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Episode Guide: Series Two: Extras' Diary: Dan Long
24th August
Episode Guides

After a lot of thinking, I decided to start this report at the very second I first became aware of us lot making it with them lot. A chance for us nobodies to meet, at a safe and restrainable distance, those faces that, pretty much, threw us all together. There had been talk, but then, there's talk about everything, especially on the internet. However, when it became clear through everyone's favourite web - meister, Nick Lee, (favourite? oh, shucks - Ed) that is wasn't the fantasy of some twisted dream but actually real, it got a hell of a lot more exciting. The mail came, I replied accordingly then got an email / call in return. After much to - ing and a fair share of fro - ing, I eventually spoke to Nira and, as she requested a picture and details were sent off to her the next day.
Then it was waiting.
A hell of a lot of waiting.
For someone with no patience, it was close to the Chinese Water Torture. Only with less of an oriental twang. And no water. Anyway…

People got their calls, various days were banded about. All in the vague ballpark of mid to late August. Still nothing.
It was early August when I got my call, the 11th in fact. Again, much phone based tennis. Eventually Nira and I were finally on the same court at the same time. And we both had our racquets.
I was given my date, well, a day. Next Tuesday, what is that? Umm… The… 15th.
I had a place too… Shoreditch. That's ok, it's where I hang out a lot now anyway, so, I should be able to get there alright. An underground carpark. Ok. A little, strange. More details on Monday so she said.
Oh, and one more thing… you've got to appear bare - chest… WTF!?! Umm… Ok… I guess… I suppose everyone suffers for their art, right?
So, now, it's the weekend, Saturday to be precise… I'm 25 hours from spaced-chat, 40 odd from knowing my plans and 72 from enacting them. Crazy, can man live at this break neck speed? Only one way to find out. Try.

So, Monday came around after yet another cool chat session the night before. It was about 3 in the afternoon and I got my last call. The time had got a little earlier, but at least I knew where I was going now… a deserted car park just off of Shoreditch high street. So, I travelled up Monday night to kip around my mate's house (ta Jonny!). But, despite the fact I was already knackered, sleep was not forthcoming. It was like a Christmas and a birthday rolled into one. Without all the insomnia, I had to get up at 5 to get there on time. I left at 6.20, giving myself, I thought ample time to get to my destination. I did actually manage to get there on time, but quite how I am not sure. Every single train seemed to have it in for me that day. Breakdowns, signal problems, Christ knows what. All this time, and the time I had spent more awake than asleep last night, allowed me to think out what would probably happen the next day. It then struck me that I would not only be a 'supporting artiste' on one of my favourite TV shows, but I'd also be meeting one of my comedy heroes, the Peggster himself. Christ. I would actually be meeting him! It's gonna actually happen… what would I say, just start a conversation about nothing?? "Oh, hello… I'm one of the net geeks"??
Walking along Bishopsgate was great. You could see it was going to be a great day… no clouds, bright sun.
I finally found the place I was looking for, menacing gates stood in front of me, but I was told to go 'straight to the upper level' anyway. I trudged around the long ramp that led from street level up to the open space above. Passing through the early morning parked cars, the buses and trucks loomed up in the distance. I made my way over towards them, my heart in my mouth. This was it, no turning back now. Time for action…

"Is this the place for spaced, mate?" I asked rather stupidly.
The sparks just smiled at me, "Nope. No spaced today.."
Yeah, like there's about 15 shoots on top of this place today. Anyway, I walked around the main 'star' bus, and I saw Simon and Nick eating breakfast. I half thought of banging on the window saying 'Wooh! Look at me' but then I realised that would instil the, quite correct, assumption that I was a w***er into their minds. I walked straight passed, going up to Katrina (I apologise if names are wrong by the way, I have a mind for many things, but names are not one of them) who looked important (she had a clipboard) and she took my name and gave me a release form which, she said, was just to say that 'you don't mind being filmed.' So, I filled it in and gave it back and then… just stood about. Only a few other extras had turned up and they were all mates of Edgar and his brother Oscar (or was it David Arquette?). Then, I saw my chance, Ed walked right passed…
"Hi!" I threw out.
He turned and walked up and we introduced each other. I was the first one of the spaced - out - niks to turn up, so he said, and we were talking about how the day was going to go and what I'd be doing when Ed called out.
So, it was here that I met Nick, sans lunettes but avec moustache. Again we talked about what was going on and we discussed our mutual reluctance to appear semi naked on national television.
"I remember when I saw the script 'bout four months ago," he started, "I thought, 'I must lose a few pounds', but it just didn't happen."
"I know," I exchanged, "I kinda thought the same… only problem was I had four days."
After a little in depth discussion of how even last minute bike rides don't help and that just looking at a biscuit can cause ballooning. During this meeting of dieticians, someone walked up beside me.
"Hi, Dan?"
I recognised the voice.
Turning 'round I saw it was Simon.
I smiled but my eyes must've, at this time, been saying 'fucking hell, it's actually him!!'
"Yeah, hi Simon" I responded.
We started talking more in depth about the day's filming. The b/g of the scenes we'd be doing. Now, I could tell you these things, but, Simon and Nick promised they would hunt me down with dogs if I gave away anything… and I didn't want to get that acquainted with Colin.
As we were talking I managed to wangle a couple of John Handcockers on my bootleg copy of spaced (Cheese for those Simon and Nick!). Nick wanted to start his from Jess' eye, but Simon wouldn't let him… not this time…
So, whilst all this was going on, Si pointed out that a lot of the guest stars were going to be on set with us. Just as he did, Reece Sheersmith strode passed into wardrobe, and not long after, the Bluetones showed up.
So, the first meeting split and all the extras now (including the two 'niks left to come, you know who you are) came together and sat on the bus talking about one of Ed and Oscar's mates desire to become not only semi but completely naked. That was Graham and, yes, he was mad. He later made Si corpse badly when he got his knackers out during a take. I think that says it all.
Anyway, we all bonded really well, especially after the day was over. Well, I suppose it's difficult not to bond with someone when you're screaming testosterone fuelled anger next to each other when you're only partially clothed.
I kinda lost track of time as I didn't have a watch, but soon we were bussed down to 'the location'. This was the car park underneath where the base camp was. Dank and rat infested is a polite way of describing it. Indeed, the floor manager, who's name sadly has evaded me completely, but he was a very cool guy, warned us of rats and rat based problems. It's no good having an extra who's throwing his ring or hospitalised. Still, it was very atmospheric, as I am sure you will see when it hits your screens…

Obviously, I can't tell you a lot about what we did, which is kind of a shame, but I suppose it'll make for a more entertaining and nail biting episode when it comes out. I can, though, tell you a few bits and pieces that happened without giving too much away.
Like Simon and Nicks jabbering in between takes, with references of Davros coming very much to the fore. It was, I suppose, one of those things that you had to be there to appreciate fully, although, Reece's screaming practice would be side splitting for anyone. It is next to impossible for anyone to keep a straight face when a well-respected comic actor makes noises like "Gaaaaaaaaddddddddaaaaaahh" or "MMMmnnnnnnnnnnaaaaaaaahhhhhhh" at ear splitting levels.
During takes, Simon was a very diligent host, continually asking if I was ok, alright, happy etc, which was cool. During our tea break we talked some more about the shooting (and the next seven weeks) as well as Big Train and the whole Coogan scene. We talked about the Big Train live thing that never happened at Brixton. Simon really wanted that to happen, but it just didn't… so, no one got to see the majesty of Mark Heap and Kev Eldon performing the Cat & Mouse scene. The world lost out there…
I don't think I am giving too much away if I said that we, as a collection of extras, were basically whooping, cheering and shouting in a overly manly way. In fact, if any incident had happened down there, it would have looked really dodgy; "twenty semi naked men in underground chanting society".
So, filming was going on and, for the last part of the morning's shoot, the emphasis was on another section of the scene, so we could stand around and look at what was going on. We got to see the action from almost every angle, first hand and through the monitors.

So now it was lunchtime. We all trundled back up the hill and grabbed what we wanted. Sitting around, a small group of us nipped down to the pub opposite for a quick drink. Again, names evade me now I come to write about them. Only Oscar and Phil, who I was standing next to during takes, I can remember. We had a couple then made our way back to set.
For the first part of afternoon's shooting, we didn't do anything. It was just another chance to revel in the glory that was Reece pulling an odd face or making strange noises. But, all good things come to an end and he took his bow and slipped off to do whatever a gent does when he's not recording…
A mix of more Davros 'annihilation' and coronation street stylee calls of 'I think you're right Mike' filled the air and kept us all smiling through all the takes. That was the cool thing. We must've heard the same lines a good ten or twenty times, but they never got less funny. The signs for Spaced 2 are so good it's untrue…
So, we stood about now watching Si and Nick perform. Well, I would've done if I hadn't have got called up to fill in at the edges of camera.
"Woooooooooooaaaarghhhhhhhhh Dannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn EEeeeeeiii" came Simon's war cry as I took my place on the edge of picture.
Anyway, the shots were filmed… you didn't think I'd tell you what we were doing though, did you?
But, soon, it was all coming to a close. The time had really pulled away fast. Simon and Nick took their bows and went off to get ready for another scene they were shooting later that night with new member of the cast, Lucy Ackhurst (playing Sophie). Night? What was the time? I asked Phil and it was coming up half seven. HALF SEVEN?!! A twelve hour day. Mad. We were told we could go, but a group of us wanted to see how the final frames of our scene developed. I said my goodbyes to everyone and by 7.45, we were off.
I still had ages to travel. An hour back to my mates to pick up my kit, another good 75 minutes getting home from there.
I got in well after ten, absolutely shattered, as Simon said I would be, but, contrary to what he had said, there wasn't a boring second…

So, here I sit, in my dark glasses, despite the gloom. No one can take celebrity too seriously, avoiding my new fan base has become a full time occupation… well, a guy can dream, right?
It isn't very often that a day exceeds your expectations on all front, but my day on the set of Spaced 2 really did. I suppose it's easy to sound like some twisted sycophant here, but it was an amazing day. I met some cool and groovy people, learnt some things about a career I am interested in, saw an amazing series during it's production. Most importantly I met people who I admire in the cast and crew and was blown away by how genuine and groovy they all were. All those people who are going in the next few weeks, look forward to it, it's an amazing experience. And say hi to Simon for me!

I would like to thank a few people here. First off, Nick Lee for setting up a groovy site in the first place. Then Simon, Jess and all the cast and crew for giving us the opportunity to come and see them at a safe and manageable distance, especially Nira who must've tirelessly been calling 'round to get people going.
It was a great time, one to tell the grandkids. I mean, it's not everyday you get to stand around with your writing hero whilst looking on at a LoG -er and the Bluetones. Crazy.
So, yep, that's it. My time on set, wrapped up at last! I'd just like to wish all the cast and crew a successful seven more weeks (I don't know how you do it) and that's it. Laters!


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