Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I don't normally make comments about TV shows*, especially ones where celebrities are pitted against each other to do something they wouldn't normally do but I am making an exception of Maestro.

This is the BBC's competition, among eight celebrities, to find a conductor for part of the Proms in the Park on the Last Night of the Proms. Each week the contestants conduct an orchestra, are awarded points by a panel of judges and the worst two are subjected to a vote in which the weakest conductor is kicked out. So far Peter Snow and David Soul have been evicted.

So, why am I writing about this?

Well, last night the remaining six conducted the orchestra and the BBC Symphony Chorus.I was there in my capacity as David's groupy. My friend Trish also came along and sat in the audience. I had a special production guest ticket and sat in a "box" but she had the better view of the proceedings. To make sense of the box reference, I should mention that the studio is laid out as a mock Royal Albert Hall with boxes around the stage where people sit. I had a curtain between me and most of the orchestra and all of the choir and a pillar between me and the conductors so I didn't see a great deal of the show but I figured it will be on television tonight in any case so I won't miss any of it.

I had a very good view of the judges (our box was right behind them) and could see behind the illusion, which is always interesting. The set is largely constructed of plywood, for instance, and there seemed to be lots of people who stayed out of shot purely by crouching down behind bits of the set, or in one case, behind the judges.

It was fascinating and great fun. I'm looking forward to watching it later to see the bits I missed and, more importantly, see if I can see myself. Hopefully, if I can, I will be looking appropriately attentive and not looking around the studio at the parts I wasn't supposed to be watching, like the members of the orchestra gathered just underneath where we were sitting or staring into the autocue, wondering why there were no words on it and then realising that I was actually staring right into one of the cameras.

* except Coronation Street, Eastenders, Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica, of course.

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