Meeting Ian Wright, Jeff Stelling and Paddy McGuinness on the set of the Carlsberg World Cup TV advert was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse. I had mulled over what I thought it was going to be like and in reality, it wasn’t like how I had imagined…

I turned up at Park Royal studios in West London on a cold March morning to a crowd of people excitedly waiting outside with the England flag painted on their faces. It was slightly weird; 10.00am was too early for face painting in my opinion!

I made my way through the crowd and finally reached the door where two burly security guards were standing. I’m still not quite sure why they were there as I walked straight on through to be met by a throng of journalists and PR execs milling around, organising interviews with Ian, Jeff and Paddy.

It wasn’t as glamorous as I thought it was going to be, although there was an excitement about the place as extras frantically ran to and from the set. I wondered when it was going to be my turn to get in on the action. A rumour had gone round the office the day before that whoever went could be used as an extra. It was my time to shine; first stop Park Royal studios in west London, then Hollywood.

After lunch (a honey and soy chicken dish that was surprisingly nice) I was taken on set and was formally introduced to Ian, Jeff and Paddy. I had interviewed Ian Wright the previous day so we were pretty much best friends already. It must be said that all three gentlemen were incredibly warm, welcoming and eager to talk about why we were all there.

I was still unsure if I was ever going to get my moment to show the world my remarkable acting skills. Then, rather fortuitously I was taken to the costume department to be made up into the stereotypical England fan down the pub watching the game. It was decided that what I wearing was fine. I didn’t know how to feel about this!

Before I knew it, I was on set being ordered around. Take after take I tried to get in shot and, after two-and-a-half hours of yelling at a fake TV screen showing the England game, I was physically and emotionally shattered. The thought of being on the big screen at half-time during one of England’s games at the World Cup spurred me on though, and I powered through.

In true Carlsberg style the ad turns a bad scenario good. Take a look at the link and watch Ian, Jeff and Paddy, the Carlsberg Fan Squad come to the rescue.

I never made the cut and my acting dream carries on. For now I’ll settle for FFC HQ!

James on set at carlsberg

The Carlsberg Fan Squad aims to make football BETTER for fans by listening to real fans, celebrating what is great about football and improving the experience of being a fan. Head to www.CarlsbergFanSquad.co.uk for the chance to be one of 1,000 England fans at the Ultimate England Experience at Wembley. That calls for a Carlsberg!

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