From Gladiators to Beadle

Sunday, April 27, 2008 by

A couple of days spent at TV show recordings, courtesy of the relevant press offices.

Friday afternoon, and it was off to Shepperton to gesticulate with the oversized foam hand for Gladiators. And, good grief, it all felt pleasingly familiar. This is indeed the same wonderfully stupid, stupidly wonderful show we enjoyed in the 1990s. The line-up of Glads are suitably taut, and blessed with personality. I should think, though, poor old Atlas will rue the day a contestant dubbed him “Fat Lass”. That’s going to stick.

Thanks to Sky’s hospitality, we small group of journos were able to regularly retire to a green room to watch proceedings on a monitor (the way the studio is set up, no one member of the audience can see all the games all the time). Rather fantastically, this was situated next door to the Glads . As well as passing them in the corridor, there was mucho banging on walls to be heard and bad-mouthing of contestants. Better yet, John Anderson popped in between bouts, and proved terribly friendly. When a press officer brought Spartan through to meet his admirers (our female contingent, obviously) he stood sheepishly in his dressing gown. “I think they want you to take your clothes off”. Good lad that he is, he did.

As it happens, the episode we witnessed turned out to be a particularly twisty-turny affair. Watch out the for one with contestant “Super” Dan and the woman who bangs on about her sore finger. I’ll be there, near Hang Tough, not quite mastering the point up-up-down-down to Another One Bites the Dust.

Then, Saturday, and an appointment at LWT Towers for the recording of An Audience Without Jeremy Beadle courtesy of ITV1. A fantastic selection of people filed in for this, from Debbie Rix to Greg Dyke, Sir Alan Sugar to David Hamilton, Janet Ellis to Wilf Lunn. Shuffling into the studio, I found myself behind Mike Savage and son, and surprised the man by engaging in conversation about Eureka. For the recording, I was seated beside a walking stick-wielding Sylvester McCoy and his two boys. In the row ahead, the Diddy one himself and Tony Blackburn.

Chris Tarrant hosted, bringing us a melange of Beadle action which did well to acknowledge both The Deceivers andEureka, gave loads of screen time to Beadle’s Box of Tricks, recreated that Game For a Laugh game and just generally summed up all that was ace about the bearded one – with the right balance of affection and piss-taking. Highlight: Tarrant snipping off Henry Kelly’s neckwear, only for Sir Alan to growl: “You cut my tie, I’ll cut your fucking bollocks off”. “Ingrid’s already done that,” came the reply. Lowlight: Danny Baker’s over-running, sadly off-beam and just not all that funny quiz, “About Beadle”. The Bake was clearly gutted at having to junk a round based on Jeremy’s various racial disguises. Still he did get off a zinger at the start. Having established Paul Ross was in the audience, he cruelly quipped, “That means I couldn’t make it!”

Beadle couldn’t make it either, of course. He would have gone for Sir Alan’s tie, I bet. A great night, though, and two programmes I reckon are well worth tuning in for: Gladiators on Sky One and An Audience Without Jeremy Beadle, ITV1 – both in May.

STOP PRESS ITV1 have just confirmed Baker’s quiz is to be dropped from the final show. Paul Ross looks set to make the final cut, though …


Comments are closed.