BAFTA 2014: The chaos you don’t see on camera

bafta

Where I stood for the ceremony, the red carpet is behind those security dudes.

 

For those of you who watch the BAFTAs on TV, you probably just see the glitz and the glamour and the celebrities – which is what it’s about really but here is an account from how I saw things at the BAFTAs red carpet and what it feels like being there.

First of all, being a fan by the BAFTAs red carpet takes serious dedication. You need to get wristbands and you need to get them early. The website tells to queue at the Theatre Royal around the corner at 7am to collect them. There are only 500 wristbands available. I arrived at 8am (admittedly, a bit late) and I was number 760, therefore, no wristband for me. Some people stayed all day, hoping to drop lucky but I decided (the bitter cold helped with this) to go home for a few hours and return at midday when the fan pens were filling up.

Dermot O'Leary practices his presenting script.

Dermot O’Leary practices his presenting script.

Wristband holders are told to come back at midday to be filled into the pens – but people didn’t adhere to that and by 12, the pavement was jammed with people waiting to get in. I did not even try and just went to my trusted ‘lucky corner’ which I have occupied two years previously. I never arrived in time for wristbands and I’ve always managed to see celebs from here, because that is where the cars arrive. You can see my view from the picture above. I always get there about midday anyway because then you have bagged yourself a good spot before anyone queueing for the pens gets turned away (and when they proceed to fill up behind you).

The fans make it seem like the red carpet pens are the place to be but it is all down to chance. You may get there early in the morning to bag a wristband but if you don’t come back early enough for the filing in, you could be three rows back and not be able to see a thing. Being next to the red carpet is only advantageous if you can actually see what is happening. I’ve decided I’m not going to try for wristbands anymore and just stick to my corner. It has served me well three years in a row. Admittedly, last year was a failure because of the rain and everyone was hidden under umbrellas, but that was a problem wherever you where stood.

Fearne Cotton running through her E! introduction.

Fearne Cotton running through her E! introduction.

I had my best position yet  – with direct view of the red carpet and a little lady in front of me so short that I could see over her completely. WIN. At one point, I had a massive guy stand next to me and elbowed so vigorously that he essentially took my spot but luckily after 10 minutes, he got bored and left. You always get rude people like that and what makes me laugh even more was that when I called him up on it, he called me childish!!! You cannot believe some people. But I’ve been to premieres enough times to know that there is always one. I have the slight satisfaction knowing he got moved along from the place he relocated to, so he didn’t get to see the show at all.

My area is the only viewing area you don’t need a wristband for and you are at the start of the action. You are the people screaming to let everyone else know that someone big has arrived. That waiting area gets very, very crowded so you have maintain a tight parameter and keep a firm stance on your spot. I prefer to come to these on my own because you don’t have to worry about anyone else. Most people will complain about their feet, that they ache, they need to pee, they’re hungry etc etc and I can’t deal with that. The girl behind me kept whining and I wanted to tell her to man up or go home.

Bad Sam Claflin shot.

Bad Sam Claflin shot.

So 4.30pm comes around and cars start arriving, everyone is primed and ready for action with cameras. This position will not get you signatures (although the lovely Sam Claflin was the only celeb to come over to us) and cameras can be tricky, so I gave up and just watched with my own eyes. It is a shame not to get pics, but I would rather see it happen than obsess over missing good shots. At our point, the celebs get out, we scream, they smile and wave at us and then they turn and walk up the red carpet. The time to take pictures is so small that it is very difficult, so it’s easier to just watch.

For the first 20 minutes, we don’t recognise anyone but there is always the anticipation of ‘who is getting out the car?!’ that is so thrilling. It feels great to be the first person to say the name. Then everyone starts chanting and there’s such camaraderie within the crowd (unless there’s a dickhead) that we are all excited and sharing names and what movies they’re in etc. Christoph Waltz is the first to arrive and he’s such a cool guy but very short so most people did not see him. The first BIG BIG person to arrive was Leonardo DiCaprio. He got out his car, on my side, right in front of us so we got the first look at him and he smiled at us!! I’m not a massive girly girl but I squealed so bad. That image is imprinted in my brain.

Oprah Winfrey got huge cheers.

Oprah Winfrey got huge cheers.

Then the cars arrive thick and fast – sometimes three at a time – and you’re constantly moving your eyes, scanning for a famous face. There are a few that slip through the cracks purely because there is so much going on. Not all celebs acknowledge us and just head for the red carpet, which means we don’t always get a good look at their faces (I don’t count that as a spot). There will also be times when we don’t react to someone but then the red carpet pen guys start asking for autographs and you’re like “who?!” It is manic but so exciting at the same time. You are on such a high. I can’t adequately explain.

Maggie Gyllenhaal stepped out her car right in front of us and nobody reacted and I was the only one who shouted Maggie – she smiled and waved right at me!! WOOHOO! Besides those two big moments and Sam Claflin coming to see us, we saw everyone but just as a polite smile and wave. I thought I had seen everyone but I got home to watch the show and realised some celebs slipped my notice and I don’t even know how.

Anyway, going to the BAFTAs as a fan is mental but absolutely worth it. If you have the dedication to get up at an ungodly hour and then stay there all day to bag a good spot, then you were reap the benefits. The views will be amazing. However, you have to note that having a wristband does not guarantee you a good viewing position. If, like me, you want to go but not be there from 7am, my lucky corner is the best bet but you still have to put in a good 4-5 hours of waiting before the pay off. The amount of celebs you see within 2 hours is phenomenal and you won’t get another opportunity like it in England. It is worth the wait. Nothing else is quite like it.

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