S+H Technical Support supplied a large quantity of its LED Starcloth to be used as a complete wrap around the stage and audience seating for a one-off Christmas Special of the popular 1980’s comedy games show ‘Blankety Blank’ … which was hosted by David Walliams and broadcast by ITV on Christmas Eve.
The show was recorded in Studio 1 of London Studios in Waterloo, central London in front of a live audience of 400, with a set design by Joshua Grace who specified the starcloth.
“We wanted the familiar, cosy feel of a starcloth background, something festive and Christmassy … and a little camp!” he explained, and the S+H ShowLED RGB product met all criteria with a flourish of style.
Having the cloth colour changing and twinkling brought that special touch of “perfect LE (light entertainment) Christmas magic” to the show commented Joshua. It gave the production team additional flexibility to create different looks and treatments throughout the programme in which contestants and celebrities have to fill in missing words.
Joshua was brought on-board to create a completely new set design by the executive producers, however he also wanted to blend in some retro elements threading back to the original series - which launched in the UK in 1979 - with something that was totally modern looking.
It had to look very 2016, but have some of the tone and geography of the original series and also look “classy and timeless” as a fun family show he further elucidates.
LED starcloth is a great value method of adding some glitz and pizazz to any environment and it’s also a neat way of closing off any ‘dead’ space around sets and scenery in a studio or onstage. The effect can make the venue imitate on one hand … and also conversely appear vast on the other, depending on camera angles and lighting.
On this occasion, the starcloth was controlled via the lighting console under the direction of LD Chris Kempton.
“It’s one of those universally in-demand, fashionable and ever-dynamic products,” says S+H’s Terry Murtha. The Ilfracombe, Devon based company sent a crew to rig the cloth. “It’s always a pleasure to have their team in the studio,” says Joshua.
The Blankety Blank 2016 Christmas special executive producers were Suzy Lamb and Tim Dean, the series producer was Anna Meadows and it was directed by Toby Baker, proving a big success.
S+H offers a full range of starcloths, drapes and soft goods plus video and special effects, and supplies to all sectors of the entertainment industry– TV, theatre, concert touring, live and corporate events.
The run up to Christmas was hectic with various TV shows including Strictly Come Dancing, designed by Patrick Doherty, with 2016 marking 10 years of working relationships between S+H and the top rated BBC series. They also delivered 300 square metres of ShowLED LED animation cloth to the BBC’s 2016 Children In Need appeal telethon, broadcast from BBC Centre Elstree, specified by designer Dominic Tolfts.