Hello there. Thanks to a very lovely someone, I managed to go to the recording yesterday. Queuing wise, I didn’t turn up that early (at about 8:30) and was 8th in line- the earliest arrivals were from France and Belgium and had turned up at 6:30, so even they hadn’t needed to camp out, though a fair few people behind us in line had had the sensible idea to bring blankets and things (it was a very cold day).
Here’s an entirely spoiler free but very full account of the recording (spoiler free, that is, unless a blooper CD is going to be released…) Under the cut, therefore, are ‘funny things that happened or went a bit wrong without revealing any details of the contents of the episodes.’
- David Tyler: I presume everyone got their tickets online? It’s really the fairest way, but it does assume that everyone’s online and everyone’s got broadband. The BBC’s quite sensitive about these things, so if that is a problem for you and it does annoy you, do drop us an e-mail at ‘I’firstname.lastname@example.org’
- DT: It was a lottery to get in, and I heard that 17,000 people applied for tickets. And that everyone who didn’t get in got a consolation prize of £10,000, so really you’re the ones that lost out
- Before the show started, David told a story about Richard Griffiths threatening to sit on someone’s head if they didn’t turn their mobile phone off in the theatre. Was wondering who was going to sit on our heads if our mobiles went off…
- DT: The emergency exits are here, here and here though no oxygen will drop from the ceiling
- JF: Before we start, I just want to say how grateful these guys are to me for keeping me in work. Honestly, you have no idea, the begging phone calls I’ve received. ‘Just anything, just to keep body and soul together, John’. When this show started, Stephanie was living in a huge farm with Martin Clunes, and now she’s had to retire to a cobbled street up north somewhere. Roger’s barely got six television shows to rub together. God knows what Benedict does between series. Is it mainly stunt work, Ben? Falling off roofs. So, yeah, they’re terribly grateful to be here
- At one point in the first scene a very strange and unexpected sound was supplied for an action, at which point Cumberbatch cracked up, Allam muffled giggles with his script and the audience laughter fed itself
- Dear Mr Finnemore couldn’t manage his first line of the show- his cry of ‘it’s only my first line!’ got him a round of applause, and Cumberbatch put in ‘but not his first drink.’ Finnemore responded by replying in a drunken slurr: ‘I can do it, I can do it this time’
- Stephanie Cole and Roger Allam did a little dance for microphone space, each of them trying to get out of the way of the other only to end up heading in the same direction. John Finnemore piped up with ‘a dance as old as time’
- Allam took 4 goes to say the word ‘biggest’ over the course of the day, but he would always take the line from where he lost the word, making him the only actor who didn’t interrupt the flow of the recording in order to redo a line
- BC: *Meant to be saying GERT-I’s call sign* Rolf… Rolf? Rolf?
Allam: *Rolf Harris voice* do you know what it is yet?
*Much laughter and applause from the audience*
RA: It’s the Tourette’s again, give her a few
- Cumberbatch seems convinced that he works for ‘MGN’ air
- While Stephanie Cole and Cumberbatch tried to decide where to go from with a line, Allam rumbled ‘all the time in the world…’
- David Tyler: ‘Just a few re-takes that won’t take too long… let’s start from page 1’
- The sound effects for a landing came in in at the wrong time, making it seem like GERT-I just sort of fell out of the sky mid-Douglas speech, at which point Allam pretended to be fighting with the plane and David Tyler addressed ‘John, not that John, John in the little box’ who’s in charge of the sounds. John Finnemore added ‘he’s my nemesis, John in the little box, tells me to do awful things.’ Just as Allam was going to sit down, John in the little box played the take off sound. David Tyler noted that he’s ‘getting a bit frisky in there’ and Allam stated that the plane was ‘reversing back up again’
- The audience laughed too much, so they had to do a few lines again but John informed us that we were ‘still allowed to laugh a bit’
- JF: A big old slab of exposition there, enjoy that
RA: Thank you. Did you write it ‘specially?
- DT: Shall we have another go with the [section that’s a bit of a tongue twister to say]
JF: Yes, let’s. Will you go first or shall I?
DT: well, if you get it right I won’t bother
- David Tyler: *after an Allam and Cumberbatch scene* it’s no golf match in period costume, but it’s bloody impressive all the same
- JF: *Re-writes a bit on stage* writing right now!
RA: You can all say ‘I was there’
- JF: *Has to do a tricky re-take*
RA: Good luck with that…
JF: Thank you, you’re a tower of strength
BC: Hang on, I’ll just film it
- DT: We have actually set up a live video relay on what I’m calling ‘Finnemore Hill’
- JF: ‘I need to keep this quick because the authorities are keen to get Benedict out of the country’
- Cumberbatch can’t say the name of the episode, attempts several different versions
- Lots of Allam giggling into his script
- DT: Can we go from the top?
JF: Why not? It’s not like anyone has to rush or anything
RA: We could go from the top of the previous episode
- John kept saying ‘fight plan’ instead of ‘flight plan’
- It got to a stage where Allam didn’t even need to say anything for the audience to laugh and applaud- it was obvious what was coming up and, as expected, it was brilliant
- Benedict took several goes to say the names at the end of the second episode and ran around a bit, flustered and swearing. John Finnemore informed him that ‘it’s alright. I’ve heard Japan’s rubbish, anyway’
- Roger Allam has very big hands. He has to be very carefully with his script so as to turn the pages without them rustling, and when at one point he started texting on his iPhone it was less the ‘softly softly’ approach and more the ‘stabby stabby’ one
- Hugs all ‘round when Cumberbatch left and then David Tyler said ‘thought he’d never go…’
- Stephanie Cole said that a line was ‘weak’, causing John to pretend to cry and Allam to pull him close so that his legs tucked up on the chair beside him, cuddled him and kissed the top of his head; she then tried to explain that she meant the way of putting it was weak, but Allam told her that it was ‘too late for that, now. We know what you meant.’ And Finnemore mock cried ‘horrible lady’. The whole thing was just so sweet!