Focus heads up the hills of Wales
Wales was an interesting on-the-road programme last week. I always enjoy the element of unpredictability in live television and the Nos Da pub on the banks of The Taff was packed with rowdy punters getting ready to make the short stroll to the Millennium Stadium.
I had been in Wales since Thursday filming bits and pieces for the programme.
Regular readers of this blog will know that there is a crazy Welsh producer called Dave Purchase and we went up a mini-mountain to film our opening for Saturday.
The mountain/hillock is just outside Cardiff and called The Garth and we filmed a little behind the scenes film at the top for you. Before you watch it I should say that sadly we could not use the shot with the remote controlled plane in it because of "technical issues" but hopefully it still makes sense.
I should mention for all his madness and desire to use explosives to make good telly, Mr Purchase does a good packed lunch. That was the first time in my life I had ever eaten a mini-cheesecake at the top of a mountain and let me tell you it was pretty special.
One of my mates had his stag do dinner meal at the top of mountain. A table, chairs and all the plates, cutlery and food were carted to the top by his pals and everyone had to wear a dinner jacket for the three-course meal! Magical.
Post cheesecake, Friday was taken up with writing scripts, checking locations, editing pieces and filming Friday Focus on the set of Pobol Y Cwm with Robbie Savage. It is the longest running soap opera on BBC TV going all the way back to the early 1970s. I managed to annoy Welsh speakers everywhere by tweeting that I was on the set of Pobol Y Cwn which means 'The Dog People" instead of "The Valley People'. Once again apologies for the mix-up Welsh brethren.
Savage was getting asked for his autograph all over the shop and we even managed to find someone who worked on the set of Pobol and had based his haircut on the Derby captain's barnet.
Robbie Savage meets up with his stunt double in Wales
On the day of the programme we all got to the venue for about 9am in order to check the technical side of things. From 1030 onwards, our guests started arriving. The Barry Horns were the first to get there followed by Dixon, Lawrenson, Savage and Mickey Thomas. The last two to join the throng were Miss Wales and Henry Winter.
We got a few questions from viewers about our decision to preview a game that we had no rights to. Hopefully it shows that we are not biased in the stuff we cover and do not ignore events just because they are not on the BBC. From our point of view, it was the biggest story of the day and it is much better to be in the thick of it than a studio hundreds of miles away.
I thought all the main guests were very strong on Fabio Capello's future, the captaincy debate and where England are at the moment. Mr Dixon successfully predicted the England midfield, the formation and the 2-0 scoreline - not a bad triple. Mr Savage also provided a moment of comedy towards the end...
Me: "Robbie what will Wales boss Gary Speed be doing in the two hours before kick-off now. Is he a tea-cup thrower? Is he Churchillian?"
Robbie: "No, he's Welsh!"
A few people also asked about controlling the crowd at a live event like that. It helps to have quality floor managers but I also think that a lot it comes down to communication. There is always a concern about swearing and various hand gestures but when that situation arises I find that, nine times out of 10, if you tell people that swearing - in word or deed - means they will not be on telly, they tend to play along and feel part of it at the end.
The game itself was an interesting one. After being inspired by her appearance on Focus Miss Wales produced the goods with both anthems and also attracted the attention of Signor Capello! Speed has definitely improved the mood in the Wales camp but that does not change the fact that he is desperately short of real quality. Scott Parker, Ashley Young and Jack Wilshere have all been rightly praised and England's 'new' system heralded but it needs to be tested by sterner stuff before we all get carried away.
We have got another on-the-road show coming up in two weeks when Focus comes live from The Grand National at Aintree but this week you need to remember we are on early at 1145 BST because Leeds v Forest is live on BBC One from 1230 BST. We have got Gordon Strachan on the sofa and you will hear from Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Michael Laudrup and Bob Wilson to name a few.
If you want to follow the build-up you can at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc and if you have comments on the live programme, any questions for Gordon Strachan or any general queries about the show then whack them down.