Focus enters the final straight
Bonjour everybody. Can you believe there are only two programmes and three blogs - including this one - left this season? Thankfully we have the World Cup to keep us entertained and this week's effort will be largely focused on the BBC's recent World Cup press day.
You will also find the latest 'Behind the Scenes' from our interview with actor and comedian Rik Mayall if you scroll down far enough.
The World Cup press day is something of a logistical beast. Everybody who is going to South Africa with the BBC this summer was summoned to TV Centre in Shepherd's Bush to speak to the assembled representatives of her majesty's media.
New Match Of The Day 2 presenter Colin Murray only knew 24 hours beforehand that he would be part of our BBC coverage in South Africa, so he couldn't make it, Mick McCarthy, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gordon Strachan were all busy training, while Clarence Seedorf and Jurgen Klinsmann, our new World Cup pundits, were overseas.
Having everyone in the same place at the same time gives you the perfect opportunity to get things done. First up, photographs. We did these in groups and I was bunged in with Garth Crooks, Martin Keown and Mark Bright, who was wearing a lovely red leather belt.
I grinned inanely for the individual shot and then inexplicably put my arms around Keown and Bright for the group one. I'm not sure it will ever see the light of day.
After the photos were done, I made my way back to the main room for food. Alan Hansen, Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson were tucking into bacon rolls, strange shaped cakes and these weird chicken skewer things.
As the big hitters were all called in for their pictures, me, producer Jase and cameraman Martin set up to film our pundits making their World Cup picks. I haven't used a flipchart for years but it all came back to me pretty quickly. If you missed them choosing their England 23-man squad, or would like to see it again, here it is.
Once that was done, we were all ushered upstairs for two hours of gentle questioning by the media. There were several tables laid out in a big room and two or three members of the BBC football team seated at each of them, along with four or five journalists. Every 10 minutes, the journalists moved on to the next table. It was a bit like speed dating.
Lineker and Hansen were on one table, Shearer and Lee Dixon on another, while I was with Keown and Damian Johnson. Keown was subjected to 95% of the questions, understandably, but I vaguely remember saying something about Spain and revealing my earliest World Cup memory - Lineker missing that header against Argentina in 1986.
I felt a bit sorry for Keown because he was repeatedly asked what it was like to go to two World Cups and not play. He dealt with it like a true pro. The story about him almost throttling John Gorman after being told he would have played in the next game had England not lost to Argentina in 1998 will live long in the memory, mainly because I heard it 15 times during the course of the day.
My final two acts of the day were to listen to a security briefing on South Africa and get my jabs. A lovely, chatty lady made sure I won't catch the lurgy this summer. In return, I gave up the use of both arms for two days.
For those of you who may be interested, most of my time at the World Cup will be spent on the BBC bus. We start in Cape Town on day one and will travel the whole of the country, bringing you a heady mix of football, culture and history. I am presenting a few matches here and there, too, but the bus will be my home for five weeks.
We also filmed with Rik Mayall last week. He may have a World Cup song out, but the following snippet of conversation should tell you everything you need to know about his knowledge of football:
Me: "What do you make of Capello?"
Mayall: "I've never met her!"
He was a fascinating bloke and our latest 'Behind the Scenes' footage should give you an idea of how it all came together...
If you want to let me have your own England 23-man squad or have any questions, fire away. Also, we did top manager and player last week so let's go for your worst moment of the season so far.
The whole programme comes live from Valley Parade this Saturday to commemorate 25 years since the Bradford fire. You can stay up to date with preparations for that one by following me on twitter at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc