30 SECONDS OF FAME – FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CARVING How far will you go for 30 seconds of fame? Well I traveled 200km for just that. Yes, you can now have a glimpse of my fruit carving on a very well know channel 4 program, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. This was aired only last week.
I spent three days in Salford in Manchester’s Media city working closely with an amazing team of experts to put together one episode for a new series. This experience has taught me how much effort is required to put a program together. Every little detail has to be well thought out.
Although my carving appears for only 30 seconds, I was carving for a total of 12 hours. I was there at the studio throughout the rehearsals and filming of the live show.
DAY 1 - MEDIA CITY: SALFORD
Those of you who are not familiar with Media City...well it's a purpose built city for all the production companies and media channels including restaurants, bars, and shopping places and the hotel. I was taken aback by the whole set-up, with the very modern looking buildings looking over the Salford quays with the tram line just few yards away and my hotel next door to the Media City building.
On the first day, I arrived in Salford early on the train and took a cab to Media City. I was greeted by Zoe and her team. I was taken to my studio where there were crates full of fruits waiting for me. I nearly collapsed when I saw how much fruits I was expected to carve. But I was quickly consoled with the knowledge that I only need to carve few and the extras were there for contingency. Phew!
There were of course, watermelons, papayas, mangoes, and butternut squash and the famous plums. It's everything that I needed and briefed the team before hand. I was to "do my magic" on them.
CARVING AWAY I carved away, with pretty intricate designs, all assembled in a large rectangular hamper. There had to be lots of plums in the display as the joke depends on it. Also I must not be forgetting the message that I needed to carve on the watermelon. For the first time in my life I was a little uneasy about fruit carving. I mean the message I had to carve on the watermelon could get me into trouble with my mum....lol. Those who are not familiar with the program, allow me to brief you. It’s full of adult humour and the carving had to represent exactly that! "Oh well Mum, it's just adult humour and we only live once mum", was going to be the explanation I would give her and my entire clan.
As I took several breaks away from the carving room, I explored the building a little more. There were rooms in every corner, recording studios, green rooms, dressing rooms, make-up room 'on Air' flashing outside the rooms. I was told Jeremy Kyle was being recorded in one of the studios downs stairs. I really wanted to checkout the guests in Jeremy Kyle and see if these kinds of people really exist.
DAY 2 - DRESS REHEARSAL
I woke up sharp at 6am and after having a quick breakfast I carried on with the remain fruit carving that was left to do; the papaya, the mango and the bird carved with butternut squash. The rehearsal was going to be at 10am, hence I needed to get the Fruit carving display ready by then so that it can be taken to the studio where Jimmy Carr (the pretty presenter), was already there.
As I walked into the studio with 2 of the production crew, with the fruit carving display on a wheeled trolley, the eyes of the camera crew literally turned to the ornate display. They got their mobiles out ready to take a selfie with the carved watermelon with the bird figurine sitting on the top. I was constantly being consulted by the team on how to place the display, whether it should face Jimmy or the audience, weather Jimmy was going to pick up the full display and what if it all falls on Jimmy? I never felt so important.
Sitting in the audience gallery and watching the program unfold; just like the mechanics of a Swiss clock working with different gears, springs and pendulums to ensure the accuracy of the time. In the same way there are different gears and parts of this program, all working towards the end result; a seamless Friday night show. So many different people are involved in this clockwork; the director of photography (DP), production designer, the gaffer, the foley mixer, the editor, the scheduler, camera, lighting and sound crews, the stage hand and the runner. As the rehearsal ended I nearly memorised Jimmy Carrs dialogues and the jokes.
ITS SHOW TIME!
By 5pm the rehearsal was over and I was allowed to leave the studio, until the actual show was to be recorded 2 hours later. I quickly ran to the hotel, freshened up and gave my wrist a good massage. All that carving wasn’t easy. As I came back to the Studio I was taken aback by the number of people that had d come to watch the show as members of the audiance. As we all queued up to enter the studio I was allowed in first as I had a special guests pass. As we took our seats I looked at the whole setting. It was exactly like Countdown, a show we used to watch as a child with my dad. The big round clock, the blue screen in the background and the round little stage in the front. Back then it was with Richard Whiteley, Susie Dent and of course Carol Vorderman. Did I ever imagine that I would be carving fruits and vegetable for this show!
As we got comfortable in our seats, the host opened the show by warming up the audience. He was funny....adult humour is really not my thing, but this guy made laugh out loud. He picked on the audience, as Russel Peters would do. Then the whole cast was introduced; Jimmy Carr (presenter), Sean Lock and Vic Reeves, Susie Dent and David O'doherty. And the show began. It was live, it was being recorded and I was there to see it all happen.
I eagerly awaited for my big appearance, well not exactly me but my fruit carving, that I slaved on for two days. When that kit was shown where Jimmy Carr pretended that he did the whole fruit carving display in 30 seconds I felt a rush of adrenaline down my spine. I wanted to shout and say, “ I DID THIS!”. When the kit ended with Jimmy turning the watermelon to reveal the message on the watermelon, the audience laughed in a frenzy. It was amazing! It was very entertaining. And I was glad to be part of this amazing project.
Please visit the link below to watch the full show. My part at 22:45
When I first ventured out with the Fruit carving business, did I ever think my fruit carving would be on national TV. First Jewish Mum of the Year, then All Star Mr and Mrs, then Disney's Lion King and now 8 Out of 10 Cats. Watch the space people becuase Fruitima has bigger and better ambition.