Friday, 24 October 2014

Appear on tv

Appearing on tv is something that would be pretty cool and is something I would love to do - I once did an auditioned for a pilot of a tv show I don't think ever got made called Hobby Swap - but not something that was necessarily on the list of things to do. It isn't something that I have pursued or would have known how to make a reality.

However, when I was up in Edinburgh I had a surprise phone call from a production assistant at a production company called Fulwell73 - a quick check of their website and they have done a fair bit of tv and some films too - about a tv programme they are producing for Channel 4.

The programme is in partnership with a movement called Check One Two - who are aiming to help prevent deaths from testicular cancer by getting people talking about their "love grenades" - and will form part of Channel 4's Stand up to Cancer season.

This is exciting. It isn't totally random. I have had some contact with Check One Two and I have previously circulated this #FeelingNuts crotch grab photograph:

But this phone call has come as something of a surprise. The production company have heard about my one man play one lump or two - which is partially about finding a lump downstairs and convincing myself that I was dying from testicular cancer (true story) - and they want me to come in and record a poem around this experience. This is amazing! Do I have anything - it must be under a minute - that I could do? I don't but I have time. I can write something new!

Now the phone call ends with the production assistant saying something to the effect of "we really want you to be involved but these things have a habit of changing". I know what this means. It means that I shouldn't get my hopes up because it probably won't happen. I try not to get too excited. I tell myself that I shouldn't tell anyone as these things have a habit of blowing up in your face. You tell everyone you're going to be on the telly and then you look like an idiot when it doesn't happen.

I keep it to myself. It's hard so I tell my mum and one of my best friends but no one else. And in the lobby of a hotel in Majorca I write this little poem about the time I went for an ultrasound examination a couple of years ago (true story):

Already Awkward

This is already a little awkward
because although I've been here many times before
this just doesn't get any easier.

I lie here
pants around my ankles
ice cold gel upon my testicles
and a tiny strip of blue tissue paper
to hide my rapidly shrinking pride.

As I lie here, surprised
that my testicles haven't ascended back up inside
she reads the discomfort written across my face
and tries to put me at ease, by telling me:
you have nothing to worry about.
Everything is fine.
You have lovely testies.

Did I hear her right?
Surely she meant normal? Or healthy?
This is already a little awkward
without the ultrasound technician
telling me: you have lovely testies!

While I'm up in Edinburgh for the festival and then while I'm away in Majorca on holiday I keep in touch with the production assistant via email. After a couple of false starts a date is set for me to go to a hotel in central London and film my thing. This might actually happen! But then things change slightly. It's not going to be a poem any longer. This is a little gutting because I had thought that not only was I going to appear on tv but I was going to be on tv doing something I love and that I think I'm quite good at - showcase my "talent". Instead it's now going to be an interview about my experience and that's fine. I'm still going to be on tv.

So on September 16th I put on a shirt - I want to look my best if I'm going to be on the telly- and I go to the Sanderson Hotel and I film my VT (video tape):

Walking into the room is really cool. It's set up in the same way that you see movie stars being interviewed on the tv. I feel like a movie star! Of course I don't but it's pretty cool all the same.

So that's it. My part is filmed. Except this is tv and although I know next to nothing about tv production I know enough to be aware that my part in the final programme is not safe. I must wait and see if I make the final cut. I think I've got a good chance because although they have a lot of great comedy - Jack Whitehall is hosting and they have plenty of big names like James Corden and Harry Enfield, there is even a Men Behaving Badly sketch - like Children in Need this programme needs a heart! I'm the Indian Street Children of Feeling Nuts - a slightly insensitive metaphor but you get the idea - they need me!

But then a whole month goes by and I still haven't heard anything. It's in the tv guide but I still have no idea if I'm going to be apart of the show. This must only meant one thing - my part hasn't made the final cut. I email the production assistant and unfortunately I'm right. My interview has been cut. The email reads: "I'm sorry to say that those interviews didn't make the final cut. After we finished the live show and completed all of out VT's there was over an hour's worth of footage that had to be taken out" Which I find really odd!

All of the interviews were cut? If mine was cut to make room for another then fair enough. But if they have all been cut then surely they're missing the point? What exactly is the purpose of all the stand up and sketches if the show has no heart? Surely the show needs to have an element of true story and education? After all, it's a programme aimed at raising awareness about testicular cancer!

Do I sound upset? Of course I am slightly upset that my bit hasn't made the cut. I was excited about being on tv. A little less excited about seeing myself on tv - that would have been difficult - but it would have been cool. But I also completely understand my part not making it. That's totally fine. They are tasked with making what they believe to be the best 90min show that they can.Except! I keep reading and rereading the email. Surely some interviews / real life stories have made the cut? Although the comedy and the celebrities will bring in the audience, that is also just fluff! You need some real content - about testicular cancer - or the whole thing is completely pointless!

Well the only way to find out is to watch it. I'm looking forward to seeing the programme and to finding out if they managed to achieve a good balance of comedy and "education".

Feeling Nuts is on Channel 4 at 11.05pm tonight (Friday 24th October 2014).

ps. I have been reassured that there are interviews that have been kept in (just not mine *cries haha).


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