please empty your brain below

And indeed I was at the second recording! There was quite a lot of spare space at that one, I suspect a consequence of them running through exactly the same material a second time (which isn't usually the case).

YES to what you say about the Shaw Theatre, YES to what you say about this vs the Souvenir Cabin (I was also lucky enough to get a ticket to the first recording in the series and he re-did a lot more of the Souvenir Cabin sketches in that one), and YES it was a top night out.

I find myself wondering why he's not a household name. He surely deserves to be.

(And YES, my mum would be extraordinarily chuffed if I took him home!)
I have to agree about Finnemore, he's terrific and wrote some good stuff for Mitchell & Webb. I suspect he's probably one of those Radio 4 comedians destined to stay just below the radar.

They charge for ISIHAC tickets nowadays by the way: I've not been since the days of the much-missed Humph.
"it takes a heck of a lot to make me laugh out loud" ...yep you not the only one. Smile...yes, sometimes forced, sometimes as feel uncomfortable and rarely because someone else does so first. As for laughter...there seems as if there is not enough of it lately. Sometimes it at the misfortune of others, sometimes it because (again) feel unconfortable about something. Smiles and laughter are best as a shared feeds off itself giving oneself and others a joy in the moment that seems so rare nowadays. So if you can't make someone laugh today at least give them a smile...
I particularly enjoyed going to the BBC radio theatre a few years back for the recording of a pilot radio show starring Nina Conti. For those who don't know, she is a ventriloquist, which is an unusual choice for a radio show. The other highlight was her special guest, a plate spinner, at least if there is silence on the radio you knew his act was going well!!
Finnemore a "rung lower down"? Shame on you! The man's a genius and way beyond the tired repetition and smugness of Just a Minute and the death throes of (equally repetitive) ISIHAC.
I have been told that the 'Have I Got News For You' show is a good one to be in the audience for, although it lasts several hours!
I'm on a mailing list which gives me notifications of TV programmes to be filmed at the ITV London studios (which are not all necessarily ITV productions, eg. The Apprentice: You're Fired).
I've had some very entertaining evenings there, also at no cost. It all came from walking along the Southbank one evening, seeing a crowd of people gathered outside an entrance marked 'Audience,' and finding the right person to ask about how to sign up.
My next one should suit Grumpy Anon because it's a new show where the aim of the comedians taking part, apparently... is NOT to make the audience laugh!
Having never been to a recording, I am appalled that the BBC overbooks the audience. One would have thought in this digital age that any non-attendees who had not given appropriate notice could be black listed. The system DG that you describe is outrageous but perhaps typical of the arrogance of the Beeb.
Can't remember which show it was now, but those who couldn't get in were given priority tickets for another date. It's not arrogance - all popular shows do it.

Like the show, HIGNFY recordings are not as much fun as they were, but I was lucky enough to go to some classic recordings in the Angus Deayton days. No Boris thankfully but Paul Merton borrowing Andrew Marr's mobile leaps to mind.
No need to BBC-bash. As Ned says, all broadcasters do it, including ITV, C4, etc.

Those to blame are the fickle public.
Clearly they have to overbook as it's vital they get a full audience and with free tickets there are going to be a lot of people who don't turn up.

I think extra people are put in the bar or foyer to hear and possibly see the show on a screen. Did this happen at your show DG?

dg writes: I've never seen a screen in use at the Shaw Theatre.

I agree with others that John Finnemore is excellent. The double Acts on the radio recently were exceptional.
Thankfully radio recording queues tend to be more civilised than TV ones - a friend once arrived 2 hours early for Harry Hill's TV Burp, only to be told that they'd already filled all the seats! For most radio ones, you tend to find an hour before doors open is sufficient.

Good to see DG has excellent taste in comedy - Mr Finnemore rarely puts a foot wrong in my experience, and I always look forward to his shows.
Julian - it's something virtually all companies do - especially airlines
I saw Mock the Week a few years back and was turned away the first time I went, but we were given guaranteed entrance to another Mock the Week recording so look at it as just a process of queuing for tickets and it's less disappointing.
Hi guys thanks for the feedback. I just think it is wrong, especially as the particular size of audience, 70, 80, 90 or 100%, for a radio show surely does not matter. If I had travelled a distance and therefore spent time and money, arrived in plenty of time and then been 'bumped' I would be bloody annoyed. At least if you get bumped by an airline there is an obligation to mitigate the problem which to me exceeds priority tickets for another show. The fact that the tickets are free is irrelevant unless, of course, the Beeb and others think it gives them licence to behave as they apparently do. I wonder what the outcry would be if Arsenal had flogged more tickets for Tuesday's game than there were seats and then told the unlucky punters that they could have priority for another match? A riot? I just think that what DG described is ill-mannered. Are ticket holders advised in advance of this, to me, a 'scam' ?
The tickets make it perfectly clear that there are more tickets than seats.
So a comfortable seat in a warm theatre for you after the cold Emirates night out.

For me when attending as studio audience the experience was good not just for the show but also to get free admission to see inside various venues. Here from my memory are some I went to. Many of the places are now gone or in different use.

My studio audience days started in the 1950's when I used to go to Radio Luxembourg's "Take Your Pick" with Michael Miles. -Before it became a music station Radio Luxembourg had serials and game shows. Being a non UK station they hired various halls around London. "Woodbine Quiz Time" was another Radio Luxemboug quiz, sponsored by Woodbine cigarettes, I attended that as audience at a hall in Kingston!

Many people will remember the BBC Paris Theatre, Lower Regent Street, which closed in 1995. "The Hudd Lines" was among many shows I have seen recorded there.

The Playhouse Theatre (now a regular theatre)was once BBC, as was the Shepherds Bush Empire (now a concert venue). "Billy Cottons Band Show", and Eamond Andrews "Crackerjack" were some old shows from Shepherds Bush.

The now demolished Westminster Theatre (new St.James theatre built on site)was home to the BBC for the "Frankie Howard Show", which I went along to.

The long running "Friday Night is Music Night" I have attended at the Golders Green Hippodrome (now a church) and the Camden Palace Theatre (now a night club) more recently it has broadcast from the Mermaid Theatre (closed) and the Hackney Empire.

I spent a day once at Hackney Empire as audience for "Britain's Got Talent". They gave us breaks to eat, and if we had been in the stalls for first session, then we would sit in the circle for the next session so that on TV it would seem like a new audience, it was a long and noisy day.

Thames TV studios at Teddington had many studio audience shows, Benny Hill and Tommy Cooper being popular ones. These studios are closed and demolished for new luxury apartments.
Which is also the fate of the BBC TV Centre, where queues would often form for shows.

At least one old venue, the Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House is still open.

Now I am happy to stay in and listen to the radio and it would have to be something very special to get me out and queue up as audience, but that's just old age.

I look forward to hearing the dg laugher being broadcast.
Some fascinating feedback this time. Clearly DG's audience have more to say about show audiences than about football crowds.

I disagree with Julian's suggestion that the tickets being free makes "no difference" to the overbooking issue. To me, being bumped is morally a breach of contract (only not legally so because of get-out clauses). But, morally or legally, there is no contract unless there is "a consideration" on both sides.

Having said all that, I admit I would find it very annoying to be bumped from a show after investing time and money in getting there. Even if warned of the risk.

Thank you for the clarification that the tickets do make clear in advance that you are not guaranteed a seat. At least one knows the rules, but, on reflection does it really matter within reason how many attend a radio recording? Are there not people called sound engineers who could ramp up the applause level if the numbers are a little short? I just don't see the point of potentially annoying people, who pay the licence fee.
Why not attempt to get as many licence fee payers inside the auditorium as possible?

As far as I could tell, everybody who turned up last night got in.
Julian said: "Are there not people called sound engineers who could ramp up the applause level if the numbers are a little short?"
Brought back memories of Hugie Green's 'Opportunity Knocks' show with its Clapometer, a device measuring the loudness of the applause to decide the winning act of the talent contest.
Jon.said:"...for the recording of a pilot radio show starring Nina Conti. For those who don't know, she is a ventriloquist, which is an unusual choice for a radio show...."

From 1950 until 1958 the BBC had a radio show called "Educating Archie" it starred ventriloquist Peter Brough. It was a very popular show and had an audience of about 15 million. Among the cast were young upcoming stars Julie Andrews, Hatie Jaques and Max Bygraves. Not a hard job being a ventriloquist on the radio!

When ITV television started the show transferred to TV but Peter Brough's poor vent skills soon let the show down and it only ran for a year ending in 1959.
Nicely reviewed DG, I was there too last night for the first recording. I know Mr Finnemore through Cabin Pressure so have come late to the Souvenir Programme and was curious about what to expect. I shouldn't have worried, that was silliness done extremely well. Mr Floofywhiskers' exploits were very enjoyable.

This was my second attempt to see said programme, I tried in August last year and got turned away for the first time in my experience with BBC programmes. That's when I found out that unlike commercial audience bookers, the BBC doesn't give you priority tickets if you don't get in - very disappointing.

In two minds about the Shaw theatre, on the one hand, excellent sight lines meant a great view even in the back row. But that foyer crush was awful and should have been controlled better. And why were there empty seats? They had one job...!

But overall I'm so glad to have discovered these free tickets and love going to a recording (TV or radio) with friends who would never think of going. London Studios is very easy for me to get to from work, so I'm usually first in the queue when I go and have always got very good seats. This once resulted in 15 seconds of unexpected and unwanted fame on the Graham Norton Show a couple of years back (never again, I ended up on twitter which freaked me out no end).
@ Roger W, is that the David Baddiel hosted Don't Make Me Laugh? I went last year to a recording at RADA and loved it, but it was so filthy, I was left wondering how they would ever get half an hour of useable material from it, especially on Radio 4! Suffice to say, it was fascinating to listen back and see how they'd edited it. Same with HIGNFY and Mock The Week and actually most programmes for which I've been in the audience!
Re-reading the entry I realise I was so close to seeing DG in person - we must have been very close in the queue, I was number 9*. And great minds and all that, I also popped into the Wellcome Foundation for a visit to the Mist room and opted for coffee and cake over the Tibet exhibition this time.
Yes, s, that's exactly what it is (didn't know there had already been one).
Without looking at my diary I'm pretty sure this one will be at RADA, too
I decided to spread my bets by applying for several recordings of a TV comedy recording, and unexpectedly got tickets for 4 of the 6 shows in the series. After complementing the director on the production team's accomplishments on Twitter, I asked and was rewarded with a production ticket for the final show, and ended up in the green room for the wrap party with the cast!
I've been listening to Just a Minute for the last 40+ years and have been applying for tickets for the last 5 years - yet to be successful too!

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