Five winners, and companions, in the Green Room. Neldas' daughter Christina, Amanda Henriques, me, Ken Simpson with family, Jenny Olsen and her mum, and Nelda Utilini.
After a very shaky start, (I couldn't get my train ticket because the machine wasn't working, I couldn't find my taxi at Kings Cross and I left my debit card in the public phone!), I got to the television studio in a bit of a state! All soon forgotten and I was flying high. Primetime, live television, wow!
I discovered I was one of the five winners! I discovered that the Royal Academy was involved in the judging! To be chosen from 3500 entries by such exalted company is an accolade indeed. And I am very chuffed, can't stop grinning!
I met five lovely people, all very passionate about their art, and all very different. The time flew by, with chatting, discussions with the film crew about what would happen, debate about whether to 'unveil' the winners, eating the provided sandwiches, and soon we were rehearsing. Adrian and Christine had kind words to say to all of us, albeit very hurriedly, but poor Adrian was having a bad day.
The decision to 'unveil' the winners themselves and not the paintings, was carried unanimously. Brilliant idea, I thought.
Chris Orr was charming, friendly, delightful to talk to. He spent time with all of us, interested in our work, and ready with advice and praise.
Then the filming...we were on...poof ....it was over!
I did feel a bit silly under the 'shroud', Nelda called it, which is probably why I forgot what I wanted to say! No matter, I enjoyed every single minute of it, and would do it again tomorrow.
If you missed the show it can be seen on the BBC One Show web site for the next week, and there is also backstage footage and the shortlisted 85 works from which the final five were chosen, if you care to explore the site.