Tuesday, April 22, 2008


When our guest writer from the last BAFTA event offered to do it all over again for the television version, I said, "yes please." That was kind of too Mike Myers-ish wasn't it? I need to work on that. Enjoy the report.

The 2008 BAFTA Television Awards (aka 'Always bring a back-up dress')

Hello everyone! Two things before I get started-

1. I missed the red carpet and actual ceremony because of a serious dress malfunction. Here's the story with that:

The car that was going to take us to the awards ceremony had arrived downstairs. My husband an I made our way down to the main courtyard of the hotel, and I was feeling really good. I was wearing what was by far my favorite gown in the history of the world, which was no mean feat (if you have tried on formal wear with a small pregnancy bump and an ever-expanding rib cage). I had a little trouble getting into the thing, but I had certainly worn tighter gowns than this one. So we sashayed through the hotel lobby, to the waiting car, filled with the usual anticipation, excitement and nervousness. I got into my side and as soon as I sat down I felt the whole zipper go. I felt in the back, and yep, it had opened from the bottom and was stuck wide open, with my black Spanx exposed for the world to see. I panicked and felt what could be only described as a little bit of a throw-uppy taste in my mouth. Chaos ensued- first we got out of the car, and in front of everyone outside Paul attempted to move the zipper up and down, while I stood, then leaned over, then jumped up and down. We beat a hasty retreat to my room, where somehow I managed to get the dress off and surveyed the damage. Long story short, that damn zipper was broken and there was NO WAY we were going to make the red carpet and the ceremony. BAFTAs always happen on a Sunday and for those of you not familiar with England, the county shuts down after 4pm. No shops are open, so I couldn't run out and gt another dress. Yes, in London. But we knew we might still make the dinner and the afterparty, both of which were downstairs. After a few humiliating phone calls downstairs to cancel the car, and to ask for extra safety pins and thread, and the whole entire hotel staff knowing what was going on, I began the work of sewing like the wind. The blog must go on! My husband took a photo of the damage and the BAFTA tickets for any doubters out there.

I took about half an hour to figure out how the hell I was going to fix the dress, and then began the process. After about two hours of sewing the zipper up and then sewing my wrap into the back of the dress (the wrap was remarkably like the dress and I was sooo lucky I bought it, or the night would have been a write-off), and much of the trial-and-error process, I had an acceptable patch-up job. The only thing was that because the wrap was so long and floaty, when walking and going up and down stairs, I would have to jack-up both the front and back of the dress so that no one stood on the patch-up job and ruined the dress permanently.

Okay, so as I said the dinner and the after-party were at our hotel. So we went downstairs to the main cocktail bar, and our seat looked onto both the front pavement where everyone would be arriving from the ceremony, and also a glass door which on the other side was the press room where the winners stood for photos. Most of the view into the press room was restricted, but we did get to see Joanna Lumley looking radiant in an orange dress. She's so tall! I must admit as a psychotic fan of Ab Fab, I was extremely star struck. But I couldn't get to her- that glass door was locked. My husband and I decided to head down to the ballroom as people were now arriving.
We proceeded downstairs to the ballroom, which I have to say looked the best it has ever looked. Somehow they managed to get all 150+ tables on the main floor. The centrepieces were huge- vases with massive what looked like forsythia stems sticking out with magenta orchids hanging from the bows. It looked amazing, but the problem was you couldn't see across the vast majority of the tables to find who you might be looking for. I was looking for about 10 different people including commissioners but could barely see anything. Then the random bird and jungle sounds kicked in over the loud speakers. I grabbed my machete and had a walk around the parameter of the 'rain forest'- it was so crowded between the tables, and I was terrified someone was going to step on the back of my dress so I had to mind my Ps and Qs. But here's some of the stuff I saw in the main ballroom before/during/just after dinner (by the way dinner was duck and mashed potato in a square with green veggies and bread but no dinner plate. I don't eat duck, so I had this squash cooked whole with stuff in it). Anyway, here's what I saw:

Oh, before that, here's number 2 disclaimer: if you aren't interested in British television, you probably won't know who most/any of these people are. Just an advance warning.

Here goes:

The Top Gear guys (The Hampster and James May) flew by in a blur, obviously not wanting to speak with anyone at that moment - I decided next year I am going to stand by with a sharp pair of scissors open and ready because that is obviously the only way they are going to get those god-awful haircuts sorted out.

Paul Merton and wife first glancing down the stairs at the main ballroom floor then wandering around either looking for someone through the tropical maze or just having a wander. He's really tall and her dress was awful- complete with red feather boa I believe. I could be wrong about that. But the effect was the same- I kept expecting to see her slinking about on the grand piano in the other room, signing songs and trying to mentally seduce drunk businessmen.
The Gold Blend lady had a lovely brown dress on but everyone kept stepping on it, so she kept unexpectedly stopping in her tracks.

Kirsty Allsopp looked good. She has terrible dress sense at these events, but she looks like a 1950s pinup so I give her a wide berth on the style thing.

Like a pimple, Piers Morgan kept popping up everywhere. Ugh. Why is it that the one person who I wouldn't bother to cross the street to sh*t on was always in my line of vision? The whole night?! Damn you, Piers Morgan!
Some of the Apprentice contestants were there (including Trey who was dancing at the party later on, complete with jacket and tie off, and unbuttoned collar). I never saw the Suge (probably jetted off to have a late-night strategy meeting with the Queen, the Prime Minister, and Dubya) but his right-hand man Slugworth (he looks like Slugworth from Willy Wonka, so that's what I call him) partied all night- he does wear that pigsh*t-smelling expression all the time. By the end of the night he was sitting down with a lady, comparing business cards. I think that's foreplay for corporate types.

The genius that is Heston Blumenthal standing near his table with his production team joking around. If you don't know who he is, google him. He owns the Fat Duck, the highest rated restaurant in the world, and his approach to food is almost like chemistry. He does a show called In Search of Perfection, in which he finds out how to make the perfect pizza, or roast chicken, or cheeseburger, or whatever. Yum. Drool.

Dame Judi Dench came down the stairs and dropped something right in front of me. She is teeny tiny and her skin glows. Unfortunately I could not pick up the scarf (couldn't risk ripping the dress by bending down) and so she did it. It looked like she was wearing black velvet jammies. Then she went off with her entourage to find her table. My mother will kill me for not saying anything to her, but how do you start a conversation with Dame Judi Dench?

My husband met his goal of getting his photo taken with the legend and BAFTA Lifetime Achievement award winner Bruce Forsythe. Brucie Bonus (that's his nickname here) seemed pretty nice and did quite well at the party for an 80+ year old.
Tess Daly needs to get the hell over herself. She may have looked beautiful (especially if you like big sugar-spun satin dresses a la Barbie circa 1985), but she was swishing around annoying the hell out of me. She's not popular with production people- she once had a runner fired because they called her Tessa instead of Tess. She is a bit of a Tessa, that's for sure.

One of my ultimate geniuses and favorite comedy writer Graham Linehan (he wrote the IT Crowd, Father Ted and co-wrote the first series of Black Books) and his gorgeous wife were sitting a few tables away. I spoke to them last year- but they seemed deep in conversation so I left them to it. But I still basked in his genius as I walked by. Being in his proximity is always like the first day of warm sunshine in spring. Actually the IT Crowd table was a few tables away. I love the IT Crowd- it is one of the best comedies to emerge from Britain in years. But Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson were missing- at least I didn't see them during dinner. Meh.

Kelly Brook's ti*s are really quite nice- photos don't do her justice, and that's saying something. Her dress/stole combination was a bit silly though- she looked like she was dressed for one of those old fashioned gangster photoshoots you get at Six Flags. She can do sooo much better. She came stag- no Billy in tow.

Ross Kemp was nice as always, but you could see and feel the steam rising from his head about not being nominated for his show in Afghanistan. It should have been nominated- it totally kicked arse. He was defo nicer than last year and less in demand in terms of people talking to him.

At the after party:

Some of the Holby City lot were running around, but I was not about to encourage them with a smile or a congrats- that is one god awful show. And I am still annoyed about the scandal of Coronation Street not being nominated as best soap of the year.

Simon Amstell looked bemused at everyone and everything, complete with smirk, like he does all the time. During the party he was always chatting to people, but there were also others circling him who were internally debating whether they should chat with him. I couldn't say I blame them- Amstell is hilarious, but his tongue is visceral and his victims know no mercy.

Alan Carr (comedian, not the anti-smoking guy) was receiving well-wisher after well-wisher with good humour- at one point this man asked if his wife could take a photo with him- he says yes and she sits on his lap! You should have seen his face. That's the closest his d*ck has ever been to vag- I think I heard its muffled scream at one point.

Harry Hill looked quite pleased with himself after winning two awards that night. And he should. TV Burp has always been hilarious. But holy hell, my boy needs to eat something. His skin is grey, like a life-time vegan who doesn't sensibly combine proteins. He was very sweet, but I kept expecting him to keel over from hunger. I kept my arms out expecting to catch him at any point. This confused him.

The ever adorable and super nice David Mitchell (of Michell and Webb- google their sketches on Youtube) had been a few tables away during dinner, and stayed through the party. As always, he was super-sweet and cordial. He looked brilliant and very slim and very happy, despite not winning best actor. He was surrounded by friends, camped out in the most inconvenient place at the top of the stairs. You could see him getting progressively sozzled throughout the night (actually as I was in pregnant-sober mode I saw just about everyone go through this process). He nearly got crushed by the door at the top of the stairs at one point. Rob Webb was ecstatic all night. For Rob that means he cracked a few smiles. Usually at these things he looks very grumpy. Maybe he was happy because his comedy partner David didn't win? Dunno, he's always struck me that way- jealous.

Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet walked near the coat check completely immersed in a text message. He looked like he did NOT want to be approached. He does look good for his age, and the hair thickening products are obviously working a treat. But for the next hour after I saw him I had the song Gold running through my head. It was annoying.

James Cordin from Gavin and Stacey was lording it (that means he was smug and proud) over everyone with a shit-eating grin on his face. He wasn't the only one who looked shocked over his win for best comedy actor.

Steve Pemberton from The League of Gentlemen (if you haven't heard of it but love surreal comedy, please please please get your hands on the dvds)- having a good time, but he seemed not too enthusiastic about speaking with anyone he didn't know. I was torn- I love League and wanted a chat, and he plays my favourite character Pauline, but I am also an introvert and struggle speaking with people who I don't know. Generally.

Tamzin Outhwaite having a big-time preggers glow, carrying the baby very well (she seems to have a perfect big bump, but no weight anywhere else, bitch). But the gown was Miami rich old lady blue, and completely unsuitable for her tone of skin.

The Eastenders lot were all over the place- I never saw them as a collective. During the party, twin ginger mingers Max and Bradley off Eastenders (can't remember their real names) were scanning the place like they were on the pull. I couldn't decide who was who's wingman- too busy wretching and holding back vomit. Bradley isn't actually that bad looking but he has a problem with ruddiness- at the point I saw them he looked like someone had smeared melted black raspberry ice cream all over his face and neck. Max is actually uglier in real life than on the show- I didn't think that was possible. He was also a short arse. Good combination. No wonder they were walking on their own without women. I didn't see Bianca (Patsy Palmer), which is a shame because her wardrobe choices for awards shows are legendary. I did see Riiccckkaay (Sid Owen), punching well above his weight with a lovely girl in a kick-arse royal navy dress. The dress was maybe a little underdressy, but nice.

The Skins lot were dancing in the centre of the dance floor, some were wandering around having their photos taken, and all of them were very pleased with themselves and full of youthful cockiness and all of them thinking they are much better looking than they are. Much better were the adjacent Shameless lot- i only saw a few of them, but they were enjoying themselves. I expected them to be more drunk than they were.

Ash Atalla, the best producer ever (The Office, Extras, the IT Crowd), was having a very good night- he's always insanely popular but this year I couldn't even get to him - he was surrounded by people all night and there were big groups of people vultures circling who kept interrupting. I can't interrupt when people are talking - i hate that sh*t. So I didn't get to chat with him all night.

Stephen Merchant and his always unfairly gorgeous and incredibly nice girlfriend were enjoying themselves, talking to lots of people. They were hilarious and lovely as always to us and super-chatty despite Smerch not winning anything. I adore his writing and his reputation as the nicest man in showbiz is once again well deserved and confirmed. Are you taking notes, Gervais?

And at points throughout the night, I sat on the stairs near an exit, and tons of people (in particular soap stars) drunkenly asked the security guards for an alternate exit. Why? They didn't want the paps to take their pictures while drunk. The over-inflated sense of self-importance nearly knocked me off the stairs from my laughing.

And that is about it my friends - we were off at around 2am. Bye from Blighty!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, spy! Always great to have the inside scoop.

Just wish I knew who half the people were...

No Dr. Who/Torchwood people?

captivagrl said...

makes me want to watch some of these shows. thanks spy.

Amber said...

Simon Amstell is my fucking hero!!

I like the IT Crowd/Black Books too. I'm a big Chris O'Dowd fan, and Bill Bailey can do no harm!

lol Eastenders. "twin ginger mingers" HAHAHAHAHA

Awe, the Skins cast were acting cocky? Ah well, they're still kids. Can't believe they're not coming back next season.. depressing.

I loved this! Thanks for the report, mysterious guest writer!

Amber said...

oh captivagirl, if you want to watch some of the shows, try www.sidereel.com


dee said...

thank you anon! loved your comments, especially the alan carr one: "That's the closest his d*ck has ever been to vag- I think I heard its muffled scream at one point." I'm still sniggering at that.

captivagrl said...

thanks AMBER, i'll check it out.

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

bring back Keen Eddie!

Justa JobSeeker said...

I adore Alan Carr! The Friday Night Project is to die for funny and every Sat morning I get up and run to YouTube praying that someone has uploaded it.

Thanks for inside peek! Love hearing this stuff :)

Merlin D. Bear said...

You are absolutely the best!
I still say you should come over and do the American awards.
There's nothing to compare with British snark - and BBC America doesn't run half the programs it should. American TV could learn so much from British, if it didn't steal it and rework it to try and pass it off as "original".
I do have one question re British TV though, and it concerns the use of profanity - having just sat through "HEX" season 1 and "Jekyll", I've noticed that British TV drops the occasional F-bomb? Is that edited for broadcast and put out there unedited for DVD's, or is it run unedited on broadcast, with the usual "not suitable for" disclaimers?

ms_wonderland said...

Merlin - it depends when the show is scheduled for broadcast. We have 'watershed' at 9 p.m. - before that shows must be safe for children, after that the little brats are supposed to be in bed and the grown-ups are watching! The later the show, the more swearing is allowed, and swx, and nudity.

I've not seen those two shows, but I would think they were post-watershed and broadcast with the dialogue intact.

Thanks for the snark from our anon blogger - you certainly saw the interesting bits! Sorry about the frock.

ms_wonderland said...

swx = sex, not some new British perversion.

MnGddess said...

Thank you for sharing! God, that must have sucked when your dress ripped.

Three sisters said...

Thank you spy for clearing up what "lording it" meant!! I'm so sorry about your dress, but I'm glad you saved it! :)

Yellow Rose said...

Thank you for mentioning "Hamster"! I absolutely love Top Gear & he's my favorite. Please promise you'll do what you threatened to-May has needed a haircut for years now & I have no clue what's going on with Hammond's, so get rid of that too (he looks so much better w/ it short, hold the gel).

Great save with the dress-wish we could see how it looked after the patch-job. Thanks for being such a great spy! I've watched BBC (BBC America, actually) for years, & it's nice to hear a little gossip about my favorite actors/actresses.

surfer said...

Thanks Ms. Spy--you're absolutely hilarious. How on earth did you remember all the juicy details - did you take notes or have a mini tape recorder with you?

Sorry to hear about your dress--talk about a mega wardrobe malfunction. But you sound very resourceful, and was glad to read that you managed to get it all together to be able to attend the dinner and after-party.

Very much look forward to your next report.

Ellen said...

Thank you so so much for the Brit Report!

Joanna Lumley took my breath away, she is so beautiful and is an example to us all on how to age property!

I love the Top Gear guys!

What a treat to have see Trey from the UK Apprentice. He was, without a doubt, the best contestant ever. "Titties and fish" is now a common phrase in my household. Sir Alan and his version rocks, The Donald and his version sucks... Sir Alan had the good sense to fire Piers, The Donald gives him the job!

But I ramble...thanks again!

jas faulkner said...

Brava and thank you! :)

Grande Dame said...

How do you start a conversation with Judi Dench? You could have said, "Sorry, Judi, I can't pick the scarf up for you as I am having a wardrobe malfunction this evening". Since she is not a diva I found her, and Finty, to be quite approachable and down to earth. She did look beautiful in whatever it was she was wearing.


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