Hello, I’m Tracy the Executive Producer of Come Dine With Me South Africa and this will be the first of many blogs in the lead up to the eagerly anticipated return of the series. I work very closely with the brilliant Joburg (or Jozi as the locals often call it) based production company Rapid Blue and the BBC Entertainment team back in London to create what is one of the most entertaining and talked about TV programmes in South Africa. In my blogs I’ll be keeping you up to date with the progress of the making of Series 2 and what we’re getting up to behind the scenes, so make sure you keep an eye out for my updates as I’ll post again towards the end of the month.
In my first blog I thought I’d start off giving you a bit of insight in to a recent trip I had to South Africa. I was heading to meet Rapid Blue to spend a day sifting through the potential candidates for series two. It was a bright, sunny day in Randburg where the Rapid Blue offices are based but everyone in Johannesburg was complaining how cold it was with the temperature outside a breezy 2 degrees. Having just arrived from essentially what can only be described as monsoon season back in the UK I was positively delighted with the weather! Not a rain cloud in sight and I was finally able to sport some summer attire which previously had been hanging rather despondently in my wardrobe pleading for an outing.
As soon as I landed there was no time to relax though as it was straight down to work with Rapid Blue who over the past six weeks have been working tirelessly day and night interviewing and filming audition tapes having received hundreds of applicants for season two. When the team started the search, they were nervous about finding contestants as diverse and entertaining as we’d had in series one - I mean who can forget the infamous Aubrey and his penchant for a glass of wine, or Estie’s Healing Powers… but when we sat down to review the tapes, the team were all smiles: “Tracy, season two is going to blow your socks off!”
And so we began the long process of looking at the audition tapes. It soon became apparent to me that there were more fantastic applicants than we actually would have space for! We are doing 12 episodes this year which means a total of 48 contestants over the series. The pressure was on to choose the final line up and it was a really tough decision.
Over the next few hours I encountered some of South Africa’s most amazing and unique characters, here are just some of the treats I witnessed......
A traditional sporty, macho Afrikaans guy (with two tiny, fluffy pet dogs) who throws everything on the braai (including his self titled Braai bread dessert with marshmallows and chocolate); a young lady who projectile vomits if she accidentally eats anything with lactose, then there’s the gentleman with an unpredictable oven who wants to serve a Mopani Worm salsa in a Gem Squash. We also encounter a woman who laughs so much she wets her own pants and another candidate who likes to squeeze her guest’s spots!
Mix this up with some amazing food - everything from Wonderpatats to Venison Pie to Galaktoburico to Mutton bunny chow - and some extraordinary after-dinner entertainment – Singing Drag Queens to Tswana Traditional Dancing to Drumming lessons to ‘Grannies doing a strip-tease’ and we are guaranteed some compelling viewing.
I’m not going to tell you which of these fabulously quirky characters are going to make it to the final cut as that will spoil the fun, you’ll have to tune in to series two of Come Dine With Me South Africa when it launches in September.
While I’ve been busy working with Rapid Blue to choose our dinner party hosts, the Creative team in London have also been toiling away for the past two months putting together ideas for the new series on-air trailer. They have been working hard to guarantee that the trailer captures the drama, laughs, sniping and snooping that viewers know and love about the series to build the anticipation ahead of the series launch in September.
Once they had their chosen idea, the team set about developing a compelling script and storyboards and then started to make preparations for the shoot which was taking place in South Africa.
Last week four members of the London creative team flew out to Boulderwood in Cape Town, working with local production company Ground Glass to cast South African actors and find a suitable location for filming in the area.
Later that week the team headed up the 30-strong SA crew to film the on-air trailer over a 14-hour shoot day. The torrential downpours outside did nothing to dampen the drama, humour and big characters that played out on set and the team were really pleased with the finished result.
You can get a sneak peak at the shoot here but will need to tune into BBC Entertainment around 25th August to see the trailer in full. It’s guaranteed to get you even more excited for the launch of Series 2.
Anyway that’s it from me right now, as I mentioned I’ll be back again in a month’s time to fill you in on how the first couple of weeks of series shooting have been going..... As Rapid Blue assured me when we sat down together, one thing is for certain we are on to a new season that is guaranteed to ‘blow your socks off’.