Around the back of the studios are the usual props, staging and other flotsam of a hundred thousand television series, serials and sitcoms. I’ve got a ten minute break and decide to take a form of exercise which involves running up eight flights of stairs from the basement to the top of the building and down again. From the third floor I can see a Scoutmaster showing some kids the central area with the statue designed by Eric Gill. The Scouts are no doubt listening to how a world record was set for tap dancing back in the seventies on this very spot.
I move onwards and upwards, up to the seventh floor where I pass a room, 7017, which isn’t labelled with anyone’s name. Instead, some wag has replaced the door sign with a symbol from Gerry Anderson’s UFO (the seventies sci-fi series–what is it about the seventies here tonight?). I am sorely tempted to slide a message underneath for the wannabe members of S.H.A.D.O. (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation). I could claim the aliens have discovered their secret base. I resist. For now…
Along the corridor, I pass news resources offices and etched glass doors. All very expensive. I head down and pause to look in Studio One from the observation gallery. The black cyclorama is wrapped all the way around and it’s difficult to see the shiny aluminium staging in there. Looks like some kind of quiz show. I can see they’ve rigged a fair few vari-lights. I love those.
Down on the groundfloor, I head for the vending machines. Around the deserted tea bar are scattered numerous empty bottles of Becks. Someone is having a good evening. I load up with Dr Pepper for the caffeine rush to compensate for having given up tea and coffee. Well, I still need to stay awake don’t I? I head back up to the first floor, going past the dressing rooms. On the way I hear flautists practising in one room. A bit further on the sound of an acoustic guitar playing drifts out along the hallowed halls. I pause to listen.
The guitarist is really good. I wish I could play like that. I can hear them singing too. I check out the sign on the dressing room door: ‘ Rodney Crowell appearing in Later With Jools…’ I’ve never heard of him but I look him up on Yahoo when I get to a PC. He has his own site. Still not heard of him but I predict that his album, The Houston Kid, will be big here in the UK in three to six months when the show goes to air.
Ten minutes up. Break over.