For the 24 finalists of our Best Friend of the Year competition (pictured above), National Best Friend Day was a fun-filled occasion with a lot of laughter, friendship… and plenty of selfies!
Having made the cut to come down to London for the final, these 12 pairs of BFFs travelled down to the ITV studios to watch Loose Women live this week, before joining the ladies themselves for a question and answer session and exclusive luncheon, were the ultimate winner was revealed!
So it began…
As we gathered outside the Loose Women studios with our group of BFF finalists, it was clear why everybody had made the cut. The atmosphere was an incredibly friendly one and, right from the offset, people were swapping their tombola bingo screen names and getting to know each other’s backstories.
After a few brews (and plenty of biscuits) at ITV’s South Bank bar, we were lead into the studio itself to take our seats for the show. After the whole audience took part in a singalong of Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York’ (like you do), it was clear our chords were in good shape for any vocal reactions to the show.
Here come the girls
As if they were fresh from the pages of a magazine, Jane Moore, Jamelia, Gloria Hunniford and Ruth Langsford all came onto the stage, on by one, to take their seats. A wide range of topics were discussed, from Kate Moss being thrown off an EasyJet flight to a heated debate about charity bosses’ wages – a topic that particularly struck a chord with the audience, who were very opinionated on the subject.
We also enjoyed guest appearances form not one, but two celebrities: Carry On star Jim Dale, and Strictly Come Dancing’s Kristina Rihanoff (or the ‘Siberian siren’, as she has been dubbed by the press).
The panel had great fun looking back with Jim on his role in the Carry On series, and were surprised to hear that he turns 80 this year (although we all agreed that he hadn’t aged a day)! His sense of humour certainly hasn’t aged either, and we were delighted to find out that he’s performing his own one man show, Just Jim Dale.
Kristina Rihanoff was next in the hot seat. She was keen to defend herself from the image projected of her by the press, speaking openly and honestly about considering leaving the show last year. The Loose Women and audience alike were pleased that she never did!
After the ladies and their guests had cleared the stage, it was time for our very own tombola finalists to spend some time under the spotlights, for some photos behind the famous Loose Women desks!
Ask me anything
The finalists then went upstairs to find their very own Loose Women goody bag and a stunning display of afternoon tea, which came complete with finger sandwiches, scones and macaroons – not to mention a cheeky glass of bubbly or two!
No sooner had the feast begun, than we were greeted by the ladies themselves: Ruth Langsford, Andrea McLean, Gloria Hunniford, Janet Street-Porter and Jane Moore all took a pew at the front of the room, ready for a Q&A session.
As well as expanding on their opinions form the show’s topics, the ladies dished out a bucketful of behind-the-scenes gossip, and Andrea even told us what it’s really like to be hypnotised by a dog… don’t ask!
And the winner is…
After the Loose Women had a good chat with the finalists and a few more photos had been taken (just in case everyone hadn’t secured their new profile pic!), it was time to announce the winners.
Ruth Langsford made the final announcement:
“We all know how important it is to have a best friend in our lives. I’ve just been talking to these two and they’ve been good friends for a very long time…
“It’s Yvette and Edwin!”
After the Best Friends of the Year had collected their prizes from the Loose Women, in an emotional, tear-filled ceremony, they were flooded with congratulations from their fellow finalists.
Yvette was over the moon: “Everyone needs an Edwin in their life. I’m absolutely delighted – what a fantastic day!”
Yvette and Edwin are looking forward to spending their winnings on another trip down to London, where they’ll be going to a West End show!