Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Rob Brydon Show

I've never seen a TV programme being recorded before so this was too good an opportunity to miss. The recording was down at Teddington studios near to London where many classic series were recorded in Studio 1 including; all the Tommy Cooper shows, Beny Hill and Morecambe and Wise. Unfortunately there was a complete ban on any photography so the images used heres are taken from Google Images. The entrance to Teddington studios with ariel view.   Once all the audience was safely settled we had a 'warm up man' 'Steve Royle' to get everybody in a happy excited state . Actually he was quite funny and we also had some juggling. Then Rob Brydon came out and introduced himself and treated us to his legendary 'Ronnie Corbett' impression as well as 'Small man in a box'.
First guest of the night on the sofa was none other than the one and only music royalty himself Tom Jones. Cue rapturous applause and appreciation. The chat started off about his recent victory as 'coach' on the BBC Series 'The Voice'. Can't say I ever watched it in all honesty. Lots of chat about his music career and his influences such as Elvis, and other Blues and R&B acts. We were treated to a rare rendition of the old Elvis song 'Mess of the Blues' with Tom playing acoustic guitar and Rob providing backing vocals. I have to say the interview was hilarious and i'm sure a lot will have to be cut before the show is broadcast. Apart from the time aspect there were a few things Tom regretted saying in public I think!
Next guest out on the sofa was Emilia Fox who stars as Pathologist 'Dr Nikki Alexander' in the BBC series 'Silent Witness. I actually like that programme although she was a bit bland to be fair and didn't add a deal to the chat show.
Last up was Naturalist and TV Presenter 'Steve Backshall'. He was good value and told some good yarns of his experiences in the wild. In his TV series 'Deadly 60' he travels the world in search of predators that are, "Not just deadly to me, but deadly in their own world". He has dived with Great White, bull, Great Hammerhead and tiger sharks, caught king cobras, black mambas and lanceheads, had a redback spider on his hand and was bitten on screen by a caiman. It was a really great night and a great insight into what goes on to make a show. It will be intersting to see just how the show is edited when screened at the end of August this year.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Isle of Wight - The Needles

A sunny and humid start so I headed for the beach at Sandown for a picture before catching the bus to Newport. Newport is the County Town on the IOW and has a population of 23,957 give or take a few since the last census in 2001. The IOW Music Festival has just finished in Seaclose Park Newport with the likes of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen headlining. Newport is also home to three prison sites including the notorious 'Parkhurst Prison'which has housed some of the biggest names in British criminal history. These include; 'Yorkshire Ripper' Peter Sutcliffe, 'Moors Murderer' Ian Brady, The Richardson brothers and the Kray twins. I had a 'short' wait at Newport literally before catching the next bus to Alum Bay. It was so humid I mad a detour to Marks and Spencer and purchased some bright blue shorts to change into. There were not the most stylish or fashionable but they served a purpose. In fact I did an amazing top deck 'quick change' on a busy number 7 bus that Houdini would have been proud of. Either the fellow passengers were too embarassed or too polite to say anything?
Alum Bay is a bay near the westernmost point of the IOW and judging by the number of coaches something of a tourist attraction. Away from the; glass blowing, sweet factory and crazy golf there is geological interest and the Bay is noted for its multicloured sand cliffs. Alum Bay is the location of a classic sequence of Eocene beds of soft sands and clays, separated by an unconformity from the underlying chalk formations. Basically layers upon layers or strata built up over millions of years or so i'm told.
It was a steep walk up the coastal path to view 'The Needles' although an open top bus does operate in the Spring and Summer. In fact with the mist rolling in and the chilly air I almost had to change back out of the newly aquired shorts but decided to brave it out having spent £10 earlier on them. The rocks and lighthouse have become icons of the IOW and known worlw wide. However, the main tourist attractions of the headland itself are the two gun batteries, the experimental rocket testing station, and the four coastguard cottages. I was really surprised just how much there was to see.
The Needles also has strong military links with a 'Battery' built in 1861–63 to guard the West end of the Solent to defend against enemy ships. The 9 inch guns took a team of 9 men to load and fire. These guns fired projectiles weighing 256 pounds (116 kg). Early searchlight experiments were conducted at the site between 1889 and 1892. The present observation post housing a searchlight was built in 1899.
As if that wasn't enough ! The site was employed in the testing of rockets for the ICBM program. Tests took place from 1956–71 for the 'Black Kight' and 'Black Arrow' rocket engines with 240 people working there at it's peak. These rockets were later used to launch the 'Prospero X-3 Satellite. It was great to be able to walk around the underground rocket testing rooms which are free to the public.
The Needles Lighthouse stands at the end of the rock formation. Built in 1859, it has been automated since 1994. Previously 3 men worked on there at any time doing shifts of 2 months on and then a month off. The lighthouse was built in 1859 by Trinity House. Constructed from granite it stands 33.25 meteres high and cost £20,000 to build. In 1987 a helipad was added to the top of the lighthouse, and it became fully automated when the last keepers left on 8 December 1994.