The National Lottery Live at the BBC.
I was lucky enough to get hold of a ticket to The National Lottery Live Show at the BBC on 13 July 1996. Lucky for me, it was a rollover week and Gary Barlow (Who?) was the guest. It all started way back in May 96, during my University Examination, when I apply for my ticket. I requested that I wanted a ticket anytime after and including 13 July via the Internet on the BBC Home Page. You cannot specify a date, as the tickets are free and given out on the bases of first come, first serve. Give it two months. My ticket arrived one week before the show, even though it said it will arrive within two weeks of the show. This gave me little time to get organised to get down to London. London is about three hours from Ledbury. So I went down to Horsham (Sussex) on the Thursday. I travelled by train via Birmingham. What I did not except what that the London Underground was on strike. How do I expect to get across London? Thank goodness for the Thameslink Service.
On Saturday 13 July, I went into London and Spent most of my time at Piccadilly Circus, playing Bomberman! £1 for three games, well expensive. Well I did spend £10!!. I also went on a tour of London, on a sightseeing tour. Enough of that. Right, the show itself.
I arrived at White City Underground, at 6.20pm, thinking I was early. As I approach BBC television centre, I saw a queue of people, nearly all girls. Gary Barlow (Who?) was there. (Yes I know he is from Take That). What I discovered that this was not the queue. This was a queue of screaming fans who haven't got a ticket and under age. You need to be over 16 to enter television centre.
I manage to find the entrance. I had my bag searched and go through a metal detector. Heavy security, making sure I was not carrying a weapon or bombs!!!!! I approached the stairs and was approached by another person, asking how many in the party. I said "ONE". I was given a ticket. Ticket number 48. (Becomes apparent later). I enter the building to the audience hospitality suite. There I discovered over 150 people!. In the suite, there were loads of chairs or shall I say sofas, but many people stood up. There was a shop where you can buy BBC products. There was even a food shop. Hearing about the complaints about the BBC canteen, I brought a BLT sandwich. (For people who don't know what BLT stands for, it's Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato). Reasonable priced at £1.40. Tasted good.
We had to wait another half an hour until 7pm before going into the studio. There were many TV monitors, showing Pets Wins Prizes, the programme currently showing on BBC1 and NOEL EDMONDS, showing behind the scenes of a TV studio.
7pm arrived. Everyone now queued up in TICKET NUMBER ORDER. As I was number 48 out of 300, I was in the front of the queue. Everyone then headed to Studio 5. I managed to sit in the front row, the fourth seat from the left as you go down the stairs (left on screen). The middle row was filled up first. I was asked my age when I had my ticket. I now know why. Older people meaning above 21 sit nearer the front and younger people sits at the back.
The studio looks bigger on screen than in real life. Only 300 were admitted. When asked to go to the studio, we went into studio 5 and went back stage. Did you know that the seats are temporary and not fixed? Round the back of the seating and we went up the stairs. Down the stairs we went, the ones Bob Monkhouse goes down. Looking around, the set looked all grey, meaning all the lights switch off. It looked pretty dull.
After twenty minutes for everyone to go in and take their seats, the producer came on to tell us few points, like no screaming, no stamping of feet and no photos. Then there were warm up of our vocals, for the cheering and clapping. Two members of the audience went on stage to show off, like one pretending to be Mystic Meg!. National Lottery T-shirts were given away, "NOT AVAILABLE IN THE SHOPS!"
Mystic Meg came on stage to get ready for her prediction. The balls were carried in a large briefcase, under security. The machine was already in place. As we approach 7.50pm, everyone calm down a bit, ready to go on air. The man with the fireworks came out and set the fireworks, ready to go off during the show.
7.50pm arrived and the monitors above our heads shows the opening credit sequence. There were microphones above our heads as well!
Finally, the opening credits finished and Ulrika Johnson came on stage to introduce the show. Ulrika was the special guest presenter, while Bob Monkhouse was on holiday. For Non-UK viewers, Ulrika presents the UK Gladiators. During the pre-recorded sequence, Ulrika Johnson had make up put on. UK viewers knows what happens during a show. Mystic Meg came out, so did Gary Barlow and the announcement of the prize pool. No, I didn't see the voice of the balls, Alan Dedicoat. I saw the previous weeks lottery winner of £300,000! I can say that I nearly saw a millionaire in real life!
Gary Barlow (Again!) sang his latest single. Strangely, it went to number 1 the following day. The weird thing is that I have recorded the show and when viewed back, it was totally different. There were screaming at the studio during the song but no screaming was heard. What is going on!
Now for what we all being waiting for, the draw. The cameras were in the way, so I did not see the lottery machine until after the show. The camera is on a long pole, and can swing around 360º. It went as high as the studio. The estimated prize pool for Draw 87 was £46,000,000 and the Jackpot is estimated to £22,200,000! The fireworks went off and most people, included me, jumped as we wasn't expected it. It was quite loud.
The doors in front of the lottery machine got stuck! The doors were finally opened and those numbers began to come out. I couldn't see the draw machine, as I was sitting behind the camera!, so I watched on the monitors. There were about three cameras all zoomed in to the draw machine. The numbers in order were 11, 05, 42, 41, 10, 12 and the bonus 02. I brought 9 tickets this week and got two numbers on 4 of the lines. The draw was made and the good-byes were said.
After the show, for some reason, the lottery machine was redrawing some more balls, to make sure the balls has not been tampered with and a photographic camera was used to take photos.
Everyone went out, well a lot of people took the orange balloons with them, the ones for decoration of the rollover and the girls were going mad, waiting for Gary Barlow to come out. He came out in a Rolls Royce. The girls were waiting for him at one gate, but the Rolls went out another gate. One or two girls nearly got ran over!
Back on the Underground to Victoria to go back to Horsham.
That's it. I hope you have a feel of what it is like to be an audience for The National Lottery Live. My diary of events at The National Lottery Live.
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