My wife Julie arranged for two tickets for the recording of The Graham Norton Show this week and so this afternoon we met at Westminster tube station and travelled to White City where the programme is recorded. Arriving in good time to ensure a seat in the studio – the BBC always oversubscribe their shows to ensure a full house – we walked around the Westfield shopping complex before joining the patient queue outside the famous ‘polo’ shaped building.
The majority of the two hours involved American actors Josh Brolin and Ryan Reynolds, alongside English actress Vanessa Kirby, although it was only when David Beckham joined them on the sofa that a buzz of excitement went around the audience. My particular highlight was a performance of her new single ‘I like to when we’re together’ by the wonderful Joan Armatrading. Joan also brought a welcome sense of maturity and wisdom to the conversation as the show reached its climax.
In fact the show was recorded in Studio 1 where – if my memory serves me well – I had been over 50 years earlier, in February 1968 aged 9, for the first episode in the second series of Roger Whittaker’s Whistle Stop. This featured Dilys Watling, Jack Haig, Larry Parker, and the Bert Hayes Octet. Plus Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich memorably performing The Legend of Zanadu (soon to be a no.1 hit). Complete with vocalist Dee cracking a whip! My godmother Rosamund Sheers worked at the BBC and had arranged for a ticket as a birthday present.
Julie and I caught the train back to the Oval, where my car was packed at the back of the MU offices, and stopped off at the newly opened The 24 Oval wine bar and restaurant in Clapham Road. A very pleasant end to the evening.