Last Monday was one of the most exciting days of Mama J’s life! Did she get married? No, she’s like the Destiny’s Child song title suggests, one of a many these days (oh how old do I sound) Independent Women. Come girls throw your hands up at me! Did she have a baby? Well, she’s looking far too rested to have just given birth and her figure has definitely popped back into shape quicker than any other mortal being on the planet. Oh and she’s my Mama J and she knows I won’t share her with anyone else baby, puppy, kitten, horse or otherwise. Next question, did she move out? No, we (that’s the Royal we in Mama J’s Carson and Mrs Patmore led way) are still languishing in village luxury, where twenty minute showers are the order of every day. So what could possibly have happened in Mama J’s life that was so amazing? A tour around the Emmerdale Studios!
For a soap loving diva like Mama J this was her most favourite Christmas present of them all and something she’d been so eager to do since it was given to her by Granny and Grandpa on 25 December. What a long time ago that all seems now! Mama J has just got over the recreation of Dale Winton’s Supermarket Sweep that befell her eyes in the run up to the big day.
So last Monday I was ushered off Grandpa’s lap and placed in my bed and told to be a good girl, as if I could be anything other! Mama J had a big grin on her face like a child going for a day out at a fun fair. I don’t think there was candy floss but Mama J’s appetite for soapy facts was most definitely wet.
The trip there wasn’t without incident. Grandpa had consulted his Mapping Director named Mr Google who had told him which way to drive. However Mrs Sat-Nav had other ideas and kept directing them in totally the other direction. All they needed was One Direction blasting out on the radio at the point of every change in direction and Grandpa’s head would’ve been in a right old spin. They finally found the turn off to the ITV studios and saw the massive sign for Emmerdale. Yes, Sam Smith would’ve been proud as the writing really was on the wall there. They got out of the car and started walking towards the Emmerdale sign, however Grandpa must’ve had a premonition as he sensed they were going the wrong way. No, Mrs Sat-Nav or Mr Google required here just pure directional skill and a couple of kindly builders pointing the way in. Mama J did think they should’ve gone along to the main studios though for an element of soap star superstar spotting, totally by accident of course, yeah right!
Once they were in the purpose built studios they were greeted by really friendly staff. One lady on reception asked Mama J who her favourite character was and got a shock when Mama J replied, “Charity.” The lady looked bemused and said that was a first however when Mama J explained that, “She gets all the best lines!” the lady agreed with her that the character did get a well written script.
Once 11.30am on the dot came around their Tour Guide Sarah ushered them through into a room to watch a compilation video of some of Emmerdale’s best scenes and characters over the years. Granny could just about remember some of the clips however Grandpa who is not a big fan of any of the soaps (he prefers a Clint Eastwood Western or a dry history documentary) couldn’t remember hardly any of the scenes. Although he did remember Pasty Kensit in the role of the glamorous Sadie King. From there they were told how the storylines were framed together and that drawings are done in the planning of how a scene is set up. By the way it takes months for each half hour episode to be written. They really do need to pull their fingers out somewhat, I have a week turnaround to produce this level of written blogging brilliance! It was then onto wardrobe and make-up. Mama J and Granny were keen to have a peek at the clear containers with each character’s make-up products in them to see what lipsticks and eyeshadows their favourite actresses wore. The tour moved through to props where Granny enjoyed fingering Seth’s fish (it wasn’t as rude as it sounds)! From there they got to see some of the famous sets. Bernice’s salon was the first set they saw, (Grandpa was tempted to ask where Bernice was as he’s a Samantha Giles fan) where they got to learn about camera angles and lighting of the sets. Then it was onto Rhona and weirdo Pierce’s (he’s such an odd ball) living room where they could do a 10 second filmed piece to camera. Mama J declined the filming part but did have a picture taken on this set.
The next set was the famous Dingle room where they learnt how certain scenes were constructed. The final set was The Woolpack Pub which was brilliant as they all had a sit down and could have photos taken at the bar. As well as the sets they saw a scaled down version of the full Emmerdale village, which was fabulously built by the makers of Wallace and Gromit, sadly Shaun the Sheep wasn’t being sheared at the Barton’s farm. They were also told about some of the larger stunt scenes. Cameron Murray’s final stand-off where The Woolpack’s cellar flooded was actually filmed at Pinewood Studios. This is the studio where amongst other things, James Bond is filmed. I bet even the Emmerdale actors turned the wrong way in the car park if Mr Daniel Craig was down there on the days they were filming.
Mama J really enjoyed it as she is such a massive fan of the show although Grandpa surprised the gentleman on reception and himself by announcing, “I’m embarrassed to say this but I actually really enjoyed it!” I wish I could’ve gone on the tour although I may not have got on with the Dingle’s handsome dog Alfie. Safer to guard the house I reckon than go get in a fight with a brawling Dingle!
To top the whole Emmerdale filled week off nicely, yesterday Mama J was at work and she got asked from a lady if she could borrow a pound for a trolley. The lady in question was Kate McGregor who used to play Emily Wylie/Dingle/Kirk in the soap. Mama J much to Grandpa’s annoyance didn’t let on that she recognised her as she didn’t want to embarrass the lady while she was doing her grocery shop. Although she did say she was very lovely and naturally so pretty.