Little did I realise just over a year ago, when I received an innocuous email from a TV production company called KnickerbockergloryTV, what an amazing affect it would have on my life, and what an adventure I was about to embark on!
It simply said, “We’ve seen your YouTube videos and we think you’ll be a perfect character in a new TV show we’re putting together, if you’re interested get in touch?”
Now, at first I didn’t take it seriously at all, as I just thought it was probably a “spam” email, but as the week wore on, I kept going back to it on my PC, as I hadn’t deleted it.
So in the end I thought, “What the heck, I’ve got nothing to lose!”, so decided to give them a call. I had a chat with an interesting guy named Alastair, who told me it wasn’t a hoax and was definitely for real, then went on to describe the premise of the show. It was to be a new genre of “reality” TV using real life people playing themselves – all totally unscripted, all being put into different scenarios and all, apparently, living in Boom Town as residents.
I was then asked to pop along for an interview – which I didn’t realise at the time was also doubling up as an audition. Whilst chatting to Alastair in the room, I was then asked if I minded if a lady called Hannah could film me, and to demonstrate my presentation skills ad hoc!
It was a fun – although surreal – experience, and I was thanked for my time and told that, if the BBC liked me, they would use me in the show. I expected to hear nothing else, and just put it down to experience and a bit of fun, so imagine my surprise a few days later when it was confirmed that I would be in the show!
It all then became a bit of a whirlwind!
I was sent various scenarios – working in a kitchen, being in the park, public toilets, out and about – and asked if I could create words and actions to “act out” these situations, so all the words and actions you see and hear in the show are all my own…genius that I am!
We spent about four days in total shooting my scenes, and I have to say, being in front of the cameras with lighting, producers, film crew etc, was an incredible buzz, and incredibly exhilarating!
I never seemed to feel nervous, and the crew were absolutely fabulous to work with, and very supportive.
During this entire period, I never met any of my co-stars in the show, so I can only presume that everyone went through a similar process. Obviously, we were all filmed separately, and Boom Town was created in the editing suite – and creative genius mind of Jonathan, the executive producer – who, again, I didn’t meet until about six months later when he showed me a private viewing of the first episode to go out, as he did with all other cast members.
I never understood, and still don’t if I’m being honest, why we were never introduced to each other throughout this entire period.
After the screening, I was then privately briefed on what I could expect to happen over the ensuing months and while the show was on air – which wasn’t going to be for another six months or so.
So I waited with mounting excitement as the day for broadcasting finally appeared – and also by then had made contact on social media with most of my other cast members, who were all equally excited – so the two or three weeks before airtime, I got to know most of them reasonably well through various messages etc, which was great fun and, again, a little surreal.
So the show airs on BBC3, and for six weeks I see myself on national television and Twitter is going crazy every single week, not to mention we are picking up a fabulous “cult “ following which is very exciting!
It’s only when the series finishes that one of the “team” decides to arrange an end of series party in Henrys Bar in Piccadilly Circus, and we all finally get to meet…well, most of us, anyway.
The week is wittering away, and I wait with mounting excitement as Saturday night comes around. I decide to take my immediate family along for the event – my son, daughter, sister and Niece, as they were – and are – my “biggest fans”, not just of me on TV but me in “real life”.
We arrive at Henrys Bar, and my excitement grows as there, standing outside, is Joel Hazeldene (the “trainspotter” and absolutely one of my favourite characters!) We hug and greet each other, and pose for a few photographs. I introduce him to my family and he introduces his to me – beautiful!
A few minutes later, along comes “self styled rapper” Cream – without his Mum strangely enough (perhaps he hadn’t paid this months rent!) We greet, we hug, we exchange a few profanities and vulgarities (just like you do with badass rappers!).
Then up turns Pablo (the Romantic), who is looking very smart, and being as lovely and polite as his on-screen image suggests – he even had a large bunch of 12 red roses for a lucky lady that evening!
Then, a vision of loveliness as Talina (the temptress) arrives, looking absolutely ravishing – kissing, greeting and cuddling her was no problem, believe me!
Next, in the hugest, most stretched limo you’ve ever seen (although it dropped him further up the street and on the wrong side of the road) came Al “Bubz” Jones (the care worker), one of the nicest most grounded men you could ever wish to meet! We overhugged, as you do, and everyone introduced everyone else’s family.
Then, slipping in almost unseen, came Louis Webb (the stripper), who is even more pretty in real life, it has to be said…sickening!
We then all proceed to pose for professional pictures – courtesy of the charming Stephen Tiernan – then all fall into a pattern of breaking up into groups and discussing our roles in the show, and our experiences thereof.
We all agreed it was a fabulous experience, and we all enjoyed our seeming “15 minutes of fame”, and one we would gladly repeat if it came around again.
Meeting everyone and their families and friends for real was a truly memorable experience, and being involved with them – and Boom Town – is indelibly marked into my brain forever!