Saturday, 8 August 2015

A hectic trip to Glasgow; filming BBC Quiz Show Eggheads

For those avid readers of this blog, you may have spotted that I've had my fingers crossed for a top secret project in Glasgow to go ahead. Well eventually the news that we were waiting for arrived! It was happening! We were all set, our trains were booked and less than a week after that fateful phone call, a team of fellow alopecians and I filmed the BBC Quiz Show Eggheads! Yes really!

Five other lovely ladies and I travelled up to Glasgow on August 7th to face the Eggheads team on National TV; needless to say we were all scared about what could happen. It started (for me at least) with a six and a half hour train journey as apparently all the episodes are filmed in Glasgow - not that you'd know it! After a very late night arrival and a mix up with the bedrooms at the hotel, we slept, and just five hours later we were in the taxi destined for the studio for a very early 7am start!

Something you may or may not know about filming a programme is the complexities of your outfit. From washing you out, to strobing on screen, there are a whole host of outfits that you can't wear on TV. Trust me, two pages of clothing 'rules' later and my required four outfits had morphed into ten in a rather large suitcase. You think I am joking, but only two things in my entire wardrobe are unpatterned, bright, not strappy, didn't have stripes, aren't dark and aren't floaty or lacy. Instead, I had to take ten 'nearly right' outfits for them to choose from, just in case!

Thankfully, after we arrived, the wardrobe team found an outfit they liked and I was able to go on set fully clothed! We had our make-up done too, which was a blessing at that time of the morning, not to mention the fact that my make-up artist created perhaps the most perfect set of eyebrows I've ever had, even before they fell out! Kudos!

Sporting perfect eyebrows before appearing on Eggheads
Once we were ready, we were guided to the studio to film as the first team of the day and seated in our team 'order'. This is where we would sit for the whole show and at this point we were all experiencing elation, nerves, a mildly sick feeling, masses of excitement and a million things besides. It felt like we'd done it - we'd made it to the show after a mammoth amount of organisation and somehow that felt like the hard bit was over. At least at that very second it did. Then... in walked Jeremy Vine and our five challenger eggheads and we realised, nope, the hard bit was still to come!

We competed under the team name ‘A Clearer Head’, although perhaps we should have called ourselves ‘The Real Eggheads’, and our main reason for going on the show was to help raise awareness of alopecia. You can't deny a team of mad, excitable, bald women on National TV is certainly going to make a splash. 

Just before filming - getting ready to take on the Eggheads

Feeling important! 
My badge - never thought I'd have one of these...
I was surprised by how much time goes into filming a 30 minute episode. It takes a long time (about four hours) and even then we went over schedule because we chatted so much! It astonished us how many people there were on set who all had jobs to do; there was even a lady from wardrobe with the title ‘Badge Straightener’ just to ensure our name badges were level on screen! Anyway, as usual, I digress and I'm sure you're dying to know what happened and how much we were playing for!

Before we got to filming, we of course did some research and discovered that as of February 2015, the Eggheads had only been defeated 122 times out of 1359 attempts; this thought didn’t fill us with much confidence, but still, awareness was key and it was still worth a shot! Even better if we could win some money for Alopecia UK - fingers crossed, but we didn't hold out much hope!

At this stage, I am not allowed to tell you either how much we played for (it will give away whether other teams win or not) and nor am I allowed to tell you if we won for the same reason - #SpoilerAlert'! Needless to say though we left with a feeling of Mission Accomplished with an episode in the bag putting Alopecia front and centre on National TV. What's more, it was great to meet the team - Jeremy Vine is totally awesome, really intelligent and interesting. The eggheads aren't half bad either and despite a cool, superior facade on TV, they are actually bubbly, friendly and welcoming! A delight!

There is nothing much more I can say. We don't yet know when the episode will air, but as soon as we do, I'll of course let everyone know! 

One more thing worth a mention before I sign off this post. Just before the train, and to finish off our long day (at lunchtime) we went to a fish and chip shop where we met an alien. Spotting a fellow 'baldie' was the icing on the cake and I couldn't resist taking this photo - possibly my favourite! Who would have thought we’d spot an alien in a fish and chip show in Glasgow?

My new friend... I shall call him Bald Bill
I think it’s safe to say all of the girls and I were awed by how fantastic everyone was and we would definitely re-live the experience if we had the chance. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the whole cast and crew of Eggheads, from the makeup artists who made us feel very glamorous to the actual team, for being very hospitable and making us feel so welcome. A mention must also go to the show producers 12 Yard Productions for helping make it all happen! We all had an absolute blast!

In the meantime, you can keep your fingers crossed we won and I'll keep you posted when you'll be able to spot the episode...! 

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

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