As m’chum Steve has already recounted, on Friday night he and I went to see a filming of the Channel 4 comedy The IT Crowd. His post says a lot about the shows, so this is my more self-absorbed version of events (ahem).

It was a lot of fun, and the first time I’d seen a studio sitcom recorded in… hmm, come to think about it maybe it’s the first time ever, so it was fascinating to see how it was all done. It was filmed at Pinewood Studios, and it was startling – in the best way – to see how the offices and other rooms in the show look in reality and on screen.

Steve and I were the guests of my friend Sean, who’s IT Consultant for the show, so after Sean and the other cast and crew members had done the hard work, Steve and I stepped onto the set to help Sean with de-rigging, as it was the last show of the series. This felt kind of odd in itself – I’ve followed the show since it began, and so to be crawling round on the floor behind Roy and Moss’s desks and helping pull cables through the wall made me feel like I wasn’t quite in the real world any more (I felt like Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit when he goes into Toontown).

Anyway, after we’d helped Sean do what was necessary, we were taken into the green room, where various members of the cast and crew were having a well-earned drink. Just inside the door, and looking surprisingly relaxed, was the writer-director Graham Linehan, who Sean kindly introduced me to, and explained to Graham that I’d contributed to one of the show’s websites.

Graham – and I’m going to call him by his first name because he’s a friendly chap and I don’t think he’d take offence – asked us if we’d had a good night, and specifically what we’d thought of a particular scene in the last episode, and it was very interesting to see that he’d thought of an angle on it which I hadn’t; very much a case of the creator being so in control of the material that he’s able to see things which someone who’s less steeped in it (me on this occasion) would miss. But he was friendly about it, and it was a genuine shame that I had to leg it early to get the last train home, as it would have been good to chat more.

I’ve barely touched on how funny the shows were – mainly because Steve’s covered them in more detail, and also for spoiler-related reasons – but they were very strong episodes, and all in all it made for a cracking night out, and I’m mega-grateful to Sean for getting us on the guest list.

If nothing else, looking at the size of the sets, all the lighting overhead, the cameras and mics pointing at the cast, and the number of people who were hard at work, it made me even more keen to continue with writing, given that everything in that studio was there because once, Graham Linehan sat down and typed ‘INT. OFFICE – DAY’…