Yesterday I headed up to the ITV studios in London to appear on the Alan Titchmarsh show. I arrived at the reception around 11am and you can see how it has been rebranded since my last visit...
A guy called Reese fetched me and got us through security and into the maze of corridors that make up this huge building. We eventually made our way to the "green room" and met some of the other people who were lined up to appear on the show. They record two episodes of the Alan Titchmarsh show during the day - one that goes out nearly live and one that's kept in the can for broadcast a few weeks later.
After some free food and coffee we were taken through to the studio for a rehearsal run-through of the show, dodging huge cameras, electrical cables and people rushing all over the place.
They were finishing a run-through of an item on cosmetic surgery and Alan Titchmarsh was doing a great job at organising and arranging things, putting guests at their ease and even updating the autocue as he went along so that things flowed smoothly.
Then it was time to rehearse the section I was booked for. This was all about measuring happiness and featured a device invented by Mynd Play, a company set up by Tre from The Apprentic (http://www.myndplay.com/). The plan was to wire several of us up to a fancy electronic machine and see how we reacted to various things. As my job as a magician is all about entertaining people and involves elements of mind-reading and hypnotism it was going to be interesting to see how I could influence things during the tests.
Tre was hard at work on his laptop making sure everything was set up properly and we had a chat with Alan and Coleen Nolan while they were getting ready. Coleen was lovely!
Various ideas were thrown around and in the end we decided to measure reactions to eating chocolate, stroking a cute puppy and holding a huge snake. The only problem was that when the snake was brought onto the stage one of the volunteers for the test ran off in a panic! Understandable I suppose as it wasn't a small snake - it was a ten foot long Boa Constrictor! Eventually she was coaxed back and we carried on with the rehearsal.
There was then a long break as the actual filming was taking place late in the afternoon, so I wandered around the ITV building on the look-out for celebrities. I spotted quite a few and everyone was really friendly and happy to chat (apart from Carol Vorderman who was grumpy).
Around 3pm they started herding the audience into the studio and we were prepared for the actual filming.
You'll have to watch the programme to see what happened next. It will be broadcast on Thursday 21st March...