This week I am going to praise the unsung heroes of television shows that involve an audience. I have been going to television recordings since the 1960s, in the days when they had signs that would light up and tell you to laugh. I have seen Frankie Howerd die a death so he was edited out. I recall an episode of Family Fortunes that had to be scrapped when a contestant asked to name something made out of rubber said the forbidden word condom. I recall a recording when the technicians went on strike but so as not to let down the audience the star Reg Varney put on his variety hall routine.

Most of the recordings were at ATV in Borehamwood but occasionally I strayed to the BBC in London for such shows as The Generation Game and It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

The last recording I saw at Elstree Studios was more than 10 years ago when an old acting mate Andrew Lancel, one-time star of The Bill and Corrie, invited me to be a guest to watch Dancing On Ice. It meant we had a car there and back, front row seats and were in the studio bar before and after the show. It was nice to meet Torvill and Dean, and during the interval Bradley Walsh invited us into his personal 'green room' for more drinks. You can see why I enjoyed the experience, although remember nothing of the show.

Today the hottest ticket in town is for Strictly Come Dancing at Elstree. Apparently four million want to attend but there only about 400 tickets for each show so it is a random selection. But how does that work? Well you are apparently told three weeks ahead if you are one of the chosen. As with all television audience shows the broadcaster sends out more tickets than there are seats, as with anything free people can fall out and not return them. My friends Sharon and Trevor had been applying for 10 years and were selected. They had to check in on a first-come-first-selected policy so they stayed overnight in a local hotel and arrived at 5am at the outside queue area to find they were numbers 107 and 108, as the first had arrived at 6pm the previous day!

They had to queue outdoors for four hours and once their tickets were validated were told to report back at 2.30pm. They arrived back in pouring rain before being led into a marquee for another two hours with very basic facilities. At 4.30pm they were led into the the sound stage, but mobile phones had to be handed in. They were allocated seating, which was very tight regarding space and had to sit there until 11pm with two very short breaks when they were handed a bottle of water and biscuits. I imagine the warm up man instructed them to applaud anything the celebrity dancer did in an orgasm of delight.

It is no secret that the results show is recorded on the same night, although it is rather silly of the BBC to pretend otherwise. I am sure most of the audience enjoy themselves and at the end of the day that is perhaps all that matters. For me it sounds like hell but I have been spoilt, so keep dancing!