We're a week away from recording the tellybox episode of Genius and I'm getting quite excited by the prospect.
For three series the core of Team Genius has been the same four people; Ali and Dave who thought up the show in the first place, Simon who produces it and myself. (We have had assistance from fantastic people like Marijke and Gertrude but their reluctance to grow beards has always troubled the core team.)
When we had our first meeting about the TV version a while ago we were joined by a head of production - another Ali - and a set designer - another Simon, making for a ridiculous six-way meeting with lots of Ali/Ali, Simon/Simon, Dave/Dave confusion. Since then more people have been added to the mix. Fortunately they tend to have different names.
In the past if we wanted a fingernail brush I'd sit up one night with a load of fingernail clippings and some superglue and make one. When we wanted a jacket made out of hoover-detritus, Simon would e-mail round the BBC asking for full hoover bags and with the help of a charity-shop-bought-jacket and some PVA, he'd make one. (And we had a lovely friend of the show, Bill who made lots of the more fiddly things also.) Now we have an art department.
Now someone asks me what I'm going to wear and the answer is supposed to be important. There are things we'd just go ahead and do on the radio that present health and safety issues in tellyland... but then there are things we can do in tellyland that we simply can't do on the wireless. Swings and roundabouts. For example. We couldn't have put a swing and some roundabouts in the radio show. We could do that on telly. Not that we are, it wouldn't be relevant to any of the ideas. But we could... and that's the important thing.
All in all though, while telly does inevitably make a few things more complicated, that's not such a big deal and I'm pretty sure we're doing a grand job of preserving the spirit of the show. The conversation will still be able to go wherever it goes which is really what it's all about. When we started the first series on radio there was a concern about whether people would send us enough ideas to make it work but the ideas keep on coming. We had so many great ideas to consider for this show that even agreeing a short list was really difficult.
But I think we've got them down to a final selection and I think it's a great mix. And we have a genuinely top drawer guest too. Hurrah. But perhaps the most exciting moment for me came as a result of the "what are you going to wear?" conversation. I was taken shopping yesterday. (Yes; "taken" and "shopping.")
"What size trousers do you wear?" asked the shop assistant.
"I'd love to say 32," said I. "I used to be 32. Then I put a load of weight on. But I've just lost a stone and a half so I don't really know..."
"Well these tend to be quite small for their size," said he, "so let's try a 34."
We did. Actually, only I did. But he saw the result. They were very big.
"We could take them in for you," came the helpful suggestion.
"I might as well try a 32," I said.
"They are very small 32s."
"Well, let's have a look."
So we did. Perfect fit. Mission accomplished. I'm now back to the same size I was when I was 19. Hurrah.