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TucBiscuit
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Post by TucBiscuit » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:17 pm

I've no idea how long posts can be on here. I'm happy to edit if asked to. Here is my detailed account of being an SA in Psychoville. Sorry, no chance for photos!

I had really bad bus karma on the way. We stopped at every single bus stop (I forgot it was school kicking out time) and also seemed to hit every light on red from Greenwich to the Elephant and Castle. Given that the doors were supposed to be shut at 16.30 SHARP I honestly thought I was going to get there and end up just pressing my face against the window, like Maurice.

As soon as the bus stop I ran as well as I could - lurch, lurch (I have a bad foot) - to the Theatre. At least I knew where it was and I was on the right side of the road.

Anyway, I got there at 16.32 by my watch, but to my immense relief that doors were still open! My word. I was a little red and sweaty however, a fact which was obviously noted by the lovely but slightly camp man who was standing alone in the foyer to take names. He reassured me that they were running 10 minutes late (of course they were!) and that I had time to cool down. He also fanned me with his clipboard and told me that I looked very sexy, so he was either very charming or very short sighted.

I was directed up two flights of stairs to a crowded, hot and mostly dark room. The lighting was at best atmospheric - it consisted of different coloured lights at one end slowly changing colour so that people’s faces spookily flashed magenta, cyan and green out of the gloom. I stood in pain for about half an hour until a young lady came and sat on the (locked) bar and introduced herself. Her name was Bea and she was the Third AD. She’s obviously been sent in to jolly us along, as most people had now been there an hour and some of the natives were getting restless.

She’d just got into her stride, talking about the parts of the sketch we were about to see and that Christopher Biggins wasn’t filming today but Reece was, as the Evil Queen (YAY!) and some dwarves etc etc And then thump thump gasp - a fellow SA had keeled over in the middle of the room. Bea went to minister to her and we didn’t see her again.

About 10 minutes later they started to usher us in to the theatre. Bea had already explained that we were up in the seating area, the floor was mostly equipment and cables except for a couple of seats they’d placed there, and the actors would be on stage. As we lined up to be seated in groups of 5 or 6 they asked for a group of people to go and sit at the front. I was pleased because a big group of people in front of me charged off, leaving me in the next group to be seated - I just wanted a nice sit down.

Then, magically, the chap taking the other group downstairs asked for a single. Never have I been so pleased to admit my solitary status. “Me!” I called and pushed my way through before anyone else could.

We were lead back downstairs and split into four groups according to height. The second tallest group was group 4 (no, not the security firm) and that was my group. As we walked down to the temporary seats in front of the stage (oooh - 4 rows, I’ll be ever so close!) I looked across and saw a slight figure in a close fitting but incredibly garish red and black dress. Hello Mr Shearsmiths! It helped to know he was playing the Evil Queen, because from a distance he wasn’t immediately recognisable as he had a black hood (snood?) completely covering his hair, like the queen in Snow White. I had a good long stare as we walked towards the stage. We were then seated, back to front. Group 4 at the front. At the front!

Now as soon as I sat down I could see there were no cameras on us, so I won’t be seen on the show. That’s okay - I was there for the Gents, not to be on TV. But it did mean that I was as close as I could possibly be to Reece. Which was good.

Before they started filming, Steve came in. He was in his usual uniform - khaki trousers and a blue shirt and this time had a really cute light blue knitted hat on, totally covering his hair. Reece was in a dress, as previously explained, with a long black cloak which had red discs sewn all over it. It had a really high collar which had some feathers and two jewels dangled from the points. He was also wearing black gloves and rings on top of the gloves. He really sparkled!

They both said a few words of thanks to us and said they hoped we’d have a great time and they really appreciated our help.

Reece was then left alone on stage while they made the final preparations. He was wearing a pair of slippers and had to put his (very high) stilettos on. He oofed a bit at how uncomfortable they were. He talked to those of us at the front, saying he didn’t know what to say when it started because he was making this bit up as he went along. He asked us to respond in panto style ie Oh No Your’re Not and She’s Behind You if he gave us the cues. He was really friendly and engaging. At one point he asked, “Do you think it’s a bit much?” gesturing at the dress. I immediately responded, “Are you in costume?” and he said, “Nerr, Ah’m just off to change” in almost a Papa voice. On top of the close fitting black hood he wore an ornate gold crown. It was a great costume.

He had bright green eyes-shadow above his eyes - in fact above his eyebrows I think - it went up to his hairline. He was very pale, with dark shadows drawn on his cheeks (and a dark growth on his chin, but I think that was just Reece!) with red lipstick on.

We had been asked to start with a boo, but the silly audience hadn’t been told when to stop, so they didn’t. I did, because Reece started his line. And I have common sense, having been to a pantomime before. Sigh. Anyway, they were told just to boo/ hiss once and we went again. We did it two or three times - we booed, Reece said a couple of lines (different every time) then they cut. At one point looked down into the front row and said, “Where are you from?” to which I replied, “London” in a really squeaky voice. Weirdly, then he said, “Have you been on holiday?” which isn’t the next line, but he was thinking on his feet. I said no and of course he said, “Well your teeth are brown!”

Silence. Reece cracked up and they cut it. He then congratulated us (the four rows were the only ones he could talk to) because if they’d asked for complete and utter silence we’d have given the best reaction ever. He also shrugged and said, “That’s the best I’ve got!” Through all this he was obviously having a great time. Another time he started to ad lib about the curtains behind him. He said, “Oh do you like me curtains, I just got them from John Lewis, what do you think?” With everyone else sat there like blocks of wood I shouted out, “They’re rubbish!” which made the people behind me really laugh. Well, it’s what I would have said if I was there for real - you can’t hear smiles folks.

That was it for Reece’s solo part.

We had to film a scene where the Prince comes in to kiss Snow White, but she’s been knocked out and doesn’t rise. And then a curtain call, where we applaud the first two bows, then the curtains close and people start getting up to leave. They open again and people are left a bit embarrassed and sit back down. Reece gave us some special direction, “You’re ready to go, and then we come back again and you don’t want us to and it’s all a bit eggy.” Oh thanks Reece, I didn’t get that bit (it is quite possible some people didn’t of course, and they missed their cue to stand up and leave too).

We were then asked to go back upstairs and join the rest of the audience. When I got up there, Steve was sat with the rows of cub scouts they’d brought along from Muswell Hill and their scout master was taking a photo of him with them. He was chatting away to them quite happily, giving them a bit of direction. I was sat in the back row this time, and over to the extreme right, with empty seats beside me, so they are highly unlikely to use any of my reactions. What it did mean was that I was practically first out when they finished - more of that in just a bit.

This part was pure reaction shots. Laughing, confused, clapping enthusiastically, clapping half heartedly, boos and hisses, she’s behind you and oh no you’re not. Bea conducted this part again, but it was a little confusing. We couldn’t look at her as she was next to the camera (makes sense) but we couldn’t hear her direction once we were making a noise. So I’m sure some of it went on for far too long!

Steve thanked everyone again and told us there were sandwiches for us in the bar.

Sod the sandwiches - I hadn’t had a chance to say anything to Reece so I was determined to speak to Steve. Hurray! He was right behind me and I pounced. I was probably gabbling, but I thanked him for letting me come along, to which he responded thanking me of course. I said I’d had a great time and I couldn’t wait for the series. I then told him I was seeing Jeremy next Friday, which probably sounded massively over-familiar, but hey. And then said another thank you for everything “you four” have done and said they were all very talented. He seemed genuinely pleased and gave me a really cheeky grin. I shook his hand too. It sounds silly, but I am so familiar with his voice on the commentary that it’s almost a shock to find he has the same accent in real life. I’m so glad I didn’t say anything like that out loud (cringe!)

I did say I’d tell you in detail! Oh and as I was leaving I overheard two of the cubs. One was saying to the other, “Are you going to get your Mum to tape the third episode then?” so I guess that’s the one we saw! OMG - I wonder if Steve’s son was there? He’s the right age range now I assume…

The end.

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Post by Son of Tubbs returns! » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:31 pm

That is a brilliant write up! I really enjoyed it and sounds like you had a really awesome time too!

Thanks for sharing it! I really laughed when you said it Reece about getting changed! :lol:
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Post by Bainers » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:40 pm

I could not get out of the work thing in the end, but thank you Tucbiscuit
for your detail account of what sounded like a great day. Now i am goona really make an effort to see/get involved with any future filming.

Any hint from the boys as to where they will be filming next?

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Post by TucBiscuit » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:56 pm

No word on the rest of the filming I'm afraid. I'll be keeping them peeled myself.
To be honest the cubs knew more than me just be knowing what episode it's in.

Just remembered - Bea said they were going back up North tomorrow ("Thank God!" - which was funny because she was as Southern as they come) so I guess this was the end of the London shoot.

Also, one of the dwarves was one of Papa's. The chap who wore the suit. Sorry, I never did learn their names.

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Post by MrsBeasley » Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:43 am

Wow, great write up Tuc!

Sounds like it was a great day. Can't wait for the series now, I want to see Reece in that costume :lol:
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Post by Geoff Tipps' Joke Writer » Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:58 am

I was in the upper circle & never got the chance to be downstairs where TucBiscuit was
Last edited by Geoff Tipps' Joke Writer on Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:51 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by MrsBeasley » Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:54 am

Aw thats a shame. Sounds like you guys upstairs got forgotten.

What did you want/hope to get from it?

Try to take a step back, I know we all get our hopes up when we go to something Gents related & its such a pity you didn't enjoy it but don't upset yourself.
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Post by TucBiscuit » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:11 am

Really sorry to hear you had a bad experience GT, but to be fair everyone was thanked from the stage at the beginning (Steve certainly wasn't looking down at us, he was looking at the majority of people upstairs) and he was addressing everyone when he spoke at the end, telling us there were sandwiches downstairs.

Just console yourself that your presence was appreciated. I heard Steve saying, "We got a really good turnout didn't we!" So even just in a bums on seats way you were noticed.

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Post by Beast » Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:29 pm

Sorry you didn't enjoy it GTJW but at least you can watch it thinking I was there for that! If the experience wasn't enjoyable then it won't be a good memory but at least you were there for the filming of the series.

Thanks TB for the write-up. Back up north? a) so they've been filming up north before this then and b) where?!!
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Post by Geoff Tipps' Joke Writer » Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:23 pm

TucBiscuit wrote:Really sorry to hear you had a bad experience GT, but to be fair everyone was thanked from the stage at the beginning (Steve certainly wasn't looking down at us, he was looking at the majority of people upstairs) and he was addressing everyone when he spoke at the end, telling us there were sandwiches downstairs.

Just console yourself that your presence was appreciated. I heard Steve saying, "We got a really good turnout didn't we!" So even just in a bums on seats way you were noticed.
My friend and I were the first ones there - about 3pm (I booked the day off work so we'd get there in plenty of time) & so we ended standing around for about two hours (most of that in a darkened room which was boiling, crowded with about 140 people in it, which explains why someone collapsed) before they let us into the theatre...

We were standing in hot, unpleasant conditions for over two hours only to end up in seats that made me feel cut off from the action on stage. We could see the people in the front row seats downstairs & I'm afraid that really upset me, seeing we'd got there very early to get good seats. It probably explains why I'm feeling so upset by the experience.

They should have assigned numbers so the ones there first got priority seating downstairs, which was what the AD said they were going to do when we first started queuing inside the venue- she more or less said the ones there early were going to get priority seating. It didn't happen so I hope you can understand why I feel so down & upset about the whole experience yesterday :(
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Post by Tracy » Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:46 pm

TucBiscuit wrote:Steve came in. He was in his usual uniform - khaki trousers and a blue shirt and this time had a really cute light blue knitted hat on, totally covering his hair.
*melts... and 'saves for later' :twisted:* I heart Steve.

Thanks so much for the practically blow-by-blow account TB! I can't WAIT for this!!

GTJW: don't let one bad experience get to you. We've all (well a few of us) been there; the feelings of being ignored, etc. It's shitty, but it happens. You've met/seen filming/attended recordings of etc a lot of The Gents' stuff alot more than most people here, so hopefully that's some consolation.
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Post by TucBiscuit » Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:40 pm

Geoff Tipps' Joke Writer wrote:We were standing in hot, unpleasant conditions for over two hours only to end up in seats that made me feel cut off from the action on stage. We could see the people in the front row seats downstairs & I'm afraid that really upset me, seeing we'd got there very early to get good seats. It probably explains why I'm feeling so upset by the experience.

They should have assigned numbers so the ones there first got priority seating downstairs, which was what the AD said they were going to do when we first started queuing inside the venue- she more or less said the ones there early were going to get priority seating. It didn't happen so I hope you can understand why I feel so down & upset about the whole experience yesterday :(
I understand what your issue is now. I would feel exactly the same if I were you - crikey I get aggravated when someone pushes on the bus in front of me. If you were told it would be first come first served then it's pretty monstrous of them to just let the first people to push in get the seats on the floor. I was glad just to get in to the venue (after over an hour on the bus). Given that I was late, all that I expected was being able to sit down. My enthusiastic post probably rubbed salt into the wound and for that I apologise.

All I can say is if you've had up close and personal meetings with the Gents before then I envy you more than you could ever envy me. Despite being a fan since On The Town I've only ever seen them in the flesh on stage, and never spoken to any of them, unless you can count audience participation in Behind You :)

BTW I might even have seen you at the filming. A lady next to me said to her friend, "So much for priority seating then!" as we were being ushered in. I did wonder what that was about.

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Post by Geoff Tipps' Joke Writer » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:18 am

I think by that stage of the afternoon, when many people had been made to stand around for ages with no word as to what was happening, most people, as you said, were getting restless.

It was very hot in that room with so many people in a confined, dark space so I think everyone was getting peeved :(

There were middle aged & older people that had been standing around for all that time too - they were lucky more people didn't keel over like that one unfortunate woman did :(

When they finally opened the doors to the auditorum it was a free for all, so I think there were quite a few people moaning about the haphazard nature of the seating arrangements :shock: ...I think because at most audience events numbers are assigned so that there is a logical, orderly nature to the seating.

I'm glad you had a better experience though :) , especially as it was the first time that you'd actually met or spoken to one of the Gents.
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Post by Beast » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:44 pm

This was supposed to air in Feb wasn't it? Any word on when it will be?!
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Post by Geoff Tipps' Joke Writer » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:01 am

As far as I know there is still post production work to be done on it...

I don't think it has a definite transmission date yet - it seems rather 'flexible' at the moment. Reece mentioned that 'they' are talking about possibly around May scheduling when I asked him after the BFI event (there was a preview trailer for 'Psychoville shown after the 'In Conversation' with The League at the BFI last month & Steve and Reece mentioned that five of the seven episodes had been edited)

I wish there was some more news about it too :)

*If anyone saw Steve being interviewed on GMTV last Monday, didn't he mention 'Psychoville' at all?* (Maybe he had to stick to the ITV programmes he is involved in making?)
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