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Episode Guide: Series Two: Extras' Diary: 29/Aug: Dan
30th August
Episode Guides

Gone Spaced

So, I managed it. After some flashes of inspiration, some handy hints and directions from the lurvely Lucy Glover, coupled with just being overly cheeky, I got another chance to hang about on set with the Spaced crew. This was a bigger one; more members of the list would be there. "That'd be cool", I thought. Putting faces to the names I've known and been in contact with for the last few months would be pretty weird. But weird in a good way, not weird in a 'oh my god, argh' way.
Anyway, another adventure on set, another report. I guess that there'll be others this time, the sheer weight of numbers kind of implies that there will most certainly be. To be honest, this just gives me another chance to write about something I loved doing and, on a personal note, record my thoughts and all that jazz down for posterity and my own perverse amusement.
The time that I found out about coming on set, i.e. the day before, didn't really allow me the opportunity to write the same kind of 'waiting game' introduction as I did before. You know what? I am so glad. The last thing I wanted to do was to repeat myself again and again and again.
Well, anyway, after a little phoning, I got my details: 'barfly' in Camden, wear what you would to a blur gig. "Excellent", my mind raced, "I can handle that!" As a confirmed blur addict, it should be easy enough.
"So, a blur t - shirt would be handy then?" I smugly asked the tireless Nira.
"No, copyright problems" she replied.
My bubble of smart - ass - edness rightfully burst, she relayed the last few details to me and I waited for tomorrow to come.
As I laid in bed I got to thinking; at least this time the day would be a much more palatable way of meeting people. It was very groovy music to my ears that clothes were very much the order of the day. No need for semi or even partial nakedness on my part, and that's always a good sign.

There was no getting around it; I had to get up early in the morning. The guy's house who I normally kip 'round, if I am in London for any reason, wasn't available for reasons much too dull to transcribe here. Without a place to spend the night, I had to commute in directly from home. It's not too bad really, but I still had to be up about half four. Not nice. Even worse when you have to put contacts in and you nearly blind yourself in the process.
The train caught, I could relax again. My mind buzzing through the mire of doubts and issues always raised when I do anything like this. Meeting new people, meeting, once again, people whom I greatly admire, all things to worry about for one reason or another.
My view slowly changed from mist hugged Essex fields to suburban sprawl and then the bright lights of London Town. All this stuff, by the way, is being written as I am on set, this little intro and the basis of the first few chapters is filling in time between takes, but more of that later.
After a lot of messing about with trains, including realising I would be way too early and killing lots of time in Euston station, I emerged from the dingy Camden station, my eyes having grown way too accustomed to the yellow subterranean light I'd experienced for the last few hours of my life.
Looking around, memories of nights out flooded back to me. 'The World's End' one way, 'Jazz Café' the other. Good nights and bad. Odd flashbacks of Vanessa, Random Groove Movement and Dewar's on the rocks.
It was here, in this blurred haze that I noticed people I thought I should recognise. A few listers, or at least that is who I thought they were. They were milling about in a 'new places' kind of way. I thought to stop and say hi there and then, but I thought that could be risky. Asking complete strangers 'are you spaced?' could solicit one of many adverse responses, not least body blows or, at a minimum, chafing to my pride.
As it turned out, all four of these guys were from the list. Introductions and much backward walking later, we arrived outside the venue for today's proceedings near enough on time, ready for anything.

Rachel was running around as usual. Another unsung hero of the crew I think, she organised us really well and put us all in the mood for a great day's filming (further from the last report, this time I made sure that I wrote names I caught down so I could pay tribute properly, anyway, back to the main story…) Having signed our souls away on the release forms, we were told what was going to be going on. As we sat about in the snug waiting, more and more of our number trickled in. Greetings were exchanged and smiles issued as we talked of previous events and those that would soon be upon us. Having been moved about a lot, one side of the bar, over to the other, back to where we were, outside, where Simon and Jess came along to say 'hi' to us all and shake hands / give hugs to the masses (thanks for the autograph Jess!!), and then upstairs, we chatted more about people's various journeys in and the obvious hellish return trips.

After a little wait in there, we were led back downstairs and positioned on the set, nodding greetings back to Si and Jess again. At first I was issued with an actual 'motion', cunningly accurately described as 'walking back from bar with pints'. However, my performance, due to lack of experience of this novel event (as my friends will no doubt lay testament to), was less than convincing and my motion was seized from me and I return to just being one of the throng. From 'man walking back from bar with pints' to 'man' in just two takes. Anonymity. Comforting. Where you're able to watch the action and not be too self - conscious.
Having shot various versions of this first bar scene, we were pretty much redundant until the very end of the day. Now, until we broke for lunch, we just sat back and watched the rest of filming.
Again, as before, I wish I could share with you these scenes we saw. Very funny they were, but as before, it'd be more than my life is worth to let slip any details.
During one of the takes, Ed tapped my shoulder and said hi again.
"Nice to see you back… and with your shirt on," he beamed.
"Yeah, it is…" having spent the last, really amazing, shoot in a rat - infested hole, semi naked and sweating like a bastard in church, today was positively refined.
In this time, we saw extreme emotions and new renditions of songs. I don't think anyone there will forget the amazing new rendition of Craig David's "Seven Days". The Michael Caine (circa Alfie) tip that Simon introduced into the mix made for amazing viewing. As did his and Jess' portrayal of various Big Brother members. You live by the sword, y'know. Further in, more musical bits, including Jess' genteel interpretations of modern cuts. "Back for another of those block rocking beats" indeed…

So, I guess it was at about this time that we broke for lunch. This gave us more time to get to know each other and the cast better.
Trudging across and down, we made our way to the buses over in Safeway's car park. After literally burning onboard for a few minutes, we all clambered off and milled about. Eating, drinking, generally hanging.
As a few of us assembled, we were readying our cameras for action. This was one of the main reasons I was desperate to return on set. The cursing that went through my mind when I realised that I had missed out on getting some last time is not even half printable now. Even an X certificate would leave me on dangerous ground. I was, pushed by the way too persuasive Sian and Lu, to collar someone. When Edgar walked passed, I asked if we could get a few snaps of the cast with the listers. He simply said no problem and called for Simon who, in turn, rounded up the gang, now including Nick Frost and Peter Serafnowicz for poses.
Flashgun chaos ensued. Runs of films. Many angles. Watch this space for the gory details. No doubt, even as I am writing this, a road - weary Nick Lee is uploading all his piccies.
Now, and at various other times during the rest of the day (and, indeed, prior to this) I had a couple more chats with Simon. Shooting had been tough he'd said, location shots being done first before any studio work, the reverse of the previous series.
After everyone had spent all their reels of film, it was nearing time to return to set. So, we trudged back round to the bar.

For the next few hours, for the most part at least, we were just kicking about waiting for our calls back onset. Various people got called in and were filmed then released. For the most part, I was just kicking about side. Not that I am moaning. It gave me a chance to talk to some of the listers, prepare some of the background work for this report and write some of my own material. From a subsequent chat with Simon it became apparent that shooting had become 'hellish'. Since I was not inside at the time, I can't tell you why or what went on during that time, maybe some other lister can, but not this one.
During this quieter time outside, I had another chat with TV's Nick Frost. He'd come down on set even though he wasn't needed. He just wanted to watch the action and hang out.
Jess, Simon and Pete all came out at various points throughout, mainly to get a break from all the action and to grab some munchies. Thanks to Messrs Frost and Pegg, I will never consume another profiterole again.
Anyway, it was late afternoon when we got pulled back in. More bar filming. More standing looking like, quote - unquote, 'drunken fools'. Some of us had more practice than was indeed necessary. It was, though, still an alien and quite difficult concept to ad-lib 'bar - chat' silently. Although, on saying that, it probably wasn't as difficult as my last foray onto the set. Silent roaring is something you really have to try to fully understand.

But anyway, to remove stress, Lu gave Si the Red Stripe that she'd been issued as a prop and he gratefully accepted.
The final scene shot, all problems with continuity sorted out and blitzed, it was all over again. That was it, no more shooting. Well, at least not for this series.
Goodbyes ensued. Listers said their farewells to each other and the cast and crew. I wandered through the now empty set, saying so long and cheers to Nira who'd been the one who'd so efficiently brought us together here. Then, walking outside, I thanked Jess and Simon again and that was pretty much it.
Well, almost. A small posse of us moved on to the pub (World's End anyone?) and had a swift round before we set off on our separate ways back to our own lives.

It was another good day, yet another for the memory. Something to hold onto. As I'd discussed with a good friend before, something to make you smile whenever you're feeling low. And, at least this time I had pictures.
Once again, I didn't think it was possible for the day to exceed my expectations in every way, but my second day on the set of the second Spaced series did it again. I met even more fantastic people, both from the cast/crew and the list as well as hooking up with those I'd previous encountered. Seeing even more of what is going to be an amazing series being made taught me more about comedy, film and writing than you could ever hope to glean without experiencing it first hand. I'm just pleased it was with such a terrific bunch of people.

I would like to thank a few people here. Some I have thanked before, either in real life or in my previous report, but I think they're all worthy of another mention. Once again, I'd like to thank, praise and generally pat on the back, Nick Lee for not only starting this whole bastard of an opportunity going, but for being a groovy guy in the flesh too. Then there's the cast, in particular Jess and Simon whom we owe deeply for the invitations as well as the first series. Then the crew, nobly lead by Edgar who is backed up by one of the tightest teams imaginable. Cheers to all of you. Moving on, you listers. Thanks for putting up with me talking shite between takes (especially those of you who endured ill advised and sometimes very short walks with me and those who I bored in the pub). Finally, ta to those crazy few who tried to convince me the first set diary wasn't all bad. Thanks a million all of you.



Copyright © Nick Lee 1999-2002.
Spaced is © Channel 4 Television.