Coco Blooms were in the audience at the Jonathan Ross Christmas Show 2018 recording in Television Centre, London on Nov 20th.
Coco Blooms’ partners Ray and Natalie Williams were lucky to receive two tickets for the Jonathon Ross Christmas 2018 recording at the legendary ex BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane, London on November 20th.
It was an interesting experience to watch the recording of this legendary chat show that pulls in about 3.9M viewers for each show.
The most intriguing part of being in the audience of course was trying to find out who the guests were. Normally Jonathon Ross invites A Class celebs and top musical artists and the anticipation of who was on the show was high. The studio 'warm up man' (gives advice, instructions and a few jokes thrown in) and the production team kept quiet about who was on and it was only when Jonathan announced live “shall we see who is in the green room?” did any of us in the audience find out who were the guests.
After queuing for about 45 minutes in the cold outside Television Centre,White City, London it wasn’t long until our tickets were checked, our priority wristbands issued that we went straight into Studio 1 (decorated beautifully for Christmas!) which is one of the largest and oldest studios on the site. Thankfully from a nostalgic view the studio was saved from the major overhaul of the site since the BBC sold it in 2013.
We were permitted to take a couple of quick photo's before the camera embargo - 15 minutes before recording.
We were ushered to our seats in the 600 capacity audience which runs down one side of the large fully refurbished rectangular studio. It was interesting to think back of fond childhood memories of some of the classic BBC shows that had been filmed in the studio that included Morecambe & Wise Christmas Shows, The Generation Game from the 70’s and Blue Peter. But more recently Strictly and Children In Need.
The set itself looked particularly small compared to when viewing on TV – Jonathan’s desk wasn’t that long neither was the sofa.
About 5 minutes before the floor manager gave the signal we were close to starting the show, the ‘warm-up man’ gave some general instructions to clap and cheer on the opening titles and when Jonathan and guests came out. He also told us to laugh at jokes, comments and what images appear on the large LCD screens (to the left side of the set, on set and above our heads into the studio lights).
Then the lights dimmed and the anticipation of the show ahead was high as the opening titles rolled on the LCD screens and then 20 seconds or so later the floor manager did a “clapping sign” above his head with his hands and the audience stood up, cheered and clapped as Jonathan in a smart dinner velour dinner jacket and bow tie (it’s a Christmas Special Show after all) made his appearance out of the set entrance onto the stage.
We had fortunately a good view being about 8 rows back (we saw over the cameras)and in the middle section so looking straight at the entrance where the guests come to the stage from the green room.
But first Jonathon (similar to Graham Norton) referred to some picture jokes on the LCD screens, which were quite funny to be honest. Including a Polar
Bear display at a Christmas shopping centre which looked a little suggestive from a certain angle!
A single “Welcome to the show” take from the autocue, Jonathan then looked to the audience and asked “Shall we see who our guests are in the green room?” The excitement was high, surely A Class celebrities including a famous American actor, famous comedian??
The following guests and someone else we had never heard of and can’t remember his name – sorry (he was quite funny though”.
Actress Gillian Anderson
Actor Rob Lowe
2018 Bake Off Winner Rahul Mandal
Actress and Singer Sheridan Smith
So there we have it. No mention of the musical guest and the music stage to the right simply had about 20 microphones on it which suggested a choir (we were hoping to see instruments there).
So, at this point we were a bit deflated over the guests. Gillian Anderson apart we weren’t that familiar with the others. It was particularly disappointing because recent shows have had really top guests including Kylie, Spice Girls, David Beckham and Michael Caine.
Anyway, unlike regular shows all the guests came out at the same time and sat on the sofa together.
Interestingly enough the “green room” is to the far right of the studio (behind a set wall - you can’t see it or in it) and it takes about 20 seconds for the guests to walk up to the main stage and set.
The chat commences
After all the guests had sat down and Jonathan welcomes them he glances at his cards and then starts some general chat about “what they are doing for Christmas”.
What is interesting at this point is that it’s a little strange watching this chat from behind the cameras as you feel quite distant from the conversation compared to on TV where the editing cuts close up to everyone. However on each of the LCD screens the audience can see camera feeds and follow pretty much as if watching an edited show. But cleary we were more interested in watching it live.
Jonathan keeps the chat going although stops to start again sometimes on a question and sometimes swore to which he turned to the audience saying ”Don’t worry we edit this quite a bit” and it’s only after 3 hours of the show that you come to the conclusion he’s right – the show is heavily edited down to about 40mins.
The principle of the recording is to get plenty of material and chat to make a show. This means that after about 20 mins we both felt the show was a little boring. The chat was laboured and Jonathan spent a lot more time discussing one topic than he does on the tv but he was being directed in his ear to “keep going” or “move on”. The other point to make which is normal with recorded tv the actual volume from the microphones is relatively low.
There was baking/cooking element by way of each guest had been asked to make a chocolate log (not live on the show) and this was discussed along with the merits of each and who made which one. We found this topic a bit dull and indeed Jonathan said after completing content for this “they (Director’s/Producers) are not sure if that will stay in”. This also confirmed that the producers record various topics on the show but edit out those they don’t want.
In between chat topics which lasted about 15 – 20 mins each the show stopped for a break with Jonathan saying to camera “Join us after the break…” etc.
During this 10 minute break the audience can nip out to the loo, stand and stretch and we found it interesting watching the stage with everyone having their make-up retouched and chatting between themselves. The floor manager was there with headphones on and a mic, talking to Jonathan briefing him on the next part. Jonathan was chatting with some of the guests and flicking through his question cards with them and generally I think tipping them off what he was going to discuss.
Actor Rob Lowe shared a great Christmas tip during the chat about Christmas when he shared that to help keep a real Christmas fresh instead of ordinary water in a bowl for the root, use “Schweppes Tonic Water” or any other fizzy tonic water to help keep the tree fresh. We’ve never heard of this but we’ll give it a go!
Rahul Mandal from bake-off was very nice and down to earth and had the audience in stitches sometimes. Sheridan Smith had a soft spot for him and was really sweet in helping him on the show.
There were some particularly funny parts of the show – particularly the adult advent calendars including one he had from “Shades of grey”…which was quite amusing and embarassing at the same time! You can imagine what was behind each window! Gillian Anderson had a nice personal (naughty) gift from opening Christmas Eve....
At the end of the final part of the show I think most of the audience were looking forward to the game of “Pieface” which is a traditional game of cream put on a wind-up hand toy that flicks forward to put the “pie” in your face. All guests stood up (Gillian Anderson is particularly petite and very attractive…I can understand why she has many male fans) and played the game. It took ages to finish and I’m sure this will be edited quite a bit.
The winner was Rob Lowe.
Musical guest – John Legend (except he wasn’t there!)
During the third break of filming, Jonathan said to the audience from the front that the musical guest would be John Legend however unfortunately wasn’t in the studio.
Indeed Jonathan did go on to introduce John Legend which got applause and cheer only for him to then sit down and we all watched the LCD screens as John sung a Christmas classic on the piano.
Then we all had to clap and cheer after the performance so this can be recorded, but it was particularly amusing that we had to do a retake of that as the guests were clapping but not looking towards the stage where John was supposed to have performed. Of course the stage was empty so we were all cheering and clapping an empty stage!
After the game a large London gospel choir came to the stage but not dressed in gospel gowns and sang the Burt Bacharach’s classic “Say a little prayer” which was excellent.
Jonathan chatted a little more before after 3 hours he brought the show to an end. He had to retake the ending once but by now we all had enjoyed the show but were ready for it to end.
When the cameras stopped rolling. Jonathan stood up, drank some water from his bottle by his desk and chatted to the guests and some staff on stage for a few minutes whilst their microphone packs were removed.
The guests then waved to the audience and then headed backstage. Jonathan stepped forward thanked the audience for coming wished us all a Happy Christmas and then said he was going to join the guests for an after show party – he waved and left the stage.
The house lights came up and then we were ushered down from our seats and walked through the studio and out, passing near the green room where you could hear laughing and talking so it seemed like they were having fun!
All in all, Jonathan Ross is true professional and is excellent at what he does. The show went smoothly and despite us thinking at times the chat was too long at times we enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to watching the edited version on ITV this Christmas.
Ticket applications can be made via SRO Audiences www.sroaudiences.com