Stepping back into Monaco history
I feel weird. I'm sitting writing this at my dining room table, dinner is almost ready but I have a sneaky suspicion I won't be able to eat much tonight.
You know how you felt when you were six years old and it was 5pm on Christmas Eve and the sooner you sleep the quicker it's Christmas? Well that's just how I feel right now... I want to go to bed so I can wake up and it's time for... Monaco!
When I knew I was going to be doing this job, there were two races that I immediately got excited about for very different reasons.
Silverstone's farewell to Formula 1 will be a really emotional, possibly quite mournful day but an event I am totally honoured to be charged with bringing to the nation's living rooms.
The other race that gets my heart beating faster than usual is the point and squirt around the Principality this weekend, and for me it's all about walking in the shadow of motorsport history.
I guess this excitement about Monaco's past looks positively mundane when surrounded by such affluence from yachts to cars to opulent sea-front hotels (which the BBC won't be gracing!) and more parties than you can shake a dry martini at.
To be totally frank with you, though, over-the-top extravagance just makes me feel a bit self-conscious... not to mention it being mildly distasteful in the present climate. Mind you, you can't argue that the place that stands for ultimate luxury also possesses the ultimate test of driver precision.
Anyway, Monaco's past. It is a track that has changed little since wealthy cigarette producer Anthony Noghes organised the first Monaco GP in 1929, won by British driver William Grover-Williams (I'm jealous of that name) in his British racing green number 12 Bugatti.
On safety grounds alone, it's difficult to imagine the circuit being approved if it applied to join the calendar today, but 80 years of history and a unique status in F1 mean its place is secure - if there's one race Bernie won't be taking off the calendar, it's this one!
After "Williams", as he was known, romped to victory, the circuit belonged to Juan Manuel Fangio, the legendary Argentine racer who secured his first F1 win on the streets, then Graham Hill, who was the original master of the circuit with five wins in the 60s.
But for someone like me it was Ayrton Senna who really ruled the streets. I was only six when he threw his Toleman around in the rain in '84 to introduce himself to F1 fans as a star of the future, and what an introduction it was, hey? Just eight years later he had that titanic battle with Nigel Mansell as our British hero tried in vain to get past him.
Anyway, the point of this blog? Well, it's to explain the opening to the race this Sunday.
What you will see is me taking a step back in time to discuss the unique demands of Monte Carlo with some of racing's legends of the past.
Quite simply, the advice the likes of Hill, Jochen Rindt, Jackie Stewart and John Surtees shared with my compatriots of the time is identical to the thoughts the Buttons, Raikkonens and Hamiltons of today have running through their minds, and that's unique.
Where the racers of 50 years ago stood on the brakes, jammed the throttle down or went within an inch of disaster, so the drivers do today. But how could we bring this link with the past to life?
Simple - if we couldn't bring the '60s to the new millennium, we'd send me back to the '60s. Essentially what this involved was me taking the place of my predecessor on a show called Wheelbase and while producers Richard and Julian directed me where to look and how to talk, it was my job to make talking to some green paper seem convincing once the magic of modern technology (that I don't remotely understand!) had waved its magic wand.
So that's the idea, but what was it actually like in its execution? Well, I was keen for you guys who read my blog to see how it's done - after all you do seem to be keen on the backstage element of our production. So a BBC crew filmed the day as it unfolded and the finished video is right here for you to watch. The shoot lasted hours... the vid isn't that long.
I hope you enjoy it, I hope you like the finished version come race day, and I really hope that during the weekend when people's gaze is distracted by the latest 'super-yacht' cruising into the harbour, that we'll all remember that Monaco is so much more than just what we see today.
May it provide a great story for someone on Sunday, just as it did for Grover-Williams 80 years ago.