Football Focus wins royal seal of approval
"One doesn't address the Duke like that" was the phrase ringing around my head after the first time I met a member of the royal family.
I was giving a speech at St James's Palace to some Duke of Edinburgh gold award winners and the man himself turned up.
He moved around the room chatting occasionally and eventually approached us at the door. There was an awkward silence in the room, which was making me increasingly uncomfortable. When he got to me and extended his right arm for a shake I exclaimed "morning chief".
"And what is it you do?" came the friendly response.
What followed was a 90-second conversation that ended with him declining my offer to come on the Football Focus sofa the following Saturday. The Duke departed, an aide gave me the evils and produced the phrase that started this blog.
When I was told a few weeks ago that I would be showing the Queen around our new Salford studio I made sure to check what the correct protocol was when coming face to face with the reigning monarch. I knew "chief" wouldn't go down well.
Apparently you don't extend your hand until she does, you call her "your Majesty" on greeting her and then "ma'am" as in "jam" from that point on.
There was a gentle buzz around BBC North towers on the morning of her arrival - I even had to flash my security pass to use the toilets.
The Queen officially opened the BBC's base in MediaCityUK on 23 March. Photo: PA
It was also unusual to see people who normally opt for 'sports-casual' clothing pulling out their wedding suits - apart from Lawro who decided to wear what Robbie Savage claimed was his ice-cream seller's shirt.
I had a slight lack-of-tie issue at one point, but thankfully the most organised man on the planet - floor manager Tim Boucher - carries a spare everything.
I was told I'd have three and a half minutes with the Queen and then she would be off to CBBC. We were in the studio filming World Football Focus and while I was asking Didi Hamann about Martin Jol's time at Hamburg a voice announced: "Her Majesty will be eight minutes early."
Moments later there was a cheer outside and then the patter of feet approaching the studio.
Around the corner came the head of state wearing what I heard someone later describe as "a nice little salmon number". She was accompanied by BBC director general Mark Thompson, who introduced me, and then off we went.
I introduced the ice-cream seller and Didi and then explained what we used the studio for, showed her our snazzy augmented reality graphics and explained that World Football Focus goes into millions of homes around the globe on the BBC World channel each week.
She asked a few questions about the appeal of football, Lawro cracked a couple of gags and I chucked in a stat about the fact that when Li Tie and Sun Jihai played for Everton and Manchester City respectively a few years ago the game between the two sides was watched by 300 million people in China alone. If you see her palming off that in her next speech you know where it's come from.
She had one last look at Lawro's shirt and left. No faux pas, no diplomatic incident and the word "chief" never passed my lips. A number of people mentioned the difference in height between the two of us, with one comedian on Twitter claiming it was like watching Yoda meet Gandalf.
Sadly, Her Majesty didn't fancy doing Premier League predictions for this weekend but we can offer you Steve Bruce and the Toure brothers instead.
We had a great response to our show from Bolton last week and the good news is Fabrice Muamba continues to improve.