London Evening Standard British Film Awards: My experience

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Last night I managed to bag myself an invite to the London Evening Standard’s British Film Awards, which were making a comeback after a three-year absence at the BBC Television Centre. I was incredibly excited but nervous because I had only ever covered red carpet arrivals, I’ve never been allowed in and I had no idea what to expect. Here’s a run-down of my night:

Firstly, I had to dress ‘to party’, which filled me with horror as I am not a dress up person, and even when you think you’ve done a decent job and look up to scratch, you turn up and see what other people are wearing and feel like a frumpy mum. Anyway, clothes aside, I was also going alone and I didn’t know any journo friends covering inside so I turned up to the champagne reception later cos hanging around on your own at a reception is not cool (and I am terrible at networking).

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My first experience of flashiness was an usher escorting me from the front gate to the “non-VIP entrance” with an umbrella to protect me from the rain – what a lovely chap! – could get used to this. I then arrived at the reception which was packed, and I mean you simply could not move. It was a nightmare trying to get to the cloakroom, then the line for the invites and then on to the toilet. So I assumed the celebs would be off in some fancier section – but no, they were all in the rabble too. I first spotted Ugly Betty’s Ashley Jensen and then Tom Hughes from About Time in the queue for the unisex loos (couldn’t remember his name so wrote ‘dude from About Time’ on my phone).

I got back into the reception area with 10 minutes to spare before the ceremony was scheduled to start and I got twitchy with nothing to do, so I began circling around to see who I could spot – including Emma Thompson (love her!!!) chatting with Terry Gilliam, Rob Brydon and then Tom Courtenay. I also saw Stanley Tucci, but I’ve seen him a ton of times now so not so special (even though he’s still fantastic).

I headed into the show on time cos I figured I would have a better view of everyone filing in and I did – I spotted Maggie Smith, Maisie Williams (who was wearing a fabulous playsuit), Emilia Fox (gorgeous dress), Vanessa Redgrave and Agyness Deyn. Still managed to miss a couple of big ones though!

The ceremony was great fun but started half an hour late (no surprise). Comedian Simon Amstell was a hilarious host and everyone was on comedic top form and made a lot of comments about diversity. I felt so privileged to be there. I was right at the back so some of my pictures are pretty shocking. Here’s a slideshow of the only usable ones!

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I was gutted I missed Idris Elba and Matthew Perry in the reception room – but luck was on my side! I walked away from my chair to get in the cloakroom as quickly as possible when I realised I had left my cardigan on my chair. After I collected my coat, I went to go back into the ceremony area but the entrance was clogged with people so I stood aside to let a line of people come through – which included MATTHEW PERRY! Chandler Bing is my favourite in Friends. I was buzzing! He walked right by me! I have always been near celebs with a stage or barrier between us, so this was exciting.

After I retrieved by cardigan, I walked back through the reception area where Idris was having a drink. He is tall! After slying checking him out for a few seconds, I headed out and guess who I saw smoking by the exit?! MATTHEW PERRY! I walked past him twice! I hope I didn’t gawp too much. He was in conversation with a friend otherwise I might have made some gushing fan girl statement.

I walked away from ceremony really bloody happy to have been invited, to be near these people and at an event celebrating film. I hope this leads to bigger and better things. Watch this space!

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