The UK premiere for The BFG took place in Leicester Square on Sunday 17th of July. I have never been to a Sunday premiere so wasn’t hugely sure what to expect in regards to timing and busyness.
My friend Aimie, who I have known since 2011 when we met at the Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows Premiere, was going to be “camping” out overnight for the wristbands at 6am. Because of the early wristband handout she had to camp as public transport that early on a Sunday – Nope.
So I decided to keep her company. At the time I knew I’d be moving back to Norfolk in the next month or so ( actually in 2 weeks I have discovered as I am writing this) so thought this would be a good little premiere to go out on.
The BFG is one of my favourite childhood books. The copy that I still have at my parents house is falling apart it’s been read so many times. For this occasion, I bought a nice hardback special edition from Waterstones to get signed.
Sleeping outside in the middle of the city is nothing difficult anymore and the weather was lovely. I fell asleep around midnight and woke up at 5am ready for some coffee and my wristband.
Having wristband number four we thought we would get to chose where to go. We couldn’t, but seemed to have a decent enough spot anyway. The set up was very big, covering the entire of Leicester Square. They were using both the Odeon and the Empire and so we assumed we would be ok where we were, standing by the Empire.
Turns out not.
We were then told that the stars would only be going into the Odeon. Cue a mass of very angry dealers who shouted a lot and ran to get (bad) barrier space down at the other cinema.
Aimie and I waited to see what was going on, we found it all quite entertaining being suddenly left all on our own in a massive pen. There was no point in getting upset and we still had a view of the carpet to take photographs.
A member of the security team came over to chat to us, and we laughed and joked with him at the mess, explaining we had been here overnight but what can you do.
But it pays to be nice and not get stroppy as he then radioed one of his colleges and they let us in one of the smaller closed off pens where there happened to be lots of room, instead of just telling us to go and join one of the big pens that everyone else in our pen had done.
First to pass us at our second barrier spot was food writer Mary Berry.
Then it was Penelope Wilton, who plays The Queen. Because of our dual frontage barrier position, I was able to have enough time to ask her to sign my book and get a photograph of her.
Then a wild Sir Ben Kingsley appeared. (sorry I have been playing too much Pokemon)
Mark Rylance passed by very fast but I did manage to ask him to sign one of the beautiful illustrations in my book.
Rebecca Hall took her time to sign quite a lot, and I got her inside the front cover of my book, where I hope to eventually get some more of the cast to sign should they ever do any theatre in London.
That’s what I hope to do with Rafe Spall, who I missed.
Finally, Steven Spielberg appeared but he walked past in a hurry, waving and apologising that he had to go introduce the film.
Aimie and I knew that this was the most likely outcome of the day so weren’t hugely disappointed. You can’t really get like that as premieres are so hit and miss that if you constantly focus on that one star you will spend so much of your time disappointed.
And then they are no fun.
The cast had all gone in and around 80% of people on the barriers left. We were just chilling out and waiting for the crowds to leave.
But then a car pulled up right next to the main entrance to the Odeon, meaning someone big was leaving instantly.
Most likely Mr Spielberg.
And so we moved to barrier position number 3. I told you this was the oddest premiere ever.( You normally only have a teensy bit of space to fidget – this time we moved halfway across Leicester Square!)
He came out and signed for us all!!!
Aimie even got his autograph on two things.
He was really lovely and took his time, chatting and listening to what all his fans had to say before battling through the crowds to get to his car.
In the end, it was an epic mess of a premiere that actually turned out fantastic.
Three different barrier positions. Lots of comedy and a good signing.
And some serious sunburn.
This will most likely be my last premiere for a very long time as they will take a lot more planning and organising for me to get to from Norfolk.
Until next time,