As we are right in the middle of planning Dabbing Out Series 2, we caught up with presenter Charlie Shakespeare to find out some behind-the-scenes info from the first series…
Since I joined the WhichBingo team in early 2021, the idea of visiting the exciting world of bingo party events was high on our agenda. At WhichBingo we love the traditional game, both online and in land-based halls, but over the past decade there has been an undeniable movement within the industry.
Bingo party events are cropping up everywhere. Some resemble club nights, some are as heavy as a rave, some are comedy themed, and others are technically advanced, but they all share one thing in common: they’re bringing bingo to the next generation of players.
I set myself a mission to find out how and why.
BINGO IN 2022
Bongo’s Bingo, Dabbers Bingo, Bogan Bingo, Musical Bingo, Gingers Big Drag Bingo, Hip Hop Bingo and all the other bingo nights have one thing in common… they’re all bonkers! But bonkers in different ways.
At Bongo’s Bingo I was close to winning a cardboard cut-out of national treasure Sir David Attenborough, before it was crowd surfed around the room. At Dabbers Bingo, I found myself dressed in a blue wig dancing in front of 300+ people. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Some of these events lean heavily on clever comedy by seasoned presenters, others feature music as an integral part of the night, but they’re all absolutely crazy in different ways.
Halfway through the series we wanted to explore traditional bingo as a juxtaposition to the nights we’d visited prior. I visited Mecca Bingo’s oldest hall in Rosehill, South London.
One bingo event I was looking forward to attending was Hijingo. This bingo night has a permanent home in Shoreditch and offers a multi-sensory experience. It is the future of bingo!
What I noticed was the similarities between Hijingo and Mecca Bingo’s new Luton club which we visited in the previous episode. Mecca Luton has been designed to bring traditional bingo halls into the 21st century. Hijingo is a party/club night, whereas Mecca Luton still offers the traditional game, but the presentation of both halls is very similar. Mecca Luton boasts state-of-the-art screens, motion graphics and a far greater sensory experience than you’d ever expect in a traditional hall.
It seems the future of bingo isn’t just for the younger generation to enjoy. I learnt the classic ‘bingo goers’ can also experience the future of bingo today.
We were in the safe hands of Joe Kaufman from Red Kite Films, the incredible film production company that captured, edited and produced the series. I’ve worked with Joe on countless projects in the past and his eye for documenting events is brilliant.
WHAT I LEARNT
Rather than write what I’ve learnt, it’s easier to watch the final episode of the series, Episode 10: Charlie’s Recap. After being on this journey, I have a few theories as to why bingo is still so popular – and with a new generation – but I’ll save them for the video!