It’s not everyday that an invite to the TV BAFTA’s pops through your email inbox. Having been fixated by the world of television celebrities from a young age, my dream job for almost a decade was to become a showbiz journalist, reporting live from the red carpet. This aspiration shaped my subject choices at school and my University degree choice, as I headed to Bournemouth University to study Multi-Media Journalism. Being there, in among the glitz and glamour, was all I ever wanted to do. Experiencing everything first hand and asking my favourite television icons the burning questions.
I’d applied for accreditation for press year after year, hoping they’d let little old me lurk on the sidelines, just to experience it myself. So when House of Fraser, the headline sponsors of this year’s TV BAFTA’s got in touch to ask whether I’d like to attend, I think you already know what my immediate response was. YES PLEASE!
Of course, aside from the famous attendees and the awards themselves, the main focal point is what everyone is wearing – and so once I knew I was actually going, the search for the perfect dress ensued. I’ve only ever got really ‘dressed up’ twice in my life, each time – for a school prom. So this was pretty new and exciting to me. I had it in my head from pretty early on that I wanted to wear a red dress, to play on the fact my name is the colour ‘Scarlet’ so this limited my horizons a little.
Now you’d imagine that with such a plethora of choice on the internet, finding a pretty dress is an easy task. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and I ended up trying on a grand total of 15 dresses before I found one that fitted to my shape. The dress I eventually opted for was from Gorgeous Couture, who came to the rescue with a stunning grecian-esque gown – in (you guessed it), red. I absolutely LOVE this dress and will treasure it forever, not only because it stands to represent such a wonderful and unique memory (attending the BAFTA’s) but also because it fits so perfectly – and I feel genuinely comfortable in it, as it’s super flattering.
I also tried on a number of designer dresses from the rental company Chic by Choice, who were amazing at organising delivery of a number of different styles in an assortment of sizes. It’s such an easy thing to do if you have a special occasion – so I’d definitely recommend it. It was unfortunate that I didn’t find one that I fell in love with, but I’m going to try again when I have another special occasion next month – so watch this space!
David opted for a suit from Tux n Tails in St Albans, who kindly kitted him out with a very suave dinner suit – tailored especially for the evening. It was the first time we’d dressed up as a couple, so we thought we’d make an occasion of it – and booked a room at the Millennium Mayfair for the night, to really make the most of this incredible opportunity. In hindsight, I’m so glad we did this because there was no way I could have sanely got myself up to London in the dress, with my hair and make-up in tact, without having some sort of meltdown. And by meltdown, this could have even meant that the make-up was melting down my face – because the day of the awards was ridiculously sweltering. Especially by UK standards.
After spending an hour fiddling about with my hair (why is it that hair just never sits right when it NEEDS TO!), we made our way to the Mondrian Hotel, which stood as the hub for all things BAFTA – hosting pre-award parties and styling suites. We met with House of Fraser – and a number of other lovely bloggers who were joining us for the evening, before making our way down the river to Royal Festival Hall, where the awards were being held.
Walking along the Southbank, with about 12 of us dressed up to the nines, we did catch some (I say some, I mean a lot) of rather bewildered, confused looks – probably wondering why on earth there was such a large herd of heels clip clopping around on such a hot day. It must have been a funny (but hey, photogenic I suppose) sight to see!
Eventually, we found ourselves at the entrance, ready to climb the stairs to where screaming fans lined one side of the red carpet and the other featured side by side journalists – all with signs for different television shows in the UK. It was a very surreal experience, especially since I’d never have expected to actually be walking the red carpet myself. In the blaring sunshine, we didn’t stay on it for as long as we’d have liked (I kind of wish I could have people-watched a little longer) but it was so incredible to see how it all worked and just how many people had turned up to experience it too.
The lovely Lauren kindly took some pictures of David and I, before treating us bloggers to our own little photo-shoot on the red carpet. My dress sort of blended in with the floor (oops) but I loved it all the same!
With the photographs taken (I felt slightly more relaxed once this was all out of the way), we made our way into the bar area for some well-earned prosecco! Here, we waited for the red carpet to finish (watching all the big names arrive from our balcony) – spotting Tess Daly, Alesha Dixon and even (brace yourselves girls) Justin Timberlake. The nominees have a separate bar area downstairs, so although we weren’t rubbing shoulders with the stars as I’d envisioned, it was still amazing to be in the same proximity as some of the most amazing faces on television.
At about 7pm, we were then called into our seats to get ready for the show to begin – which was even more exciting as we knew it was going to be broadcast live on BBC. Programmes were given out – with some incredible pictures of some of the individual nominees, as well as ‘tiddly BAFTA chocolates’ from Hotel Chocolat and a bottle of water. We were all set for the action to unfold.
Stupidly, I’d forgotten to bring my glasses (the perils of having to change your handbag) so although I could see what was happening on stage and on the screens, focusing on the faces of those presenting or accepting the awards was pretty tricky and every celebrity was a bit of a blur. But still, it was amazing to think that I was in the same room as some of my favourite TV and film stars, Louis Theroux, Martin Freeman, Suranne Jones (from Doctor Foster) and Anna Kendrick. Plus of course, the fabulous host Graham Norton – who despite some criticism, I thought did an amazing job of pulling the evening together.
It was a long old night, but certainly one I will cherish – as it’s not everyday you get to go to the BAFTAs! I feel as though my dream of seeing a red carpet in the flesh has now been fulfilled – although it’s piqued my interest so much that I’m already anticipating the next event!
Oh, and did you ever wonder what was in the goody bags? Well, if a star studded event wasn’t enough – the sponsors also treated guests to an incredible array of items to take home and try for themselves, including generous boxes of Hotel Chocolat selections, personalised Lancome make-up and a bottle of Taittinger. We really did feel like stars for the night!
Have you ever experienced a red carpet event? Did you watch the BAFTA’s – what did you think?
A big thank you to House of Fraser for taking both David and I along to the BAFTA’s. Also, thank you to Gorgeous Couture for sending me such a beautiful dress to wear – I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t felt I’d looked the part, so this was such a major aspect for me!