University of London Society of Change Ringers

Christmas shoot for Capital FM!

On the 10th day of the month October, in the year 2018, the committee received a rather strange email. An email many members were unsure about. Was it real?

It began with ‘Hi, I have an odd request’, and the title ‘Hand bell ringers required for a Christmas shoot for Capital FM’. The message also contained mention of a sum of money payable to any ‘volunteers’, tempting indeed.

Jemma decided to take a step into the unknown and reply, of course, after having a chat with the committee. Jemma asked many questions, including what we were required to play, wear, and where and when would this be?!

After a few emails back and forth, we had a date, and a time, and a number of ringers required. It was decided that 5 of the most prominent and active committee members would go along, so myself (Jemma), Ben, Alistair, Rachel and Josie prepped ourselves to go and ring the handbells in a ‘Christmassy way’ (yes that is actually what the email said), for 6 hours for a tv/radio commercial.

The day before the event, we had the cue sheet come round, and to everyone’s excitement, we discovered there would be reindeer, and snow machines, and fake snowballs (how amazing?!). We were all very very excited!

The day arrived – Saturday 23rd October. It was an early start for most of us, as we headed all the way down to Kennington (Josie with bells in tow). Little did we know what the day had in store for us…

First up, we were put into a green room, with some dancers. These dancers had been told they were going to be doing a mean girls style ‘jingle bell rock’ dance. They actually got made to dress up as Christmas trees and snowmen, which made us worry about what we were going to be dressed up in. While wondering what our fate would be, one at a time, we went into makeup (even the guys), where we all came out with very pink cheeks.

Soon, we were escorted to the set, where we found a winter wonderland. We were asked to show the choreographer the bells, and she was very impressed. For a few minutes, we were left alone to think about what we might end up playing…

After a while, the choreographer came back to us, and asked how you make the bells silent. You can kind of imagine our reactions…

We weren’t going to moan though, as this was a paid event!

Bells silenced, we began to be told what we would be doing.

I was asked if I minded being sat in a sledge while someone spun it around, as I was frantically waving a bell in the air. Rachel was asked to do the same. At this point, Ben, Alistair and Josie were in creases, finding the whole thing hilarious. This was, until, Ben and Alistair were dragged off to hold something (completely not bell related) because they were tall.

The morning then consisted mainly of run throughs, me doing accidental sledge wheelies, and Rachel passing someone a phone.

We broke for lunch where we had a lovely (but annoyingly healthy) buffet. At this point, the reindeers arrived.

After lunch, Rachel and I were ditched from our vaguely bell ringing related roles, and I became ‘snowball fight participant 3’ and Rachel and Josie both became Reindeer handlers. Josie had a rather frisky deer, but she did well to keep it under control! Rachel was a natural with hers although her deer did wee all over set…

A few hours later and everything was done, we had thrown snowballs, petted reindeer, and not done any bellringing at all! What a great day!

We would’ve done something social together after, but 3 of us had to dash off (after removing red cheek stuff) to a try out at a certain cathedral…

If anyone is reading this and wanting to hire us for anything, do let us know! We’re happy to give anything a go really…

Jemma Mills