Monday, 30 September 2019


Ever wondered where the audiences come from when you see them on TV? Would it surprise you if I told you that these people probably haven't paid a penny to be there?

If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen that last weekend I went to see Jack and Michael Whitehall film their Christmas special 'Christmas with my Father' for Netflix at The London Palladium. The tickets we got were absolutely free of charge from Applause Store. You can pay a subscription fee to get 'priority tickets' but I honestly wouldn't bother with it unless you plan to attend lots of shows because priority tickets still are not guaranteed seats. 

I wanted to write this blog post to explain the process a little bit more clearly as it is quite vague on the Applause Store website (and to be honest, even on the day there was a fair bit of uncertainty for us) so I wanted to take you through it step-by-step. 

I've been registered with Applause Store since 2014 but I have never actually applied for any tickets up until now because as with many things, most TV recordings happen somewhere in the London area so it's not the quickest of places for me to travel to. However, they do have tickets to most of the big TV shows such as Britain's Got Talent, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Michael Mcintyre's Big Show, Celebrity Juice, X Factor, The Grand Tour and absolutely loads more (see here for other TV audience tickets. Once you've registered your details you're good to go in terms of either registering your interest for tickets that aren't available just yet or for putting your name in the hat for tickets that are available.

Once you request tickets they will email you at least 48 hours before the event if you have been successful which again, if you live miles away from London, isn't ideal but I figure that if you're down there for one reason or another anyway it might be worth seeing what's on around that time and you can just chance it - if you get tickets, bonus, if not, you've not spent a fortune planning a trip down there for nothing. 

But here's the important thing to remember: e-tickets do not guarantee entry.

Because there are a lot of 'no shows' to each recording, they have to oversubscribe on tickets to account for this (which is fair enough, after all; their job is to populate an audience not leave empty seats!). So this is where it gets a bit uncertain and it means that you could be in for a long wait depending on the show you're wanting to see. 

If you have got a ticket there will be an 'arrive by' time. Plan to arrive well before this time. As an example: our tickets said 'arrive by 5pm' - we arrived at 12pm and apparently people had been queuing since 10am that morning. (The Palladium is slightly different as they offer a 'ticket exchange' which was where we had to wait in the queue for them to exchange our paper e-tickets for a seat number but from what I understand, most other shows are a case of waiting and then being admitted into the studio.) Admission/tickets are all given on a 'first come, first served' basis and there really is no way of knowing whether you will be given a ticket. There were people who were left disappointed when they got to the venue 10-15 minutes before the 'arrive by' time but it does clearly state on the ticket that everything is first come, first served. So my advice to you is to get there as early as you are prepared to wait. You do receive 'priority tickets' for another Applause Store show of your choice if you have to be turned away. 

We were actually really lucky in that we only queued for about 30-45 minutes and our e-ticket was exchanged for real seat tickets in the Royal Circle (seats which would have cost £100 if we were seeing a West End show!!). Once we had our tickets we could leave the area to do as we wanted as long as we arrived back for 6.30pm but I think for most other studio recordings there isn't an exchange you just go in and it's recorded pretty much immediately. What you also must keep in mind is that not all seats will be the most amazing view, remember that these are totally free tickets and you really aren't in a position to argue about where you're sat - you get what you're given basically.

Moral of the story for any experience with Applause Store - keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed and have a plan B if you're travelling a distance, also, be prepared to wait and dress accordingly. But I can assure you that if you manage to bag a seat in the audience for free it's an amazing experience!

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