My Visit To The Upstaged Set In Bristol

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the latest Endemol/BBC Three venture, Upstaged. I certainly hadn’t whenever I arrived in Bristol city centre on a Baltic Friday morning last week.

First, can I say that as a blogger, it’s refreshing to be invited along to the set of any reality-type show and allowed to wander around and talk to the contestants. I was able to explore the set first hand and talk to some of the people behind and in front of the stage. The only downer was that Scott Mills, who’ll be hosting the show when it airs, wasn’t available for the day. But I can live with that.

Innovative Stuff


BBC Three are working hard to bridge the gap between on-air and online. It’s not as easy as it looks. The more Internet-savvy the audience, the more cynical they are about anything that looks like a big marketing ploy. Put it this way, ITV couldn’t get away with this.

However, with Upstaged, the Beeb have managed to attract some talented and high profile members of social networking sites like MySpace and YouTube. Some of these people are musicians, others are comedians and vloggers* who’ve made a name for themselves on YouTube.

Anyway, here’s where having a huge online following comes in handy – each of the acts has to be voted into the performance boxes. So the more people voting, the merrier. And anyone can potentially be a contestant – which gives the public the ultimate say over who gets to perform.

Interviews With ‘The Talent’

Elle Williams from HiFlyer

I got to interview a number of the contestants, like Elle from HiFlyer, Barry The Badger and the very improvisational musician/comedian, Chris Cohen. I’ll be posting them online very shortly.

I’m always a bit cynical when publicists describe performers as ‘the talent’, but all these folks came across as hardworking artists looking to break in front of a larger audience. I was gobsmacked when I got home and listened to Elle’s band HiFlyer – they’re amazing and definitely a chartworthy act.

None of the performers I spoke with came across as the deluded mentalists you’ll see in more frivolous TV talent shows.

The Vloggers…

The Upstaged Vloggers

I got chatting with some of the UK’s best-known vloggers. That was an interesting conversation, as they opened my eyes to the massive community that exists on YouTube. And you thought it was just about music videos and fat kids dancing.

A disgustingly good-looking bunch, I could have chatted to them all day about how they got started on YouTube and what it means for a video to go viral. They’re apparently one of the most popular acts on the stages so far, and I’m not surprised. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine that some of these folks could cross over into mainstream presenting jobs if the opportunity arose.

And Bristol…


Ask me today and I still don’t know for sure what part of the country I was in. Bristol is undergoing a huge amount of regeneration at the moment, and as a result, the place doesn’t look as glamorous as a trip to London. But at the same time, it’s nice to see a show like this exploring talent in another part of the UK.

Anyway, I’m glad to have been invited along to the Upstaged set, and my thanks to the publicity team and everyone backstage who was so helpful and welcoming during the day.

* A vlogger is a blogger who blogs on video. Paris Hilton’s well-known video doesn’t count, even though it was obviously a day-in-the-life type of thing.

** Yes, that’s my ugly mug in the photo above. I’m the second from the left. The full line-up is Elle from HiFlyer, me, Chris Cohen, Terry The Odd-Job Man and Barry the Badger.

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