It’s always one of the glitziest, most exclusive showbiz parties of the year – and the 2012 Radio Times Covers Party was no exception.
Celebs who had the rare honour of appearing on the cover of Radio Times magazine last year – and a few select others who received one of our much sought-after invitations - came to London’s super-swanky Claridge’s to receive framed copies, at a ceremony compered by Graham Norton and RT editor Ben Preston.
Everyone from Kevin Whately to Ann Widdecombe, Katherine Kelly to Fern Britton and David Morrissey to Apprentice winner Tom Pellereau turned out to collect a unique memento of their appearance on the front of RT. No other press are allowed inside the event – just us and the stars!
Some of those attending were particularly honoured guests. Radio Times was very pleased to welcome Terry Pratchett, who collected the cover for his ground-breaking documentary Choosing to Die. “Thank you Radio Times,” Pratchett tweeted as he made his way home. “You sure know how to throw a superb party… so many people to thank for their company, but Big Respect to Warwick Davis and [Davis’s wife] Samantha.”
And by far the biggest cheer of the night was for someone who had gone one better than everyone else by designing a cover rather than merely being photographed: seven-year-old Darcey Gurner, whose illustration was chosen to grace our Royal Wedding issue in April, was out way past bedtime and on stage to collect her prize.
Once everyone had got their awards, the mingling began in earnest. Exile’s John Simm was chatting to Sherlock’s Louise Brealey. Darren Boyd and Rufus Jones of Holy Flying Circus were hobnobbing with the Downton sisters, Laura Carmichael and Jessica Brown-Findlay. Warwick Davis, who told us he's a fan of Sherlock and Doctor Who, made a beeline for Steven Moffat. (Moffat was batting away questions about the Sherlock finale all night, but did drop us one juicy titbit...)
The biggest celebrity love-in, though, was a long, intense conversation between Chris Packham and Vic Reeves. About what? Reeves, a known birdwatcher, gave a clue: “I might do a book with him.” Reeves was later seen talking with Vicky McClure of This Is England fame.
Stars from Strictly Come Dancing were out in force: Holly Valance - sporting a spectacular gold dress and even more spectacular engagement ring – was there, along with Alex Jones, Lulu and, looking more glamorous than any of them, Russell Grant.
Collecting The X Factor’s cover on Gary Barlow’s behalf was Craig Colton, who then found he had at least two big fans in the room: Britain’s Got Talent contestant Michael Collings and Corrie/I’m a Celebrity... star Antony Cotton both approached him to praise his X Factor performances.
Also in the room, and sporting a natty new moustache, was Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss – he explained the face fur was for his upcoming performance as Captain Brazen in The Recruiting Officer at London’s Donmar Warehouse. “His name is Brazen and he is brazen!” said Gatiss, who is clearly looking forward to wowing the West End (the show's already sold out).
Who else was on the guest list? Almost too many to count: Jim Carter and Thomas Howes (Downton Abbey), Ronan Parke (Britain’s Got Talent), Bryan Dick (Eric and Ernie), Jimmy Doherty (A Farmer’s Life for Me), Sophie Raworth, Chris Hollins, Jeremy Vine, Emily Maitlis (in a tremendous Killing-style jumper), Karren Brady along with Apprentice runners-up Susan Ma and Jim Eastwood, BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey, Lenora Crichlow and Being Human creator Toby Whithouse, Justin Webb, Catherine Tyldesley (Coronation Street) and RT's own Barry Norman and Andrew Collins…
Relive it all on our as-it-happened live blog, and read more on RadioTimes.com this week and in next week’s Radio Times magazine…