After standing at a lectern for the better part of the day, trying to sound somewhat clever, I wandered back to the hotel this evening along a puddle-strewn path, and gazed out across the industrial rooftops of Salford. I wondered what this “Media City” place really was, and decided that for the first time in recent memory I wouldn’t just sit in the hotel for dinner – I would venture out, and explore.
It’s worth noting that I’m rubbish at exploring. I’m kind of like Nemo’s Dad – taking a step outside the hotel, looking around, exclaiming “That’s enough”, before stepping backwards through the door, and back into the safety of the hotel. Leaving the hotel (while trying to make head or tail of Google Maps), and wandering off around the corner was incredibly brave in my book.
I’m SO thankful that I did.
Within 100 yards I turned a corner, and was greeted by pristine walkways, trees, landscaped gardens, arching bridges, and brightly lit glass buildings in all directions. It was too much to take in. There was the “Children in Need” logo – and there was “Blue Peter” – and there was “The BBC Philharmonic”, with a crowd snaking into the building to go and watch something. One particularly long building had thirty foot tall images of Ricky Gervais, Garry Barlow, and various other prime-time TV stars along it’s length.
It turns out Media City – otherwise known as Salford Quays – is the home of the BBC, and ITV. I of course had no idea, because I never take notice of anything.
I spotted the illuminated signs for Wagamama among the various studios and sound-stages, and headed straight for them. Five minutes later I had a table, a drink, and had ordered food. While waiting, I listened to other people’s conversations around the restaurant. It would appear they had mostly either been to the recording of TV and radio shows, or were headed to them. I kept hearing household names being bandied around, as people talked about what they had seen, and what they were planning to go and see.
What a privilege it must be to live near to such a place, where instead of sitting down to watch TV, you can have a night out to go and watch the recording. I can only imagine what that must be like though – given my own experience of filming for television (a long story, and a decade ago), I imagine a 20 minute panel comedy show can take two or three hours to record.
As I wandered back to the hotel after dinner, I thought twice about doubling back to the orchestra soundstage to find out about getting tickets, but knew I had work to complete in preparation for the morning, so continued on my way.
Maybe next time.
Oh, and for all the food bloggers out there – I had Pad Thai at Wagamama.