Backstage @ The Baftas: Sunday Night At The London Palladium

DON’T run away with the idea that covering TV awards is a glamorous job.
The press room and backstage interview area at the 2007 Bafta TV Awards were located in the Stalls Bar at the London Palladium.
Not that there was any time to drink anything, apart from a few glasses of water.
Although you’re just a few feet away from the auditorium, there’s no sitting back to enjoy the ceremony.
Well organised media facilities, like the one last night, recognise the needs of journalists working to a tight deadline.
Several widescreen TVs relay pictures of the red carpet arrivals and then the awards ceremony itself.
A set of headphones and a switchbox allow you to choose between the audio feed of what’s happening on the main stage or the press stage.
The first rule is – get there early and grab a good spot.
In the event, a chair and table facing the wall close by the press stage proved the best bet.

To my right was a framed Palladium poster dated August 15 1938, advertising a twice nightly bill which included “sensational hit” Fats Waller and Max Miller.
More importantly, straight ahead was an antique gold framed mirror which provided a perfect view of what was happening on the press stage over my shoulder.
All crucial when you have to think of several things at once – the quotes and reactions at the ongoing awards ceremony, the same things when the winners subsequently come into the press room, plus any questions you want to put, writing your running story, filing it and wondering where the next glass of water is coming from.
As you might imagine with 22 award categories, it gets a little more interesting when, as is often the case, two stage moments occur at the same time.
Last night’s awards actually began 90 minutes before the “as live” coverage started on BBC1.
Once everyone is in the theatre, we are given all the results in advance – under a strict embargo.
It might spoil the surprises for us on the night, but it’s essential if imminent deadlines are to be met, both in the choice of words and pictures.
The deeply impressive Richard Curtis and Stephen Fry were last into the press room at the end of the awards.
Then it was time to pack up, dodge through the crowds, go home and, of course, watch it all over again on the telly.
Backstage @ The Baftas: Life On Mars
Full MEN coverage.

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