Last Sunday I was lucky enough to be invited to the filming of The Great British Bake Off’s ‘An Extra Slice’. Cristina the chief organiser behind the Bromley ‘Free Cakes For Kids’ charity requested six tickets and invited some of the team to go with her. Do you think we were happy about it ?(enter cheesy, blurry selfie! below!)
Yes, we were excited. We had to arrive at The London Studios for 3pm (which I did by the skin of my teeth – sorry ladies) and get wrist bands. We had priority bands due to Cristina’s tickets but I think that just meant that we would definitely get in.
The queue was pretty long by 3.05pm. That pic is just a fraction of the line of bakers waiting to get in.
So what happens during filming?
We were directed into a main room and were asked to sit and wait. The producer came and spoke to us explaining what was going to happen for the rest of the day. We were given timings and told that it would take until around 8.30pm to complete the filming. It was 3.30pm. The hall had a wall of glass windows and it was really sunny making the room super hot. We were glad there were refreshments available to buy. Ice cold Sprite (whilst on a water only 30 day challenge!) Don’t mind if I do – Ooops!
Last weeks episode of the GBBO was put on the big screens at the front of the room. There were a few groans because let’s face it- if you’re there you’ve probably already seen last weeks show! But that was just for background noise. Then we were asked to sign a rather long and detailed confidentiality form swearing that we wouldn’t say who went out. We were going to get to see next weeks (yesterday’s) episode a whole four days early. Yep. We were really happy about that too!
It was during this hour that the production runners came and looked at all the bakes everyone had brought in. Kim had made a cake in the shape of our charity’s badge (which you can see us all wearing- just for Jo Brand. Unfortunately the cake wasn’t selected. We were competing with a naked Paul Hollywood and a carrot Mary Berry and Jo was “very busy” and basically not accepting cakes so Lucy took it into work the next day and sold slices for charity instead. It did look mighty good. Jo missed out there!
Then it was time to take our seats (second row in the middle in case you’re looking). We all removed our wrist bands and sat in the audience seats. Those whose cakes were selected sat at the front at the tables and while the next episode was screened the runners went about making sure each bake had a plate or cake stand to display it on.
It was really great to be watching an episode in secret like that with a whole load of bakers. I mean it’s great to watch with Tim at home but this was a real experience. We all oohed and ahhed at the same time and picked up things that non-bakers just wouldn’t see. It felt like an exclusive club.
There was a great warm up guy who was really funny. He introduced Jo Brand and then the filming began. It was now around 5.15pm. The guests this week are really funny- (I don’t think I can say who they are but you haven’t got long to wait) We saw loads of funny bakes which were emailed in. The audience bakes were really funny and Jo Brand is just so down to earth and natural you just feel like you know her. She really made me laugh.
Watching the lighting and cameras was really interesting. Also the set is fab. The paintings either side of the main kitchen area are amazing and the propping is excellent. Not to mention the furniture mix.
At 8.30pm, starving hungry having just watched cake for nearly five hours it was all over. It was a great experience and I would definitely do it again. All that’s left to say is thanks Cristina for inviting us. We had a chance to have a really catch up and shared a really great experience.
An Extra Slice is a Love Films production. Tickets are still available for future shows. Visit their Facebook page for contact details.