My last post was a slightly maudlin affair, as I mourned the passing of the BBC Television Centre. I still mourn the loss of BBC TV Centre, but I have got over it, because TV continues to be filmed in London, including my favourite, favourite TV programme, Pointless.
What is Pointless? It is a daytime TV quiz show, which is all too easy to miss if you are in full-time employment. Happily I caught an episode one wet Bank Holiday Monday afternoon. “What is happening on BBC1?” I tweeted. A kindly soul replied that it was Pointless, which is like Family Fortunes, but instead of rewarding obvious answers, it rewards people for getting obscure, difficult ones. This gives the whole thing a sense of strategy and cunning which I like. All this would be as nought without the hosts Alexander Armstrong and his Pointless friend Richard Osman. Somehow they genuinely seem to care about each and every contestant they have on, which must be very difficult to do given their odd hairstyles and boring jobs and determination to invest any winnings into a holiday. I like Pointless so much that my boss once offered to get me Pointless merchandise if I could consistently overcome my main development need. I was very grateful for the thought, but had to say that if there was anymore Pointless merchandise than the book and the board-game, I probably ought not to have it. My boss reluctantly agreed.
You can take it from this that my boss is a good egg. When my ship came in, and I got two free tickets to go and see Pointless on a day when I absolutely should have been in work, she felt that as I’d worked until o chuff o’clock on Friday night and the whole weekend, that she would cover for me for the very important thing indeed so I could watch Pointless being filmed. I spent the long journey to Elstree wittering about the thing I was missing, until Spouse finally cracked and said that I might as well not go at all if I was just going to bang on about the work thing I was missing. As ever, Spouse was right, and the wittering ground to a halt. Silently, we entered into the field of dreams, the Pointless studio, and I asked one of the team if there was any chance I could get my Pointless book signed by my Pointless heroes.
Reader, my heroes obliged. I even got to write them a short note, and it read as follows:
I held my breath as Xander read my note, and I think he smiled before signing his name and handing the book over to Pointless Richard. Spouse quietly ignored the signs forbidding any kind of photography in the Pointless studio (and doubtless I’ll be banned from ever going to another Pointless recording again, but never mind). Spouse quietly squeezed my hand as the book came back through a variety of runners and production assistants, fresh from the hands of the talent.
Now after all this excitement, the temptation was to go and wrap a cool towel around my head until I recovered. But I held firm in my seat and spent the next three hours watching Pointless being recorded. It was not just any Pointless, it was CELEBRITY Pointless. My eyes have gazed full on the face of Janet Ellis AND some bloke off the Archers. I have made appropriate oohing noises as the board goes down to reveal scores both high and low. They did not swear me to secrecy as they do in some show recordings, but I still shall not reveal why it was the longest recording in the show’s history (although if you see an episode of Pointless Celebrities with Janet Ellis in it advertised you should DEFINITELY tune in). I shall reveal that the pointless trophy is apparently really teeny-tiny. But I care not. I care that Xander and Richard were absolutely as funny and charming in real life as they are on the telly. I care that they took the time to entertain the audience when we were getting really cantankerous and bored during the gaps in the recording. I care that Richard Osman in particular interacts with his followers on twitter. And I care that it took me a full week to get the smile off my face after the recording.
Pointless is broadcast every weekday at 5:15 on BBC1, and you can download/ stream it from iPlayer too. Watching live is best because you can play along on twitter using the #pointless hashtag. But the download means that even on long runs and train journeys you can screech with frustration when someone says Andy MacNab wrote Sense and Sensibility. Did I mention I love Pointless? I really, really do.
You can sign up for Pointless screenings through: http://www.sroaudiences.com/