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Helping out Pudsey

November 12, 2008

Proudly worn, originally uploaded by Thoroughly Good.

I have a spring in my step at the moment. Not only have I finally managed to get into work on time on three consecutive days (something of a rariety for me) but I’ve cracked on with a recently self-appointed task.

Progress has been slow but sure. There’s been a lot of mouse clicks, tutting, puffing and moaning on my part, not to mention innumerable windows alerts ringing in my headphones whenever I click on the wrong thing.

Even so, I am sniffing the very real smell of nearby smug self-satisfaction. The task is nearing completion. I feel like awarding myself my very own certificate, framing it and attaching it to my desk divider. Although, on second thoughts, it’s probably “cooler” to dream about Friday evening instead.

Friday evening, you see, sees quite an exciting event for me. I was reminded about it when I received an email from a colleague inviting me to a meeting to discuss the “Children in Need Backstage Photography Schedule”.

It’s a simple and relatively uninspiring task – certainly not one you’d immediately imagine would inspire a blog posting. Me and a bunch of similarly helpful and charming volunteers will be documenting backstage goings on at this year’s Children in Need fundraiser. I’m told that the good shots will appear on the website. I advise you here and now that I’m doing this for charidee.

It’s not, as you might be thinking, the opportunity to meet celebrities. Whilst there will be a number around – although at present noone’s telling me who exactly as everything’s strictly embargoed – I always find myself over-compensating when I see them. Treat them normally, I reassure myself. They’re not that special. It’s not like they’re gods or anything. They’re just human beings who, when prodded, will turn to the camera, plaster on a smile and wait for the shutter to clunk open and shut.

What gives me the buzz is the prospect of hanging around a live television event. There’s something inexplicably exciting about being present in and around

the vicinity of something occuring in a studio. The opportunity to witness people running around in an organised panic, with earphones clamped to their ears,walky-talkies hanging out of their back-pocket is something too good to miss.

And then there’s Television Centre on a Friday night. The audience arrives, queuing up in the chilly air on Wood Lane. You start recognising people whose names are a complete mystery. There’s an urgency in the air. Areas of the building previously accessible by anyone with a pass are unexpectedly roped off.

Portable TV lights are set up in weird and seemingly unnattractive places. In short, Television Centre and its environs is turned into one massive TV set.

There’s a buzz about the place in all its weird, grey iconic sixties-designed madness. It’s the place to be to feel a part of things during a live event. It is perhaps the time and place when the BBC truly comes alive, when it’s raison d’etre becomes obvious to even the most hard-hearted individual.

“Helping out” at Children in Need is something of a perk working for the BBC. For most people I suspect that White City is the last place they’d want to be late on a Friday night. I’m rather looking forward to it myself. I shall wear my Team Pudsey t-shirt with pride, even if I will end up blending seamlessly into the background amongst the hoards of other people decked out the same. I do hope the kiddies appreciate it.

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