Ideal Flashmob at BBC MediaCityUK, Salford – June 8th, 2011

Ideal Ideal is a show of which I was a massive fan, which is now in its seventh series and is due to reach its 50th episode tomorrow night. I’d never been to a flashmob before, so had no idea what to expect.

It was due to take place at the Lowry Outlet Mall in Salford, which I’d never been to before (damn my sat-nav for telling me to ‘bear left then bear right’ etc… wouldn’t it be easier if Google Maps just painted the lines on the roads? They’d only have to be done using temporary paint that’ll wash off after a few hours and I’ll even help with that, honest!), with the rehearsals at 11am in the new BBC MediaCityUK centre.

Upon arrival, I met with Gill Isles, the producer at Baby Cow Productions, who’d set up the event and, then upstairs on the 5th floor, we gathered in a room where the rehearsals were due to take place. While the dance was a bit more complicated than I thought (it took me a while to figure out that the shape were were making was of a ’50’, if you looked at it from above… not sure if there are overheard cameras in the mall to pick up on that though :)), it was easy to get to grips with the formation after a number of rehearsal attempts and with the lead dancers at the front, and everyone just having to follow the next person in line and ensure they know where they stand, that made things a lot easier.

Arrival at MediaCityUK, amidst the lovely Manchester weather 🙂

That took us up to around 12.40pm. After a 30-min break, and thankfully a break in the dreadful Manchester weather, we walked in single file, Cartoon Head masks over our faces, over to the mall, making our way past a great number of bemused spectators, wondering what on earth was going on – and even more so when we arrived at the food court to a special area that was set out for us. Once the music began (to the show’s theme, “Song of the Oss” by Candidate), we got into place, then all turned to face the front and raise, then lower, the Cartoon Head masks as directed. There was a bit of a hiccup with the audio as it was meant to subsequently have Johnny Vegas shouting, “Do you wanna biscuit?!” (you’ll hear this on the song link) but it cut out mid-biscuit, and as the theme began to play as we left, again in single file, it stopped soon after it began. It’ll all smoothed over in the final edit, though, so I’m sure Cartoon Head would give it the thumbs up 🙂

Amongst the 50-or-so ‘Cartoon Heads’ present at the event, and from the show, were the excellent Seymour Mace (twins Steve/Craig, Series 1-5) and Peter Slater (god-fearing boiler man Alan, Series 3-5) – if you’ve not seen either of them live, you’re really missing out (I have to confess I haven’t seen them together in their Sundayland project, though) – and while I was there I met some people from the Ideal Forum (which sadly no longer exists), Persia (Steve) and Moo (Neil), plus some others (sorry, I didn’t catch everyone’s name) including those who were stood either side of me during the flashmob itself and the rehearsals.

Afterwards, once a number of photos were taken back at the BBC, upstairs in the rehearsal room and downstairs in the foyer and also in one of the lifts, at around 2pm we were all done and said our goodbyes. I had a wonderful time and I’d love to do something like that again in the future.

You can see a news piece about it here and the video’s on Youtube below, and don’t forget to tune in Thurs, June 9th, 10.30pm on BBC3 for the 50th episode entitled, “The Brothel”.

(I’m about 23 seconds into the video, right at the back of the semi-formed ‘0’ – I’m the penultimate one from the end, and then at 27 seconds as some others skip in front :))

A close-up of me and my mask, which we were allowed to keep (yay! :D)

All the Cartoon Heads…
(click for large image)

(click for large image)