“You were on the Beyaz Show last night!” said strangers we bumped into in Istanbul after our TV show the previous night.

If you are keeping up with the exploits of the Brits from Ovacik who do the Turkish Folk Singing and Dancing, you will have read that a couple of weeks ago they were on TRT, the National TV channel and that the arrangements were not thrilling – in fact it was chaotic. 

After that they appeared in Dikili, north of Izmir, for a Mayoral conference/presentation, chiefly because the Mayor of Oludeniz, Kerametin Yilmaz, was being presented with an award. On the way back from this the manager of the Sanat Evi in Ovacik was telephoned by Kanal D asking if they would appear on their channel in 3 days time. One of the group will take up the story from here.

We were tired and had another performance in 2 days time anyway and the prospect of another flight to Istanbul on the Friday didn’t appeal, so we said no. Eventually we were told that only 2 people had ever turned down this offer, Tarkan and us!!

Anyway, the invitation was extended again a week later and, now rested, we accepted and set off for Istanbul to appear on the Beyaz Show which is a late night Friday show that is very popular in Turkey.

Kanal D were very well organised. A people carrier was waiting to pick us up (with blacked out windows), then we were taken to the hotel first to check in and told when we were to be picked up – 6 o’clock. The hotel was situated in a street of many outlet type stores and we had time for a reasonable dose of retail therapy. At the agreed time we were taken to the studios, welcomed and taken to a dining room where we were guided through security and could help ourselves to whatever took our fancy. What a contrast with the box of cling filmed rolls at our previous TV appearance!

We had time for a quick drink at the bar (which we paid for) before being taken to our changing rooms- no changing in the corridor here. Our dressing rooms had refreshments and yes… a mirror with lights all round! The band learned how to do our song- we rehearsed – Mr. Beyaz, the show’s star, even came to welcome us. Then to the make-up room and hairdresser (those in the know will be wondering what the latter did to a couple of the gentleman in the group as they are somewhat follicley challenged, they were treated to an application which would prevent shine!).

We changed into our costumes and with half an hour to go were ushered into the waiting room. The studio was packed with young people, the show is very popular with university students we were told. Not a centimetre of the seating or floor was left. The band and warm-up people were at work and the atmosphere was electric and loaded with anticipation.

Mr Beyaz came into the waiting room -wished us all good luck and he went out to a rapturous welcome. We were the first guests and we performed after a brief chat. The audience joined in as we sang. We can’t say it was our best performance, we had done too much strained rehearsing, particularly trying to do a song we were not prepared for just in case it was needed. Voices were not at their best, and they wanted just one song, so none of our dances were included. Such is the nature of many TV programmes, one item is wanted and a bit of chat. However it was a very positive experience.

Mr. Beyaz showed respect to the lead singer in the Turkish way of kissing the hand and putting it to his forehead. Next day we had lots of time for shopping, and as we walked the streets of Istanbul, many times we were looked at strangely at first, and then the light of recognition could be seen to switch on the reaction “You were on the Beyaz Show last night!” This even happened in MacDonalds (OK we were weak!) and again at the airport.

Although we know that we are not first-class singers and dancers, we do try, and can’t believe the generosity of the Turkish people. They always thank us for performing, and for showing that we see a value in things traditional.