The countdown's begun... the most showbiz event in the television industry's diary is this Sunday, 12 May, in Central London: The Baftas. This is when the best of British on the box is celebrated and everyone who's anyone on the small screen wants a golden ticket so that they can strut their stuff along the red carpet with a freshly-sprayed tan, toupe-taped sideboob and blagged designer glitzy frock!
This year, my role has been elevated from simply attending as a guest to Bafta presenter and I'm incredibly excited! The Baftas are an important event in the media diary not just to provide a showbiz love-in but above all to recognise those programmes - from drama to documentary - that are truly exceptional. Not to belittle ceremonies such as the Soap Awards and the NTAs, the Baftas is a much grander and, dare I say, sophisticated affair than other TV occasions.
This year, I'll be on the red carpet interviewing nominees and citation readers as well as some VIP guests as they arrive at the Royal Festival Hall. Everyone's praying for good weather - the sun seems to shine year on/year off and recalling last year's sweat-a-thon, I fear it may be brollies that we need to prioritise over SPF makeup!
For the last few weeks I've been immersing myself in all things Bafta... first the nominees party, followed by the Craft awards (commonly nicknamed 'The Graftas' because they honour those behind the lens, the real grafters!) and now the big one, the TV Bafta. I've been catching up with any dramas, comedy shows etc that I missed first time round; researching the nominees and citation readers so I'm aware of what they're up to and also giving serious thought to that little issue: What on earth will I wear?!
There's a Bafta Style suite for a select few - mainly nominees and award presenters. They're invited along to be pampered by a celebrity hairdresser and a makeup team who set up a base in the glamorous Corinthia Hotel during Bafta season! Alongside the hair and makeup team, there are rooms filled with dresses, bags and jewels all provided by sponsors - this year House of Fraser and Carat - again those who are lucky enough to be invited can select items for the big night.
The one thing you dread at an event like this is turning up in the same dress as everyone else! It's like that moment when you go to a party in a Topshop dress and there are five other people wearing it. There's not really an issue that other people have the same dress, the problem lies with the fact that they all look far better in it than you! Also the media go to town over the fashion - the day after, the papers will be filled with 'frocky horror' and 'who got it right on the night' - and so it's key to make at least a bit of an effort! For me because I'm working, my dress has to be 'camera friendly': must not strobe, must not be black or white, nor reveal too much inappropriate flesh and must look good from behind as whilst I'm interviewing people, my rear is what the viewers will see! I haven't quite worked out what I'll be wearing yet but hopefully by Sunday, I'll have an idea! I'll be standing for a long, long time so shoe-wise I have a pair that are high, uncomfortable and will inevitably leave me in pain for three days following - those are the bad boys that I'll be hobbling around in on Sunday!
In the last week, sales of Spanx will have soared - some guests may even 'double spanx' to get maximum 'stomach suck-in'. Toupe tape will be in the handbag of any female guest with a low cut dress...(or in the suit pocket of any man with a toupe.) Central London salons will be booked up with guests having mani-pedis and tanning salons will have been handing paper pants over to a whole host of attendees in the days leading up to the affair... when I interviewed the Made in Chelsea cast at the nominee party, there was a distinct scent of St Tropez!
Fortunately for anyone watching the event on TV or online on bafta.org, you'll not be aware of the 'eau de fake tan', but you will be in for a treat as you can see which of your favourite shows are victorious on the night; which citation readers struggle to read autocue; which winner's speech is the funniest; and of course on the fashion front, who got it right and who got it oh so wrong.