The moment I walked into the ITV studios I bumped straight into Carol Vorderman coming down the stairs. This was the beginning of a long line of celebrity encounters that day, including Bradley Walsh, Kevin McLoud, the Loose Women, Jane Asher, Mathew Horne, and Joanna Page. I was lucky enough to speak to Kevin and Bradley and they were extremely friendly and down-to-earth - exactly as they seem on the television in fact.
I began the day by greeting my friend Suzie Kennedy who is a Marilyn Monroe lookalike and was there to sing and take part in the same feature as me. I was then rushed to make-up and into rehearsal with Alan Titchmarsh himself.
The first thing I will say about Alan is just how wonderfully warm and welcoming he is. I was sitting on the stage while he had his back to me, checking his introductions for the day. He suddenly looked round and realised I was there. He rushed over, apologised profusely for not saying hello earlier, and then sat down to chat with me about Marilyn, my book, the film 'My Week with Marilyn' and much more. It was then time to have our quick rehearsal before we headed off to lunch.
In a segment that was being taped that day but scheduled for the next, there were a variety of lookalikes including Simon Cowell and Kate Middleton. The one that excited me the most, however, was the Margaret Thatcher lookalike who I immediately recognised as Steve Nallon who was very famous in the 1980s as an impersonator of the Iron Lady, as well as providing her voice for her Spitting Image puppet. We had lunch with Steve and the other tribute artists and we had such a relaxed time that to be honest I forgot that I was there to do a live television show, and just enjoyed my day. My only regret is that I didn't get a photo of Steve, but I hope you like the picture I got of me, Suzie, 'Kate' and 'Simon.'
By the time 3 pm came, it was time for Suzie to do her first song and she was ushered backstage to wait to go on. Then a few minutes later the producer came in search of me too, and before I knew it I was sitting in the dark backstage area, whispering to Ashley the showbiz correspondent who was coming onto the stage to talk about Marilyn with me. Then before we knew it, it was the commercial break and we walked up the steps onto the stage, where hundreds of people in the audience were being entertained by a warm-up man. Then the floor manager shouted "30 seconds until we're live" and everyone started cheering as the music played once again.
Alan gave me a nice introduction and then we saw Marilyn in action on screen, before finally it was time for me to talk about my book. The funny thing is, that while I felt nervous backstage, I was absolutely fine on-stage, probably because Alan has a real knack at putting you at ease. I forgot there was an audience in the studio, although I was always very much aware of the millions of people watching at home - the vast amount of cameras kept reminding me of that! Still, I really did feel okay about the interview and the questions were friendly and informal, which was a great thing.
Suzie entertained the crowd with her singing once again, and then we chatted for a few minutes before finally it was time to wrap things up and say good bye. Alan was then whisked onto the next set to speak to Jane Asher and Michael Horne, while we sneaked off backstage, trying not to get caught by one of the ever-present cameras.
After that it was time to leave the studio, and just an hour after my appearance, I was back on the train, whizzing away from London and back to my 'normal' life. It was an amazing day and one that I certainly won't ever forget. What a great experience it was and I'm happy to say that since my appearance, my book has gone shooting up the Amazon charts once again and I've received some lovely emails and comments on FaceBook and Twitter.
The next day my parents' next-door-neighbour was very kind and gave me a photo montage of the day, which was a really super surprise. I've included it here and I hope you like it!
You can see a video of the show below. It is a little shaky as it was taped from my laptop onto my iPad, but hopefully it will still be enjoyable:
If you like to order 'Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed' (or Private and Confidential as it is called in the USA), you can do so here: