This past week, the BBC aired their behind the scenes documentary about how their latest Children In Need initiative came together. A handful of actors got together to record an album of covers, solo songs that are personal to them for a variety of reasons and a group track to finish it all off.
The 90 minute programme followed their journey from selecting the songs through perfecting their vocals and then the nerves of recording. I thought it was fascinating to see how the various people took to the challenge - Helena Bonham Carter went traditionally a bit off piste, Olivia Colman was insanely nervous about the whole thing, Luke Evans just rocked up and did it no problem, Suranne Jones took her song to the kids, and Adrian Lester showed off some remarkable beat-boxing skills.
Along the way, there were a few surprises where the original musicians showed up to support the new covers. Half of Coldplay rocking up to play backing instruments for Jodie Whittaker was glorious, but of course the highlight of the show has to be Taylor Swift surprising Shaun Dooley, who came up with this new concept album in the first place.
This is perfect, not really because Taylor shows up although of course it’s lovely that she did that. But for how she has to talk Olivia Colman through the working parts of a studio. It’s like she’s translating as she goes.
Olivia: “He’s in there, the bit where you record.”
Taylor: “The studio.”
Olivia: “Not the bit with the nobbles.”
Taylor: “The control room.”
Olivia: “If you can do a hello or something.”
Taylor: “Ah, push the talkback button.”
It’s just wonderful. I feel like I could watch a show about these two trying to create an album all day. A great documentary, a fabulous album and a top notch cause - what’s not to like?