IT isn’t often the South African media are extended an invitation to BBC Worldwide’s international annual showcase. So Tonight jumped at the opportunity when we received one to their event at the ACC Liverpool in February.
The pulsating atmosphere inside the enormous arena was a good distraction from the plummeting temperatures in the UK at the time. The three showcase theatres were hives of activities with demonstrations and, on the other end of the building, more than 700 of the world’s biggest TV buyers went through the BBC’s extensive catalogue of programming.
After a tour, the media were ensconced in the showcase lounge awaiting a plethora of back-to-back interviews with a slew of talent from all the big upcoming series.
Among the highlights of the one-on-ones was meeting the dreamy cast of the adventure drama series, The Musketeers, talent from Mr Sloane and Rev, as well as the creatives behind the hit series, Sherlock.
Just as our brains were about to collapse from exhaustion, it was time for a quick rush back to the hotel to get into an outfit worthy of the red carpet affair planned for the gala spectacular.
And what an affair it was.
Guests were seated at gorgeously set tables in the massive arena, with the incorrigibly witty and charismatic Graham Norton as the host of The World’s Storyteller Gala.
Suffice to say, the guests were kept in stitches the whole night.
Aside from the adrenalin rush from watching The Stig drive around the Top Gear guys as well as do a few stunts involving lots of burning rubber, we were also treated to a dance spectacular by the professional dancers of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa.
Sir David Attenborough also joined Norton on stage and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Other highlights included Norton walking around chatting to the talent, and introducing the new Doctor Who – Peter Capaldi.
It was a truly awe-inspiring night with top-notch cuisine, copious amounts of wine and mind-blowing entertainment; coupled with a DJ to keep the party going after the festivities ended. Now that’s a showcase of note – the Brits definitely know how to throw a bash!