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said a rather amused Sir Ian McKellen to my somewhat perplexed friend holding her autograph book under his nose. Miracles do happen, I'd say, because one of the professional autograph collectors helped out.
But let's start from the beginning.
This year my friend decided to accompany me to the BAFTAs. The location at the Royal Opera house was a new one to me and the day before I circled the venue several times in order to get a clue where might happen what and to decide where to stand. Pretty obvious was the closed-off road with the Red Carpet set up. But where fans would be allowed could not be seen.
We decided to be early and be at the place at 4 am in the morning. What we didn't know, because stupidly I didn't check before, was that there was a meeting point for fans to gather beforehand.
At 3am we left our hostel and walked towards Covent Garden where we made ourselves comfortable. I got quickly restless since I couldn't understand why there weren't any other fans. And while thinking it occurred to me that I heard laughter and talking.
Around 4:20 am I followed the sound and bingo there they were - fans. Quickly we moved and ended up at probably position 60 or 70 in the queue.
A new venue always needs exploration and it should become true in this case as well. When we were let in there were three spots on the right-hand side and two spots on the left-hand side for fans. Assuming the further up the better we moved to the third and farthest away box almost directly opposite the main entrance. Well, later it turned out that the venue has several entrances and that some of the stars didn't even made the entire Red Carpet and opted out at a to them closer entrance.
We were given tiny radios and on a certain channel the star that had arrived at the beginning of the Red Carpet was announced. Now, that's a nice feature.
Being a bit uncoordinated at the queuing we only made it into the second row of fans. The advantage? There weren't many rows behind us thus no pushing. The disadvantage? Being rather little it is a nightmare to get decent pictures because always an arm is in the way.
Thus we waited.
Among the first to arrive was Orlando Bloom and of course he spent almost two good hours to get to us signing left and right on the way which left him about 20 seconds at our space before he was whisked away inside.
The stars that made it up to us were the lovely Tilda Swinton, who wrote until her fingers bled. She not only seemed to enjoy the whole experience, she literally breathed in the atmosphere and did the fan rows several times only interrupted by the one or other interview. As always Andy Serkis and Sir Ian McKellen made it to our space, writing vigorously away.
While Daniel Day Lewis was holding his interview almost directly in front of our nose a funny thing happened. People were yelling his name over and over and while Mr. Day Lewis tried to ignore us Daniel Radcliffe, who was on the other side of the Red Carpet came over. LOL, you get two for the yelling of one.
About an hour into the event fans around me started to ask where Viggo Mortensen was. Announced quite early on the radio he never made it to us. It was only until later we realised that he had escaped through one of the earlier entrances much to the disappointment of many fans. Jason Isaacs, who admittedly wasn't announced, did the same and so did a few others.
Thus I particularly would like to thank the ones that went up the entire Red Carpet. I know it is long. I know there are many fans and a lot of press, yet you didn't deter.