This week I managed to obtain tickets to see the BBC’s filming of an episode of Room 101, in which host Frank Skinner and three panelists debate whether to banish life’s irritations into the mythical room, to be banished from blighting our daily lives for ever more.
In this series, as well as adopting a new format, they also decided to ask audience members prior to the day of filming if they had anything that they would like to exile into Room 101. I thought you’d never ask! Within, quite literally, seconds I had sent a link to my rant about mediaspeak, with a message saying that I would like to forever eliminate office jargon; so-called buzz words or phrases.
A few days later I received a call from one of the production team. He said that they liked the writing style of my blog (Oh shucks, stop it you!) and would like me to feature in the show. Finally I get the recognition I deserve…
On the day of filming I waltzed past the long line of hopeful audience members with a work colleague, proudly saying that my name was on their list. “Oh, are you Stewart…” Yes. “Cool.” That’s me, Stewart Cool, V.I.P.
We were shown to the studio and managed to take a surreptitious shot of the empty set as I took my seat. I say my seat as my name was actually on it! And I said the photograph was surreptitious, but someone did actually notice and say loudly: “No photographs in the studio!”
I was given a waiver to sign away any rights I thought I may have and before long the rest of the audience began to file in. The riffraff. The show was very amusing and went without any hitches for the first 1 hour 15 minutes Then I noticed a lady standing next to me holding a microphone on a long pole. And a camera was pointing towards me – my big moment was about to come!
Trying desperately to control my nerves I glanced at the bullet points that I had written on a business card that I was holding out of view of the lens. When Frank asked me to state my case I calmly made my points. Disconcertingly, I could hear a slight delay in speaking the words and hearing the sound through the speakers. And I nearly interrupted the panelists on two occasions before realising that I should just shut up until spoken to! Not my fault, I’ve no experience of studio etiquette…
Overall I think it went well. Frank and his guests managed to make a few quips from my comments. I didn’t really get much of a laugh myself. Difficult crowd. Maybe I should be a straight man.
Unbelievably Frank decided not to put office jargon into Room 101. He said that it was the “evolution of language”. I think he’d made his mind up before asking me! If he worked in an office and had to constantly put up with people ‘reaching out’ and touching my base, then I’m sure he wouldn’t think that such terms were advancing the English language in any way; rather they were limiting effective communication with their lack of sincerity, cheesyness and nonsensical nature.
Anyone who lives in the UK can judge for themselves… in January when the show is broadcast.