I got an email about being in the audience for the recording of a TV show called EPIC WIN. I booked two tickets so that Cheryl could come along with me.

The BBC building

The BBC building

I’d never been to a TV recording before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The evening began with meeting Cheryl at White City tube station near the BBC building. We wandered over to the queue outside the building at about 6pm, and within about 15 minutes we were inside the BBC cafeteria. We queued up in the cafeteria and bought the last remaining baguette to eat between us, some crisps, and some water to take into the studio. One we’d finished eating we queued up a third time to be taken through to the studio.

We were shown to some seats in the smoky studio with hundreds of lights on the ceiling and stars hanging down as part of the set. We sat there for a little while as everyone else found their way to a seat and then the floor manager, Rob, told us that we would be listening to a warm-up guy from Manchester whose name I seem to have forgotten (Carl?). He was pretty camp, and a little bit strange. He was basically Paul O’Grady in pantomime mode. 🙂

We were all told about how to sit and to keep smiling, and to always overreact to everything. If something is remotely funny then give it a big laugh. It was a bit stupid really, but oh well.

The show itself is basically a panel of future celebrity reality TV stars with Alexander Armstrong hosting it. They bring in people from around the country with various talents that are basically useless. The person performs their talent in the form of a challenge. If they succeed then they are an EPIC WINNER, if they fail then they have to leave via the EPIC FAIL door. If they succeed in the challenge the panel rates how much they think the talent is worth from £1 to £1000 each. The contestants are then given a buzzer to press when they think the amount of money their talent is worth is up on the board. If they buzz too early they get less than their talent is worth, if they buzz too late then they get nothing.

One contestant was a butcher who could tell what a meat was only using his feet. The second was a man who could pour a bottle of champagne using a digger (with a special modification added on). The third was a lady who has changed her name to Sharon Johnette Travolta on John Travolta’s birthday and could identify the name of a movie based on John Travolta’s hairline. The fourth and final person was a guy named Robin Wood who used a chainsaw to make cutlery and a bowl out of a tree trunk while also cooking a stir fry…

Pretty weird show. I’m not convinced it’ll be particularly amazing, but I certainly get the impression that it’s the kind of thing you might catch being repeated at 2am after a few drinks and decide to watch. I could be wrong though because I haven’t seen the properly edited version. 🙂

List separation

I was just reading a BBC News article about the death of presenter Kristian Digby, who I’ve never watched on TV before, or even heard of before he died. I found a sentence that I completely misread because of the grammar.

“The property expert, who was born into a family of property developers, worked on a number of other shows including Double Agents, Living In The Sun, House Swap and Buy It, Sell It, Bank It.”

The problem I had was in the list of shows. Due to the lack of a serial comma I read one of the show names as “House Swap and Buy It” which is obviously not a show once you read the rest of the sentence, but seemed like one at first.

Adding the serial comma would be a nice start, but would still potentially cause confusion in the final item of the list, which contains 2 commas of its own. Normally when one or more list items contain internal punctuation (their own commas, for example) you should separate the items with a semi-colon.

I was going to use point 2b on this page on the Northern Illinois University website as my source, until I read the rest of the page and noticed that they’d written poles instead of polls. That’s not to mention that the top of the page includes the phrase “weak period” which I don’t particularly want to get into.

Instead I point you to Essentials of English Grammar: a practical guide to the mastery of English by L. Sue Baugh. 🙂

Now you know. 🙂