the harry hill show
The GFS on nationwide TV again!

AS ONE DOOR CLOSES ANOTHER OPENS…

 In April last year the GFS was honoured to be invited to perform at Her Majesty, The Queen’s 92nd Birthday Celebrations at The Royal Albert Hall, London along with a host of stars from the world of television and entertainment. Performing alongside the members were three very well- known celebrities Frank Skinner, Ed Balls and Harry Hill. These three have become firm friends within the Society taking time out of their busy schedules to visit the George Formby conventions in Blackpool. We were all delighted to welcome Harry Hill to the September 2018 convention. What a genuine person. He was happy to mingle and chat to everyone and we were delighted when he accepted the challenge to perform.

INVITATION

The greatest surprise came only a few weeks later when we received an invitation to perform as guests on the Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule TV Show. There was definitely lots of organising on behalf of Gerry and Vivien Mawdsley together with the programme organisers. We had been asked to accompany the celebrities in what turned out to be the finale of the show and back Martine McCutcheon as she sang her well-known hit, ‘Perfect Moment’.

GUESTS

Appearing as guests on the programme were none other than the famous actor Tom Courtney, television presenter Alison Hammond, singer and actress Martine McCutcheon and actor and comedian, Les Dennis. There were 20 GFS members in total and we all considered ourselves very fortunate to have been asked to attend. I can only describe the programme as a genuine evening of fun and laughter. It was extremely well written and put together with Harry providing lots of laughs throughout. Transport, accommodation and refreshments were provided by the company together with blouses and bow ties for the ladies.  We were ferried by private cars from rail terminals in Stroud to the famous Pinewood Studios.  Having arrived in the early afternoon we registered into the complex and were escorted to the recording studio building by our very own ‘runner’ Mary. We were shown to our dressing room number 10 GEORGE FORMBY SOCIETY passing the dressing rooms of Martine McCutcheon, Tom Courtney, Les Dennis and Alison Hammond. The ladies were taken to the wardrobe department to be fitted for their white blouses and given black bow ties. The men had their white shirts pressed for them by the wardrobe department too. We were then shown menus and asked to order lunch. Another member of the staff went to the canteen to collect all the hot food. We met the celebrities who were all approachable and friendly. They had been rehearsing and recording various scenes which would be slotted into the live show later.

REHEARSALS

After lunch, we were shown to a room where we could rehearse without disturbing others. Efficient staff buzzed around the whole time carrying clipboards and speaking into head mics. Eventually, we were shown into the studio. The stage was set for the show.  Facing the stage was a raised public seating area ready for the audience. It was fascinating to observe the workings of the studio. The Director introduced herself and there was a genuine feeling of calm and excitement. Staff busied themselves moving set props and positioning cameras of which I counted seven. The floor was straddled with wires and cables and a photographer was taking still pictures the whole time.   We all sat and watched the scene unfold as we saw beginning and ends of scenes rehearsed, recorded and captured on tape ready to be spliced into the finished show. It was then our turn to take the stage. We had a very small area to form a compact group. We rehearsed with and without the backing track. Eventually, the staff were ready to record our part. It was interesting to see ‘cue screens’ around the studio. The stagehands pulled and tugged scenery into position each time we rehearsed our piece.  The lights changed colours, the final adjustments were made to the set and the studio plunged into silence as we waited for the cue to start from the producer ……“quiet please! In 5..4..3..2..1” It was exciting and inspiring!

FAMOUS STUDIO

When everyone was happy with the results we were taken to the canteen for dinner accompanied by the crew. It was now 6pm. After a well- earned meal and drink we were escorted back to the studio through the old part of Pinewood Studios where so many of the films we have seen on television and in the cinema have been made. Passing framed photographs of one star after another. What an iconic building with so many stories to tell. It was rather like a warren. The plot was huge. Each turned corner brought another building into view with huge exterior walls and small windowpanes. We were shown to our reserved seats in the studio audience and joined the waiting crowd some of whom had travelled great distances to be part of the audience. It was 7.15pm and the warm- up entertainer kept us laughing until showtime at 7.30pm. Harry Hill appeared from the darkness and the laughter started immediately as he built a rapport with the audience delivering silliness in abundance. We, the audience were encouraged to applaud continuously, laugh loud and heartily and be happy to be there.  It was a chat show with a difference

END IN SIGHT

Such is the amazement of television where unlike live theatre the proceedings can be stopped at any time, makeup renewed, costumes changed, scenery moved, lighting adapted, script re- visited, takes redone and edited. There were numerous technicians on the set and in the background making final adjustments to the show. The end was in sight. We watched ourselves appear from behind a red-curtained area encouraged by Tom Courtney to accompany Martine McCutcheon as she sang ‘Perfect Moment’ only to be joined by Alison Hammond, Les Dennis and Harry Hill all playing ukulele banjos and singing and playing with us. It was 9.30pm and time to close up the studio. The audience applauded and the recording was, as they say, ‘in the bag’. It was a wonderful experience with so many highlights to the day. Thank you to all the staff for looking after us so well and to Harry Hill for inviting us to share his stage. What an amazing place to work. As we arrived at the studio doors our taxis were waiting to transport us to our pre-booked hotel near Stroud railway station about 30 minutes away. It had been an eventful day. We gathered in the bar of the hotel to savour our ‘PERFECT MOMENTS’.  Frances Lister
FRANCES LISTER    ROVING REPORTER

AS ONE DOOR CLOSES ANOTHER OPENS…

 In April last year the GFS was honoured to be invited to perform at Her Majesty, The Queen’s 92nd Birthday Celebrations at The Royal Albert Hall, London along with a host of stars from the world of television and entertainment. Performing alongside the members were three very well- known celebrities Frank Skinner, Ed Balls and Harry Hill. These three have become firm friends within the Society taking time out of their busy schedules to visit the George Formby conventions in Blackpool. We were all delighted to welcome Harry Hill to the September 2018 convention. What a genuine person. He was happy to mingle and chat to everyone and we were delighted when he accepted the challenge to perform.

INVITATION

The greatest surprise came only a few weeks later when we received an invitation to perform as guests on the Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule TV Show. There was definitely lots of organising on behalf of Gerry and Vivien Mawdsley together with the programme organisers. We had been asked to accompany the celebrities in what turned out to be the finale of the show and back Martine McCutcheon as she sang her well-known hit, ‘Perfect Moment’.

GUESTS

Appearing as guests on the programme were none other than the famous actor Tom Courtney, television presenter Alison Hammond, singer and actress Martine McCutcheon and actor and comedian, Les Dennis. There were 20 GFS members in total and we all considered ourselves very fortunate to have been asked to attend. I can only describe the programme as a genuine evening of fun and laughter. It was extremely well written and put together with Harry providing lots of laughs throughout. Transport, accommodation and refreshments were provided by the company together with blouses and bow ties for the ladies.  We were ferried by private cars from rail terminals in Stroud to the famous Pinewood Studios.  Having arrived in the early afternoon we registered into the complex and were escorted to the recording studio building by our very own ‘runner’ Mary. We were shown to our dressing room number 10 GEORGE FORMBY SOCIETY passing the dressing rooms of Martine McCutcheon, Tom Courtney, Les Dennis and Alison Hammond. The ladies were taken to the wardrobe department to be fitted for their white blouses and given black bow ties. The men had their white shirts pressed for them by the wardrobe department too. We were then shown menus and asked to order lunch. Another member of the staff went to the canteen to collect all the hot food. We met the celebrities who were all approachable and friendly. They had been rehearsing and recording various scenes which would be slotted into the live show later.

REHEARSALS

After lunch, we were shown to a room where we could rehearse without disturbing others. Efficient staff buzzed around the whole time carrying clipboards and speaking into head mics. Eventually, we were shown into the studio. The stage was set for the show.  Facing the stage was a raised public seating area ready for the audience. It was fascinating to observe the workings of the studio. The Director introduced herself and there was a genuine feeling of calm and excitement. Staff busied themselves moving set props and positioning cameras of which I counted seven. The floor was straddled with wires and cables and a photographer was taking still pictures the whole time.   We all sat and watched the scene unfold as we saw beginning and ends of scenes rehearsed, recorded and captured on tape ready to be spliced into the finished show. It was then our turn to take the stage. We had a very small area to form a compact group. We rehearsed with and without the backing track. Eventually, the staff were ready to record our part. It was interesting to see ‘cue screens’ around the studio. The stagehands pulled and tugged scenery into position each time we rehearsed our piece.  The lights changed colours, the final adjustments were made to the set and the studio plunged into silence as we waited for the cue to start from the producer ……“quiet please! In 5..4..3..2..1” It was exciting and inspiring!

FAMOUS STUDIO

When everyone was happy with the results we were taken to the canteen for dinner accompanied by the crew. It was now 6pm. After a well- earned meal and drink we were escorted back to the studio through the old part of Pinewood Studios where so many of the films we have seen on television and in the cinema have been made. Passing framed photographs of one star after another. What an iconic building with so many stories to tell. It was rather like a warren. The plot was huge. Each turned corner brought another building into view with huge exterior walls and small windowpanes. We were shown to our reserved seats in the studio audience and joined the waiting crowd some of whom had travelled great distances to be part of the audience. It was 7.15pm and the warm-up entertainer kept us laughing until showtime at 7.30pm. Harry Hill appeared from the darkness and the laughter started immediately as he built a rapport with the audience delivering silliness in abundance. We, the audience were encouraged to applaud continuously, laugh loud and heartily and be happy to be there.  It was a chat show with a difference

END IN SIGHT

Such is the amazement of television where unlike live theatre the proceedings can be stopped at any time, makeup renewed, costumes changed, scenery moved, lighting adapted, script re-visited, takes redone and edited. There were numerous technicians on the set and in the background making final adjustments to the show. The end was in sight. We watched ourselves appear from behind a red-curtained area encouraged by Tom Courtney to accompany Martine McCutcheon as she sang ‘Perfect Moment’ only to be joined by Alison Hammond, Les Dennis and Harry Hill all playing ukulele banjos and singing and playing with us. It was 9.30pm and time to close up the studio. The audience applauded and the recording was, as they say, ‘in the bag’. It was a wonderful experience with so many highlights to the day. Thank you to all the staff for looking after us so well and to Harry Hill for inviting us to share his stage. What an amazing place to work. As we arrived at the studio doors our taxis were waiting to transport us to our pre-booked hotel near Stroud railway station about 30 minutes away. It had been an eventful day. We gathered in the bar of the hotel to savour our ‘PERFECT MOMENTS’.  Frances Lister
FRANCES LISTER    ROVING REPORTER