Pulse Films asked me if I'd like to appear on bid TV for their 10th Anniversary celebration week; Andrew Stone would be joining the host and they wanted me to be a mannequin in the show. The idea was that I would start of static mannequin and then start moving in a robotic fashion. It sounded fun so I said I'd be up for it.
The taxi arrives in plenty of time, and I set off to the bid TV studios in Acton. The Studio takes a little bit of finding as it is on an industrial estate, also once we finally find it, there is no one around to let us in; eventually I see someone I recognised from pulse and we are let into the studio.
I have over an hour to get ready, which is normally plenty of time. We sort out what I will wear and I start on my make-up. I decided to use the liquid latex make-up that I normally use for my CPR character; the only disadvantage is if you get it into your eye, it can all go horribly wrong, as your eyes water with ammonia and then the latex just dissolves, as it did on the Tricky TV shoot; sometimes you just have to pull it all off and start again (Since then I've developed a technique where I leave a gap round the eye and fill this in with the same flesh coloured pan stick. This also means your eyes don't start to hurt after a few hours).
The make-up goes on well, and I I’m pretty much ready. We now have to decide how to get me into the set during the "live" TV transmission!! I obviously hadn't been paying attention, because they said to me originally, "don't worry if it doesn't work, we can do it again", which lead me to believe that the show was being recorded. So live TV.. and only one chance to get it right....
We rope in two stage hands, and find them suitable "moving men" overalls to wear. The options to get me onto the set were 1) being carried on, or 2) being wheeled on, (which is a more controlled option, if you can find a sack trolley robust enough). They find one, but one wheel collapses when I stand on it, after a bit more searching, they manage to find a more robust one, that we decided would be suitable.
The plan was that I would be moved into position wearing a coat that bid TV are featuring on the show. The presenters are to talk about the coat, and then after 30 seconds, I am to start to move robotically. Pulse would then dub in "Herbie Hancock's Rockit", for use on the “Louie Spence's Show Business”, but in the studio I wouldn’t be able to hear this, so I had previously memorised the tune, and would play it in my head (In the end Pulse used the robotic performer's standard of Kraftwerk).
So.. I’m waiting in the wings, standing on the trolley. The stage hands are there, we get the signal to go, and they wheel me into shot. Everything works well, and they manage the difficult transition from trolley to floor, that we had practised a few times earlier on, which consisted of one of the stage hands standing in front of me and stopping me from falling over while I’m tipped forwards and the trolley is removed, and then pushing me back so I’m standing vertically on the set floor.
Everything is going well, and I’m counting down in my head 30 seconds, ready to start moving…. but the presenters are still around me, talking about the coat, which wasn’t in the plan… so following instructions, I start moving, which startles the presenters a little, but they continue like true professionals; (It's amusing to watch the video to see their reaction). After a couple more sets of robotic movement, the presenters move onto another item, and I simply walk off the set.