I spent the last two days finishing my commitment to Annually Retentive which has continued to be fun. Almost everyone involved in the show is playing themself, or a slightly more grotesque version of themself and I suppose the show as a whole is mocking a certain kind of panel show. Which made today all the more ridiculous as I had to leave the filming at 1pm in order to go and film a panel show.
The show I was guesting on was called Never Mind The Full Stops which is already strange because the title is a play on Never Mind The Buzzcocks which itself is a play on Never Mind The Bollocks... Obviously I was appearing on it as a form of field research that would allow me to bring something more real to my behind-the-scenes scenes on Annually Retentive.Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
As you might guess from the title, the show is about grammar, punctuation and the English language. It's for BBC4 and it should start going out later this year. Oddly it's hosted by Julian Fellowes in a stern schoolmasterly fashion. I say oddly because he's an Oscar winning screenwriter and an actor of note and not really the kind of person you expect to find hosting a panel show on BBC4.
It also seemed a little odd to me because he seemed keen to eschew some of the normal conventions of presenting. As a viewer, even if you know the presenter is reading from an autocue, you assume they have chosen to say those particular words and that they reflect their own opinion. Julian seemed inordinately keen to tell the audience that he wasn't responsible for the script with lots of "this is the one they've given me to say"s and "I don't know why they want me to say that"s and so on.
This might turn out to be a stroke of genius on his part and it will endear him to viewers. Either that or he'll wish he'd used his Oscar winning pen to write the show himself.
I've been very impressed with the initial burst of sponsorship money raised for my London to Brighton bike ride. As I'm writing this the total donated is up to £990. If you're a UK tax payer and you tick some boxes and fill in some details while you're donating, the British Heart Foundation gets to collect even more money thanks to an automatic tax bonus. This tax bonus (Gift Aid) means that so far a further £267.38 has been raised taking the total to £1257.38. I'm pretty impressed - I only decided to do it for sure four days ago.
Thanks to everyone who has donated so far and go-on-you-know-you-want-to to everyone who hasn't. Sponsorship.