A small insight into the history of the BBC
SO, THERE I was in a BBC studio, talking into a microphone, recording a radio play.
OK, it was not as impressive as it sounds. No-one outside the room would ever hear my paltry efforts, as I was simply part of a group touring Broadcasting House in Portland Place.
I fleetingly thought of a woman from Hillingdon who had spotted me earlier (and asked if I was me), but she had been heading for a real radio show in the BBC theatre, so would not observe me making a twit of myself.
The 90-minute tour* was interesting and fun and included a lot of BBC history, such as seeing the microphone used for the first broadcast by a monarch. There was a peek at the massive newsroom and a glimpse of the tiny One Show studio.
If you wished, you could take photos of your friends and family perched on the sofa where Matt and Alex usually sit, or you could have a go at reading the news from an autocue, as my friend Catherine bravely did.
I love play reading and have long wanted to drop in on a group called Curtain Up that meets in Uxbridge library. For people like me who enjoy acting, but are rubbish at remembering lines, it’s a perfect hobby.
On a three month world cruise in 2012, I joined such a group and was given a deliciously wicked part in Lady Windermere’s Fan. Unfortunately, just as I was getting into my stride, it was exit stage right for a bilious Mrs Erlynne when rough seas cut short my efforts.
But back to the BBC studio where I was concentrating on pausing in the right places to allow my fellow actors (including my brother-in-law, Mr F2) to get a word in.
Just as we finished, a member of our party – half of a couple – whispered in my ear, ‘Are you Barbara Fisher?’ This time I was well and truly rumbled.
The pair reminded me that I am the speaker at their U3A group in Hayes later this year, so I asked if I could mention them in my column.
I am now hoping that, because Mary and Ray Smith of Hayes can no longer escape from me, they will give my hammy effort a good report. *www.bbc.co.uk/tours for more information