I had a great, if a little nerve-wracking time at the ITV studios on the Southbank. I met some lovely people – especially the other contestants in the People’s Novelist competition and the friendly wildlife and landscape photographers. We were all wonderfully looked after by the production staff of Spun Gold, especially our fabulous runner, Chris Hearn (enjoy your lie-in on Thursday!).

But I have to admit I was a bit slow on the star spotting front. I just didn’t get my camera out quickly enough. I failed to get a photo of Sir Terry Wogan, failed to get a snap of Jeremy Paxman (who was lovely in the green room, but a little scary with our Alan), didn’t manage to capture Sarah Beeny on film and didn’t even get a whiff of Robin Cousins.

I don’t even have a snap of me and Alan, or the competition judges. I do, however, have photographic evidence that I was actually there.

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I have new found admiration for Alan Titchmarsh. What a pro, and what a nice bloke. You just can’t fake being that nice for that long. Chipper all day he was. I don’t know how he does it. I never knew there was quite so much work involved in putting a live show together.

The judges of the thriller heat were Mark Billingham, Penny Smith and Cathy Kelly. All were absolutely gorgeous, generous and friendly. Turns out Penny Smith is a stickler for good grammar and proper spelling (I knew I liked her). As is Alan – insisting on correctly positioned apostrophes on the autocue text. How thoroughly commendable.

Jo the make-up artist was a miracle worker – so much so that when I got home I did manage to get a few photos of myself with a full face of expertly applied make-up. Holding my breath while Jo applied coats of foundation with an air brush (felt like I was in the garage for a respray) is an experience I won’t forget.

I think I managed to get through the ordeal OK – I hope I didn’t make a complete tit of myself. All will be revealed on November 3rd some time between 3 and 4pm.



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