The T-Room
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Filming the T-Bag Reunion DVD

Day 1

Day 1 was on Saturday 21st April. I woke on my brother's floor where I had been given space to sleep after a restful night. I was surprised at how well I had slept considering what lay ahead of me that day. Troy and I made sure that we had packed up the car, and set a course for central London, and Lee Pressman's house at 8.00am.

It turned out that I had made good judgement as to how long the journey would take, as we arrived just before 10.00am, as Lee had advised us to. Troy and I stared blankly at the row of houses, unsure of which one it was. Since I had been there before, however, I knew which end of the row to start looking, and lo and behold, Lee had stuck a T-Leaf to the door, so I knew which house it was.

I steeled myself, and tried to squash the butterflies in my stomach. I did not know who would already be there, and felt very nervous about walking into a room full of people whom I had followed and admired throughout my life. I bit the bullet, however, and knocked the door.

Lee and Grant both greeted me with a hearty handshake, and introduced me to the crew, who were unpacking large crates of wires and equipment.

The first star to arrive was Kellie Bright. I had sworn to myself to conduct myself with dignity and integrity and not fall to pieces at the first sign of a celebrity. However, when Kellie came into the room and introduced herself, this soon went out of the window, and I found myself wrapping my arms around her and giving her a big, affectionate hug. I think she was quite taken aback by this, since she had only offered a hand. I introduced myself as a mad fan. I think that she understood.

Kellie, Grant and Lee went down to the garden, and I stayed in the lounge and watched the crew setting up. I checked to see if they wanted me to bring in the costumes and all my bits and pieces, but they said that it was too early.

Eventually, Troy and I went down to the garden to join everyone. We took "fanzy" photos of Kellie, Lee and Grant, and I snuck into one of them myself. Kellie Bright is every bit as lovely in real life as she is in her films and photos.

Grant, Kellie and Lee

It wasn't long before Elizabeth Estensen arrived. She came through the door into the garden and when I saw her, I gasped. She is an enchanting and elegant lady in both deportment and character, and seems to project an aura of real serenity. Shortly after her arrival, the film crew set up in the garden to do Kellie's interview. Whilst Kellie was being filmed, the rest of us went upstairs to the lounge.

Setting up Kellie's interview

In the lounge, Elizabeth, Grant and Lee went through some of the photographs that were taken during the filming of the show, and I joined in the conversation.

Elizabeth going through some photographs with Lee and Grant

Kellie joined after her interview, and the film crew started setting up for the group interview in the lounge. Whilst they were doing that, I took a photograph that caught Elizabeth and Kellie unawares whilst they looked through my collection of Raymond Childe's costume designs. I did tell them to tell me to buzz off if they though I was turning into the paparazzi.

Smile, you're on Candid Camera!

The next person to arrive (as far as memory serves), was John Hasler. He was eagerly awaited by both Elizabeth and Kellie, since neither of them had seen him since doing the show. He walked into the room to enthusiastic greeting from all. They all had a good natter after that, and John filled them in on his adventures since the show ended. When he mentioned his wedding, he added "As exclusively revealed on a T-Bag Website" playfully. I did blush a bit, and apologised (equally playfully).

It was then time for the group interview. It wasn't really an interview as such, but more of a series of recollections from the assembled cast. I was quite surprised at how little they could remember to start with, but as they looked through the props, photos and sketches from the show, the memories came flooding back, and they all had a lovely chat about the show together. I was amazed that Elizabeth had completely forgotten saying her most frequently uttered line ("YOU STUPID BOY!") when Lee requested that she say it once more for the road. She did, however, deliver the line once more. Don't know if this will be on the DVD, but I hope so. I can't say too much about the interviews because I don't want to spoil the DVD!

Group interview setup

Once the interview was complete, we went for an early lunch. During lunch, a fire alarm sounded next door, and we all sat, dismayed that filming could not continue until the alarm stopped. It continued to sound for a few more minutes, and then we all began to look a little concerned. Then, we could all smell smoke. Kellie Bright was concerned, so she called 999 and asked for the fire brigade. It turned out that the house at the back of Lee's had in fact caught fire. The fire brigade turned up very quickly, and put it out. John Hasler said mischievously, " That'll be in the national newspapers - 'KELLIE BRIGHT SAVES HOUSE".

Next up for interview was Elizabeth Estensen. It was just after lunch, so she asked John to check and see if her teeth were alright (i.e. free from cream cheese from the sandwiches). As she flashed her teeth at John, he assured her that the cream cheese looked great. In my mind, this scene could have fallen straight from the pages of a T-Bag script. It was priceless.

Now came the second mishap of the day. I asked Elizabeth if I could sit in on the interview, and she kindly agreed. The scene was set. My tailor's dummy was set up in the background wearing the replica velvet dress, and a white chair was in place for Elizabeth to sit on. After she had quickly checked her face and makeup, she settled down in the chair for the interview. Then it happened. As the sound crew were setting up their equipment, they dropped a dirty great big microphone smack on Elizabeth's head, catching her in the eye. Everyone gasped. Everything froze. Elizabeth was quite shaken up. The film crew decided to reschedule her interview, but, consummate professional as she is, Elizabeth shook it off, checked her eye to make sure it wasn't blackened or swollen, and soldiered on. She delivered a very witty interview, including the now famous impersonation of Leon Thau.

Troy (not a T-Bag fan) decided to nip out to Knightsbridge for the day, so he left me to it at Lee's.

The next interview was Glyn Edwards (director of "Rings of Olympus" and "Sunstones of Montezuma" and all associated Christmas specials). Orignally, he was not able to attend, but happily, he did manage to come. I didn't attend his interview (unfortunately), but I went out to take more photographs. Raymond Childe and Jennie Stallwood had both arrived, and I took some group photographs. Elizabeth Estensen suggested that she should be holding a teacup, so I passed her one from the table, and she can be seen holding it in the photographs. She did drink some tea during the day, but she also drank coffee, and apologised each time she did, which I thought was amusing.

Lovely group photo

Next up to be interviewed was Jennie Stallwood. We had a nice chat beforehand about what she had been doing since leaving the show, and I voiced my surprise that she had not stayed in acting, because to my mind, she is a good actress. She told me that she had chosen not to continue, and was devoting her energies to other things in her life, such as her family. She was very easy to talk to, and very down to earth. We posed for some photographs before her interview took place, and I had a minor mishap because the film crew wanted me to move the dummy that was still set up from earlier. The room by now looked like a plane crash, and I had to lift the dummy above my head and pick my way gingerly through all the cables without being able to see where I was putting my feet because I had a mouthful of the velvet costume. It was a team effort to guide me out, but, unfortunately, I still managed to tread on Jennie's foot. I asked her if she was alright. She was fine. I hadn't put my whole weight down. God help her if I had - her foot would have been as flat as a bug.

Jennie Stallwood and me

During the interview, we had to stop a couple of times because everyone was talking so loudly in the back garden that it was coming out on sound. Also, my stomach kept rumbling throughout the interview, and this came out on sound also. I hope it doesn't come out on the DVD. If it does, it was me, and I can't apologise enough. £15 to hear my tummy rumble, anyone?

Matt Zimmerman was up next. He was a larger than life personality. I found him very likeable, but he was also a very imposing character. I had been in the garden earlier earwigging and joining in on a conversation on getting T-Bag released, his career as a film actor, etc. His interview was very entertaining, although he can not be considered politically correct by any stretch of the imagination. Hopefully, this will come out on the DVD. I came in useful here (as I did in other interviews) as a memory prompt.

Raymond Childe was the next interview. He is such a nice bloke. His quiet and gentle personality belies the huge talent this man hides! I adore his work and owe him a debt of thanks for inspiring me to start costuming as one of my hobbies. He presented me with a series of photo albums stuffed full of photographs from behind the scenes of T-Bag. He also gave me the negatives, the original design sketch for the velvet dress, the Gardener's costume sketch and a shawl that was used on the show. His interview was conducted with him surrounded by the original costumes from the show. Afterwards, we had a chat about costuming, the work that he was currently doing, the work that I am currently doing (a series of bridemaids' dresses for my brother's wedding - HELP!), and what a tough task it can be at times.

Raymond Childe pictured during a recent project (centre front)

I returned to the garden, and Terry Trower (composer) was taken away to be interrogated.

An amusing conversation took place in the garden between Elizabeth, John and Grant. They were talking about travelling on the train, and Elizabeth was talking about the way in which you are expected to behave if you are well known. She said that no matter how tired you are, you cannot fall asleep on a train because there will always be people with mobile phones to take your picture, and you will have your mouth wide open and be dribbling everywhere. She did the actions, and lolled her head around with her mouth wide open (she didn't do the dribbling everywhere bit, though). John laughed, "You'd probably end up in 'Heat' magazine - 'ELIZABETH ESTENSEN DRUNK AGAIN'".

Liz and Grant chat in the garden over lunch

Troy had come back from Knightsbridge to see how we were getting on. It was the end of the day, and people were starting to leave. Troy gave Elizabeth his travel card for the tube which was still valid. Elizabeth thanked him very much and said, "Oh, my goodness! It's an all expenses paid trip!". We all laughed. When she left, I told her that it had been a priviledge to meet her, and gave her a big hug. Kellie, Jennie and John also got big hugs from me as they left.

We gathered up all our bits and pieces and left shortly afterwards just South of 5pm. We went off to Twickenham to find the curiosity shop used in the first episode.

Go to day 2