Sara Nathan

05.08.04

There’s a sense of relief in the air …

We are just one day away from the best day of the summer – the Big Brother final.

Yes, after ten weeks of covering every inch of the reality show – from bonking and quite frankly, barmy, housemates to our daily column Pond Life – the end is finally nigh.

I spent last night up at Elstree studios for the surprise eviction of loverboy Stu.

We were all left shocked that it was Stu to go and not pretty Shell – as predicted by bookies (cue some very startled looking faces).

I had done a holding story, but it was still a mad dash to file in time for the second edition.

And it was made worse by the fact we were all cooped up in a tiny, boiling hot room, with one eye on the TV, where “Chicken” Stu was reunited with bunny boiler Michelle, while trying to speak to the copytaker. Is that Stuart with an UA or an EW, dear? Today, it’s a bit like a military operation as we plan for the last stages of the reality TV juggernaut.

Normally the burning question is who will win – but this year it’s obvious that transsexual Nadia has got the public vote. The Portu-geezer has done it.

06.08.04

TGIF. Thank God it’s Friday.

There’s a long day in store, but for my colleague Emily Smith and I, it’s like all our Christmases have come at once. You can hear the screams of joy from the TV desk.

We get TV Biz written early (a really funny lead about a Toga-themed Footballers’ Wives christening) and then concentrate on doing up holding stories for each of the four Big Brother finalists.

We know that Nadia’s a shoo-in, but until Davina yells, you can never be 100 per cent sure … and the bookies are telling us there has been a late surge in bets on sulky Jason.

Before we leave, our boss Paul Field comes up with two bottles of champagne to say thanks for all the Big Brother coverage. Fantastic.

Then it’s off to Elstree. Press, Channel 4 execs and PRs crowd into a room to watch the grand finale.

While stuffing my mouth with a mini-burger, I turn around and am greeted with Endemol boss Peter Bazalgette’s face looming in at me.

“Yes, the series has been amazing …

by the way, what are you up to next?” He’s sly that Peter, but he lets drop about the series of Celebrity Big Bruv they’re planning.

Cut to journos swarming around him, like sharks circling a drowning man (we can smell stories like they can smell blood). But he won’t give any names away.

And he looks mighty relieved when we are hauled away to the press conference.

By this time, it’s nearly 1am, but the adrenaline keeps you buzzing.

Dan and Shell walk in first and are grilled by the whole of Fleet Street – and one very annoying girl from the Hull paper, who tries to hi-jack the conference by asking Dan what he missed most about Hull, while the rest of us are trying to get them to spill the beans on Stu and Michelle under the dining table … Then it’s Jason and Nadia’s turn. She looks completely gob-smacked and is shaking – well wouldn’t you, when faced with nearly 30 members of the press? By 2am, it’s time to go and we head off – but not before listening in as Jason runs up to screaming members of the public accompanied by cameras.

He should enjoy the screams now, they won’t last that long!

07.08.04

Try to lie in, but annoyingly get up as early as if I’m going to work. Hate that! Find out if we’re bidding for anyone to do an exclusive buy-up. We’re not, so the day is mine to spend at Fruitstock in Regent’s Park with friends, where I fry my freckles.

Then it’s off to my friend Nicole’s 30th do in the evening.

08.08.04

It’s my Sunday in the office, so I’ve got to do some Big Brother mopping up to do as well as TV Biz.

It turns out that Jason has fled home and refused to go on the BB reunion show, so that makes a good lead.

Meanwhile, more importantly, a story comes in that EastEnders’ Jessie Wallace is seriously ill in hospital after nearly losing her baby.

Once I get it confirmed and find out that stressed-out Jessie is recovering, it makes a splash the next day.

Spend most of the day waiting for the details of the Faria Alam interview with Tonight with Trevor McDonald to come over … but helpfully, I get briefed on it midday. Turns out she broke down in tears … yeah, crying all the way to the bank. Oh, and there’s also the matter of Daleks getting legs to write up, which gives Backbench something to chuckle over.

09.08.04

Arghh … looking for a lead, but it seems all cupboards are empty.

That is, until Emily comes up with a good story about Mark Bosnich joining a new Sky One footy show called The Match. Hurrah.

I then get some other names confirmed.

I can’t believe they’re bringing Peter Beardsley out of retirement!

10.08.04

It turns out someone has nicked some top-secret EastEnders scripts from a senior producer’s home.

Blimey.

In the office, it feels like there’s an empty gap left by Big Brother … until we realise there’s only three months until I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! Still on the story hunt … as always.

11.08.04

Off work and into hospital for an impacted wisdom tooth.

Spend the last few minutes before being taken down for a general anaesthetic on the phone to the backbench sorting out a headline and making sure some pictures were emailed over.

The nurse has to prise my mobile phone from my hand and the last thing I feel is getting a funny feeling in my throat before being knocked out cold

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