Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


....and... ACTION!

Part 2....

Well, as they say, the story continues....

Now where was I? Oh yes, are you sitting comfortably?

Having given you the background details about the in-laws natural disasters and the involvement of the television, I'll waffle about our involvement.

As I mentioned previously, Himself's step-brother had rung to arrange for us to be part of the 'rent-a-mob' so we had smarted ourselves up (coz we were going to be on tv!) and set off.

We arrived on time and as we congregated at the kitchen door, tired and harassed looking workmen were rushing in and out with an artificial chrimbly tree and decorations as well as removing the last bits of wood and left overs, screws, boxes and tools. We'd momentarily forgotten this programme was to be a festive special and decided that the house had obviously been decorated to look all chrimbly-licious.

We shivered and chatted and waited in the cold afternoon air.

Then a rather pretty young man swanned in with his artfully torn jeans, his spotlessly clean canvas shoes, rolled up jacket and nautical style boat necked T shirt. He sported a casually-slung-around-his neck-in-a-carefully-look-at-me-way chunky knit scarf. He also wore the HUGEST oversized fashion sunglasses and fashionably spiked up hair. He smoozed his way through us rent-a-mob without making eye contact and slipped into the kitchen slamming the door in our faces.
We all looked at each other - who was he? Should we have known who he was? Was he a star? or a wanna-be star?
He was very quickly forgotten as almost immediately behind came first John Craven and then Linda Barker. My normally quiet and gently reserved brother in-law almost turned lobster red as she looked at him as she had walked by. He became all flustered and pink which amused us all.

We were all given our 'roles', we were told when we could cheer and when we had to be quiet. We were all told to turn off our mobile phones and were told expressly and repeatedly not to stare in to the camera. The stars and the kitchen builders were all looking very tired and slumped. Then as if some one had flicked on a switch, they all stood up, looked bright and vivacious and ready to meet the guests of the show.

My in-laws were then brought around the house and we all started to cheer and look pleased when.....

stop stop stop - don't cheer so loudly came the instructions, my poor inlaws were marched back around and told to walk around again and to look surprised again....
The arrow and dotted line show how high the mud reached.
Linda Barker on the right

We then cheered more mutedly and the sound man and the producer huddled together and muttered things, then
Sorry people, can we do that again, ......phones off.......don't look at the camera... and ready?

My in-laws were marched off again and made to return..... (this happened several times.....)

Then finally they were allowed to meet Linda Barker, who shook their hands enthusiastically and welcomed them and exclaimed cheerfully how very hard the kitchen company and the stylist (the glossy sun-glassed young man) had worked over the last three hectic days when....
Stop - sorry, sorry, the sun is in the wrong place can we move everyone please?

In-laws were removed from the scene, Linda Barker,  the tired kitchen men and glossy stylist all resumed their slumped postures. Lots of muttering and pointing at the sun and at the backgrounds. We by now were all rather cold and probably could all do with a warm drink.

Ok, ok, every one, can we do it again please.

John Craven, who had been escorting the in-laws back and forth for each take seemed to be gently taking all this stop start stuff in his stride while the others appeared to have to physically switch on the charm and look glittery and gorgeous only to revert to their tired postures and fed up faces as soon as the cameras were turned off.

This continued...and continued and continued from 1.30 pm til 6 pm.

The filming of the surprise and delighted faces had to be done again and again. We had to cheer or be silent, or cheer quietly or cheer enthusiastically or just shut up.....

We were exhausted and we only had to do it for the afternoon, my poor in-laws had had this for the last three days! My father in-law confided to me that he had been miked up so much he was concerned that if he popped off to the loo that he might still be connected to the microphone!

When we left, my in-laws were collapsed on the new settee looking dazed and shattered but relieved to be home after all the excitement. The remaining television crew were packing up to return to London as they were off to do their next job the following day.

Later, much later, I texted my father-in-law to see they had recovered. No, was the reply, he suspected that it would take quite a few days to get back to normal.

I had to admit to being quite surprised at the 'artificialness' of it all. At the number of takes that had to be done, how normal folk were encouraged to be even more surprised or delighted or shocked and how often they were made to repeat it. I was also amazed at how quickly the celebs were able to turn on AND off the charm.

Despite all that, my in-laws have now a beautiful new kitchen and lounge but boy - did they have to earn it!

Ok, that was a long post, but this was only a portion of all the stuff going on - I won't bore you with any more :)

Nope, got knitting news next, but that can wait til next time xxxx

Speak soon, with love hawthorn xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


  1. Then it is off to the editing to make it all look real and flow....and not look like hard work atall!!

  2. Whew. I'm exhausted just reading it. One always knows there is a bit of editing etc but I had no idea that the actual people receiving the 'surprise' had to keep being 'surprised' over and over again!! Looking forward to the Christmas special. xx

  3. ............and here we are thinking that it is all spontaneous!!! TV programmes like this are obviously all smoke and mirrors! It must have been hard for the in-laws to have looked so surprised each time. xx

  4. I'm glad it all turned out well and they got their new kitchen. I once went to see a comedian show being recorded for broadcast on the BBC radio ( that doesn't sound right but you know what I mean) at the end he had to repeat some of the punch lines again because we the audience either laughed to much or not enough. The tickets were free but boy did we pay for them by the end of the day. Never again.....
    I'm looking forward to reading your next post on your lovely new blog!

  5. Well I am not surprised by all the re-takes etc. Most TV these days is so artificial, even th nature programmes. I hope your in-laws have recovered by now. If I ever found out someone was doing a surprise make-over at my house, I'd not come home!

  6. It sounds hard work being a film star, do you think it's the same when filming downtown abbey?
    They filmed part of a coffee advert where my dad worked some yeas ago. The actor had to exit through the front door, wal down some steps, hail a taxi and get in it. It took 8 hours to film. My poor dad was exhausted just watching the taxi go backwards ad forwards!!

  7. 4.5 hours of filmong what kind of rent a mob do you call yourselves! Do you know when it will be broadcast? I want to play spot the people I know and see this hard earned makeover

  8. Well this has made me wonder whether all the makeover shows, such as DIYSOS and the like, have a totally unspontaneous reveal. I feel a bit cheated (or silly for supposing it we were sharing genuine reactions)!!
    But the main thing is the inlaws have somewhere practical and comfortable to live. I'll look out for the programme when it's aired (and probably get on everyone's nerves telling them how staged it all was)


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