I'm immensely proud of this series. The amount of work it has taken is above and beyond what I could've predicted, but we delivered exactly what we promised. I'll save the real thankyous for next week, but a quick shout-out to Paul, Jenny, Octav1us and Larry, who are the glue which hold it all together on-screen.
You can't underestimate what a daunting prospect this must've been for them - to walk into a studio of people they barely knew, with immense pressure on them to be informative, funny, and professional. Jenny and Octav1us had never done anything remotely like this before, but you simply wouldn't know.
You're extremely exposed in a situation like that - especially in this day and age - where it's your face on screen. Putting yourself out there takes a huge amount of bravery. The fact that they overcame all that and performed not just adequately, but brilliantly, is genuinely humbling. I don't take it for granted.
Anyway... let's take a look behind-the-scenes of Episode 5.... BEWARE: SPOILERS!
Oh, and incidentally, if you're wondering where Episode 1 has gone to, I've taken it down temporarily so that we can fix the sound and frame-rate issues. It does mean we'll lose all those lovely views, but - let's face it - half of them were from wankers anyway.
A couple of people were worried early on that we had too many hosts, but I think it works well having two either side of me. Once again, my only slight regret - and I've said this before - is that had I known how good they'd be, I'd have made more use of the entire panel.
Next week, however, redresses that balance somewhat...
I thought about trying to make my own, but - while I can sort of wield a pencil and a paintbrush with a small degree of competency - I'm terrible at making anything in 3D. Whenever we had to make anything out of clay or wood at school, mine would end up looking like a failed clone embryo.
But anyway. I dunno why it took me so long to realise that a gas mask sort of looks quite a lot like The Man's Daddy, but there you have it. Then I just had to figure out how to do his voice. That was harder than the look in a lot of ways; anyone who's read his jokes has a different voice for him in their head, so I settled on not really giving him a voice, but a language all his own.
Which - laughter and all - is baby gibberish, chopped-up, and lowered by several pitches.
Incidentally, yes... that's me in the costume. We shot this in my living room last week.
The white board makes two appearances this episode, though it spent the rest of the series at the rear of the studio, with a schedule and timings written on it. Without that white board we'd have been buggered.
And somehow, I was completely unaware of Videogame Nation until people started telling me how good it had been... somewhat too late for me to see it. I've since caught up on the show online, and wish I'd been aware of it sooner.
Dan is a diamond of a gent, and a proper broadcaster. God knows what he made of our glorious shambles of a production, not least because he rocked up on the final day when we were all very, very, very tired, and scraping at the bottom of our adrenaline reserves...
Also: it's Quang's first full on-screen appearance! I've said it many times, but without Quang on set, we'd have been in big trouble. Day after day, whenever there was a problem, he sorted it.
He's just one of the many unsung heroes on this series - which, belatedly, includes Scott MacDonald for his help grading and editing the episodes, and Chris Bullock, who taken over mixing her original sound, rather than risk me continuing to do a botch job of it.
There wasn't another games studio whose games I would buy blind. It was the gaming equivalent of having a favourite band.
I enjoy the Head-to-Heads - primarily, because the entire panel get to be on screen and interact with one another - but if we do a second series, it's probably the segment that I'm going to try to rework to make it a little more dynamic. I also want us to get a bit deeper into some less obvious subject areas. A few of which I've already thought of...
I honestly had no idea the game would go this way when I was planning it, but we shot it on day 2, and it was the moment that I knew the series was going to, potentially, be something special.
The confluence of Eli as Sonic, Larry and Paul retching, the fact it was based around a video game - but done in a completely disrespectful way... my laughter is as much out of relief as anything. Up until this point, I knew that we were going to be okay.... but I was still worried that hadn't managed to capture something uniquely "us". This was where that changed.
I think morale on set lifted hugely after this, and it pointed the way forwards for the rest of the shoot.
And so... onto the big finale. I really, really love Episode 6. All the hosts play a part, there's a lovely, relaxed atmosphere, it feels like a proper finale - bringing together little running gags and moments from the entire series, and tying it all off in a pretty bow.
Plus, we bring back Mockety Moc for another outing - with a new line-up of guests and contestants.
And if you thought the previous one was chaos... this is something else.