Hello there, and what a whirlwind I’ve been in! My Nan has finally come out of hospital after a few weeks in intensive care and whatnot. After being in three hospitals in my home county and surrounding counties, I couldn’t be more thankful that the work of the doctors and nurses who treated her have kept my Nan alive and well. In particular, without the constant medical assistance of Harefield Hospital, my family could be in a very different position to what we live like, so truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. That’s not even meant to be a play-on-words based on my Nan’s illness, but the idiom fitted perfectly.
That’s what’s been going on in my life very recently, but I wanted to focus this blogpost on something that I’ve been doing since February 2014 and absolutely love doing. Prior to starting, I’d seen a few people I know getting into this and I thought, if you can’t beat them, join them! No it’s not getting high off illegal substances or using a ouija board to contact spirits in local, supposed ‘haunted’ areas. It’s getting free tickets for TV recordings! I’ve racked up quite an extensive list of TV shows, seeing some of the world’s finest comedians and celebrities for free, and you should all get into it too! I appreciate that for many people I know who do not live quite as close to London as I do, it can be a bit more difficult. However, many shows are not filmed in London. With a considerable amount filmed in Birmingham and Manchester, everyone can join in the fun and giggles of watching a TV recording. I use the term ‘everyone’ loosely. As expected, there are many constraints with receiving a free audience ticket, and you may find yourself bitterly disappointed to arrive at a venue in which seating has already reached full capacity. But, with these tips, you should comfortably find yourself sitting in the front row of a show you’ve dreamed of seeing for years.
Okay, so before I give a few ‘tips’ for maximising your chances of seeing a TV recording, I thought I’d write a list of what I’ve been to since I started in February 2014, in order for you to get an idea of my successful experiences. As you’ll be able to see, the majority of these are comedy shows, and this is representative of the shows that are available to apply for. Although shows such as the Voice, the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing are also available through this method, they have a huge amount of people applying, therefore I have yet to see any of these live. But, I’d love to (in particular Strictly!)
Elaine Paige (Sky Arts)
Alan Davies as Yet Untitled (Dave)
Got To Dance Auditions (Sky)
Virtually Famous (E4)
Nina Conti’s In Your Face (This was never shown, as it was a pilot).
Got To Dance Semi Finals (Sky)
Got To Dance Final (Sky)
Russell Howard’s Good News (BBC)
Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Roadshow (BBC)
Jack Dee’s Election Helpdesk (BBC)
Right, and now for the tips, the tiny nuggets of advice that if you follow them will allow you to stand in good stead to see the show you’ve always wanted to see!
Know the websites:
There are many a website in which you can find free tickets for TV shows. If you, at any point, are asked to put in card details or go onto your Paypal or any other form of spending money online, close the browser down immediately as you are being conned out of your hard earned cash! For some websites, such as Applause Store, they do offer a ‘Priority Club’ Membership, in which for a small fee, you can be guaranteed priority tickets for some shows. However, I have never done this and had no struggle getting into a TV show. In fact, the only show in which I’ve been turned away was the first time I attempted to see Splash! (only because it was filmed in my hometown’s swimming pool) and there were over 500 for a 100 seat venue. Anyway, the main websites that I have used to apply for tickets are as follows:
More often than not, I use the top two websites in order to apply for tickets, as they advertise tickets for more shows than the others, however they are all reputable and I encourage you to check them all out and browse to see what shows are currently available.
Click, click, click:
You’ve found yourself with five web-browsing tabs open, hopefully in Google Chrome because Internet Explorer is awful. Now, what’s the next step I hear you cry. What I like to do is get on the mailing list, even if you know that the likelihood of you going to see (for example) a show on 16th century needlework is less likely to happen than pigs actually flying.
It’s the next day, and you find yourself getting bombarded with emails for shows that you don’t want to go and see. Even if this is the case, click on the email, it will open the tab to apply for tickets for the show and then just close the tab. It may feel like you have done nothing, but what you have actually done is send a message that you are an ‘active’ member. This has happened to me with Applausestore, and as a result I am seen as one of their top members (ooh fancy). Every so often, I’ll get emails stating priority codes that I can put in for certain programmes, just because I click on their email, taking a second out of my day.
You’ve found yourself actively looking for TV shows to apply for and to (hopefully) go and see. But, the hard work to getting a ticket sometimes does not stop there. For one show, I was able to get a guest-list ticket thanks to Twitter. This was for Virtually Famous, as when I was applying for tickets, the first series had yet to be recorded, therefore its popularity was low. However, after finding out that my favourite comedian was going to be on an episode, I immediately tweeted Applausestore asking if they knew what episode they were going to appear on, in order for me to apply for tickets. They replied instantly with a date, time and a guest-list code. I followed their instructions, and lo and behold found myself in Riverside Studios, watching the episode and by chance meeting them!
So, what am I trying to say? Well, if you find out that someone you know is going to be on an episode, get in contact with the powers above on Twitter and other social media networks in order to find out what episode they’ll be on. Even though you cannot repeatedly apply for one episode of a series, most websites do not allow you to apply for more than one episode per series. By being strategic, you are then able to maximise your chances for seeing a live show.
Another example I can give is Nina Conti’s In Your Face, where I found a priority code online, and managed to get guest list tickets instead of general tickets which I would have received as a consequence of being one of the elusive ‘active’ members that I have previously mentioned. Search about, can you find a code? It’s just as rewarding as getting 50% off on the New Look sale, something which my Mum and I find ourselves doing a little bit too much.
Give yourself time:
So, you’ve got your ticket for, let’s say Mock the Week and you’re a VERY LUCKY PERSON as this is a show I really want to see live and have applied repeatedly for the past few seasons. The tickets state that the doors will open at 7.30pm, so you decide to get there comfortably for 7.20pm and join the back of the queue. However, the likelihood of you getting this with this lackadaisical approach is slim. I’ve found that whenever I have a ticket for something, dependent on its popularity, I always like to arrive at LEAST an hour before the doors state they will open. For smaller shows such as Virtually Famous and Elaine Paige, I got there an hour before. But, with QI and Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Roadshow, I got there with at least 2 hours spare to give as much chance of getting into the studios as I could. Conveniently, for the London Studios on Southbank, I don’t need to use the tube as the mainline train from my hometown takes me to Blackfriars which is a short walk, so I can easily plan what train I need to get in order to get there with enough time to queue outside. Us Brits love a good queue and you can really get a good queuing experience when waiting for a TV show. Don’t let time get in the way of a good… time. That pun was awful, I’m so sorry.
A good presence in the present:
With this, make yourself known to the people that are working for the company. Now, I don’t necessarily mean pester them and talk to them, but when you go up to them to register your ticket and join the queue, be polite, smile, be courteous and GET INVOLVED with the warm-up performer. This will give an excellent repercussive action for the whole programme. You will be recognised for your behaviour and you will be rewarded. Are there many other people who can say they’ve sang ‘All of Me’ to Ashley Banjo and own a producer’s Got to Dance top. That was a wonderful moment. Another great moment was my sister and I making banners for the finals of Got to Dance and being given front row tickets for the final, where Kimberly Wyatt blew us a million and one kisses and personally thanked us! I also nearly won a bottle of wine signed by Kevin McHale at Virtually Famous, but I could not eat that strawberry lace fast enough. Gutted.
Anyway, present yourself as a happy-go-lucky person and look like you are having a marvellous time, evne if you couldn’t care less at a specific guest that you are currently watching. As the penguins of Madagascar say, ‘smile and wave boys’….
I hope that those snippets of advice have got you itching at the chance to apply for TV show tickets, and should you have any more questions surrounding the whole process, leave a comment and I’ll be more than happy to help! To accompany this, I’m not using a song but I’m in fact using a Youtube video advertising a show that I went to see last year in which yours truly is in the background. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKOmRn1HHZs See if you can spot me, and who knows, maybe next time it’ll be you!