I'm off to Birmingham. It's all glamour, glamour, glamour with me.
Stand back because Lone's in a Crush Mood
16 hours ago
It was chaired by Peter Fincham, now Controller of BBC1, but back then the Exec Producer of GW1 (and inspiration for the in-joke "the cute Chinese nurse from Fincham Ward"??)
Victoria Pile was there, being absurdly self-deprecating, as only true geniuses can be, giving credit for everything to either the writers, actors or Caroline Leddy the C4 commissioner, who was also on the stage. Obviously, all those people were crucial but it became clear that without the strength of Victoria's vision and her ability to edit and stitch together the vast amounts of material generated by the large writing team and actors chosen for their ability to improvise it could easily have drowned in its own creativity. In all this she clearly relies on Rob Harley as her chief team mate (he was there too).
Michelle Gomez and Steve Mangan were billed to appear, but in fact Julian (Rhind-Tutt) replaced Steve at the last minute, which was both a treat and a disappointment. Everyone gave Steve credit for being the King of Improv so I'd have loved to see him talk. Julian said he had only got the part because he was the only actor auditioned who could get more then 3 words in with Steve.
They talked about the balance between 'narrative' scenes (eg Joanna telling Statham she might be pregnant) and 'sketch' scenes (eg Joanna and Sue competing on their breast adjustments in the loo). Compared to the sketch scenes of 'Smack The Pony' they said how much richer the sketches were because the protagonists already had a depth of character that coloured the scene.
Also lots of debate about script vs improv. Victoria was very firm about the fact that in the end everything is taken back to a properly written script and the only unrehearsed bits we might ever see are at the end of scenes where they leave the cameras running. Julian described the relationship between actors' improv and writers as a process of osmosis; a mutual exchange ... of fluids??
They showed the original drawings they had done for each character before it was cast, and apparently every character had a 6 page biog before the actors came along and added to it.
Michelle said everyone got on brilliantly and that they were like a big family and that it was the most enjoyable work experience she had had.
They showed a couple of clips from the next series and we all laughed and applauded like mad. I won't spoil it for you but they were great.
Had a chat afterwards with everyone, and you should know how very much they appreciate their loyal and passionate online fanbase. That's us lot. I took a couple of pics, but I didn't want to look like a total t*t by standing up, so they are mainly of backs of heads.