Have you ever watched a quiz show, comedy series or televised live performance and wondered “how do I get to be one of those lucky people in the audience”? Well, today, hopefully your questions will be answered. Most likely, you’ll have to be over 16 or 18 if you’re going alone, but if an older person comes with you, you’re likely to be allowed into almost any show. However, it’s more difficult than it sounds – although tickets are free, it’s done via a lottery of entrants, so it’s almost like winning a competition. But before we delve into the infinite maze of actually getting tickets for shows you want, I’d like to tell you about a few of my own experiences, to convince you that it is definitely worth applying to.
I’ve been lucky enough to go to many TV and radio recordings. The first I ever went to was a taping of Russell Howard’s Good News, a BBC Three show that became immensely popular with young people and teenagers. I was in the very front row, and after re-watching the episode recently, you can quite clearly see me with my Dad. On the Mystery Guest segment, I was chosen to hold the guest’s bowl of salt, and when I stand up to take it the top of my head and arms is clearly in view. However, I will always be a little resentful of that show – I got to tell two hilarious stories (one of which was about a Weetabix-eating competition I had as a kid, but they were both cut. And just when I thought I had the chance to be famous!)
Radio recordings are also a lot of fun, because you get to see television stars as they really are. Radio is also a particularly good outlet for comedy, and often actually has more interesting content than the television. One show, Dilemma, was hosted by Sue Perkins (off the Bake Off) and discussed what various celebrities would do in tricky situations. Another recording I was presented by an Anglo-Indian comedian called Paul Sinha, and he talked about the history of our high-street takeaways. I promise you, it’s more interesting than it sounds, plus all of these shows are free.
The down side is, most of them are in London, so you would have to live relatively close. My parents drive up to London from Dorset, especially when they got tickets for Strictly Come Dancing. In order to apply for BBC shows, you have to go onto their website. You can do two things: “Be on the show” means actually taking part as a contestant. “Be in the audience” is exactly what it says on the tin. If the latter is more what you’re looking for, follow that link and use the filters to see the shows that are available. If you sign up to the mailing list, you’ll be the first to hear when popular shows become available, so it’s worth doing this.
If you want to appear on ITV, Channel 4 or other TV company shows, SRO Audiences is your best bet. You can find lots of shows that are currently giving out tickets. One tip is to apply for all the shows you possibly can, not just one, so you have the best chance of getting in. I’ve often applied for more than one and actually got to attend more than one show/recording!
As well as a night of free entertainment, it’s also interesting to see how these huge companies film/record the shows we all know and love. You never know – it might inspire you to work on something like this, one day! In the meantime, though, sit back and enjoy your free evening out. You’ve earned it.
Image credit: http://www.byutv.org/seethegood/post/Sign-up-to-join-football-pregame-show-at-BYUtv-studios.aspx