This post isn’t exactly in the theme of Christmas, but I thought I’d tell it anyway 😊

In October 2016, I was given the amazing and door-opening opportunity to appear on ITV’s The Agenda with ITV News’ Political Editor Tom Bradby. I was on a panel with about nine others, being flung questions at with no preparation from Tom, whilst he was conversing and discussing our answers with the likes of Jeremy Paxman which made it even more terrifying.

Credit: ITV Press Centre
This all came about because of an article I wrote about the Brexit vote (which you can read here) back in June of this year on The Huffington Post. So when the invite to appear on the show popped into my inbox, I was so excited and nervous in equal measures – not only was it going to be primetime and on ITV, but filmed at Pinewood Studios.
After a 4 hour train ride and about an hour and a half on tubes (I came from Plymouth to London), I finally arrived at Pinewood. The studios look amazing and is surrounded by posters of the movies made there. I’ve included a picture of the outside, it looks so cool 😎
When I entered the studios, I was guided to a little seating area where all the other guests were sat and we all had a little small talk, although they were really busy with emails and other such things. Around us were pictures of shows that have been recorded there such as 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Still Open All HoursΒ and Birds of A Feather, as well as the dressing rooms of those who starred on Still Open All Hours being just down the corridor πŸ˜‹
After an hour of waiting, we were finally led to the studio of The Agenda, which looked really awesome and was only revealed the week before the Pinewood shoot. Once I was shown my seat on the second row, the sound guy came over to mic me up. I had to take my necklace off and leave it in my pocket as it would hit against the mic, but oh well.
Once mic’d, it was time to start shooting the episode. Tom Bradby came in and took his seat, proceeding to do mic checks with each of us experts describing what we did with our summer. He asked us questions about Brexit and what side we chose to vote, also a couple of questions about what the vote meant to different people. Then it was time to bring the main panelists (Jeremy Paxman, Susanne Evans etc) on to the set and into their positions on the panel.
It was so weird seeing some of the most high-profile people in the country in the flesh, especially Jeremy Paxman. He’s so serious on Newsnight, in debates and other things, so it was strange seeing him have banter and make everyone laugh, making fun of the fact that Tom has three pillows on his chair to keep him taller than he really is (I probably shouldn’t have told you that, but hey I’ve written it now 😝).
The show got underway and everyone on the main panel was having a fierce debate about Brexit and what it means for our country. There isn’t a link to the episode sadly, but there are clips that you can see on The Agenda’s Twitter page (here, here and here). The debate was so lively and Tom could barely even get a word in that I never actually got the chance to speak on the show, but I was spotted on the telly up in the second row, as everyone who got to speak was literally right next to or sat diagonal to me 😊
Once the shoot was finished I just went straight home – I probably could’ve gone to the green room and met everyone on both the main and expert panel properly, but decided not to. I know what you’re saying, “why didn’t you take such an amazing opportunity?” but I have a few reasons for this: I was doing right by own personal safety, as I was on my own at night in a place I didn’t know with people I didn’t really know that well – I’m not accusing them of anything at all, but you never really know anyone’s true intentions. Apart from that I’d spent 5 hours of my day already on trains, so I didn’t want to miss out on the last train home/bus shuttle to the station.
Overall I had a great time on the show and I’ve since been back (thankfully in Covent Garden) to be in the audience for more episodes. If it gets commissioned for another series, then I’ll be back to see more episodes. I hope to meet Tom Bradby or some of the other panelists on the show soon to chat politics and journalism.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my experience of being on The Agenda and enjoy the rest of my Blogmas posts this year.
Happy Listening!
A K Jones

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