent of a small child in each thigh, I had to breath in.  Then the horror increased as the lady after me sat down and I realised that she was the same size as the first lady.  Oh heavens I was squeezed.  So much so that I could not comfortably place my arms down or even cross them - I quickly found that by placing my hands on the opposite shoulder that I could fit the space.  I must have looked like a corpse sitting up between these ladies of largesse.  The thing keeping me going was the thought that within minutes I would be achieving a life-long ambition to see Bruce.

The show was hosted by Miranda Hart, she did a really good job by the way, and the house band was McFly.  As McFly are my daughter's favourite band I wondered if she would ever forgive me for getting to see them.
At twenty past seven the recording started.  Down the steps of the faux basement pink and purple flat that was covered in photos of Bruce came Miranda.  The introductions done then on came Bruce, in my eye a little moistening took place.

The show was a long chat, based on categories (it would not be fair to spoil the show by going into detail).  Bruce chatted and was witty, the conversarion amusing.  He played the piano, wow.  He sang - three times as a lady in the audience put him off first time and he had riffed on the lyric before doing it again.  In fact his riffing was pretty good, showing that his skill has in no way left him. 
Then during the chat he talked of his missed chances in films, the fact that he almost had a part in Candleshoe (the part went to David Niven).  He tried to remember the young actress in the film, he fumbled for it a couple of times.  I saw my chance, not to spoil the show but merely to talk to my hero.  I shouted out the name "Jodie Foster", Miranda told Bruce that someone had said it.  He looked at me, I repeated it, he thanked me and said I should be in the front row.  I wanted to say something but all I could think was, "Bruce is talking to me".  I nodded politely.  I could now die happy as I had spoken to Bruce and been spoken to by him.

The sign above the entrance to Studio One - if it isn't nailed down then...... well!
The show finished at 9:50pm, then some re-takes and finally I left the building at 10:10pm.  The train was rather late in the evening, I got into bed at 1am and could not sleep.  I was so excited.  That excitement has not passed.  I got to see my hero and was not let down.  I got to see the last show at TVCentre before the shutdown (damn all accountants who think it is a good idea!).
What a great day, they don't often come along like that.  If only I had a time machine and could go and see Eric and Ernie and perhaps Tommy Cooper, and er The Two Ronnies.  This list could go on and on, but wow because I got to see Bruce.  Long may he carry on with that skill.


  1. I envy you having been there, and to have the nerve to speak out! that's fantastic. I did not realise until it happened how many memories Television Center held for me, but as you think of all of the programmes produced its thought provoking.

    I can understand your excitement, and when a time machine is invented you can be my guide!

    1. Thanks David. It was a night I shall treasure for the rest of my life - truly. As for a time machine guide, well it would be a worthwhile job for once, rather than pushing bits of paper about and pretending it actually matters. A truly lovely day. And the happy spirit of the members of the queue out on such a cold day was lovely. I think you might get the idea that it was a lovely day? I do hope so.