Free nights out: Guide to getting free tickets to TV shows

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Going to a TV recording is a great idea for a free night out, and here's out guide on getting in!

A night out at a TV show can be quite a fun experience, and an eye opener for many TV fans who may not have seen how their glossy Saturday night favourites are actually produced.


And best of all: Tickets to even the biggest shows are absolutely free!

From QI to Top Gear, The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing to A Night In With Beyonce, audience tickets provide a free and enjoyable night out.

Here's our guide to getting the most out of free TV tickets!

Where to start

There are various audience ticket vendors, each of which deals with various shows.

By far the biggest (and holding tickets to the most shows) is Applause Store who offer tickets to lots of entertainment and reality TV shows from Celebrity Juice and Catchphrase to Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor. Some of the smaller sites include SRO Audiences and Lost In TV.

The BBC meanwhile has its own site at bbc.co.uk/ with deals with tickets for a number of its own shows including Strictly Come Dancing, although you'll find quite few BBC shows on the above links too.

As which audience ticket vendor is responsible for which show changes often, it's best to check each site when looking for a certain show.

Getting tickets

Tickets are generally given out randomly to anyone who requests them for that show. For more popular shows there may be waiting lists and reserve lists.

This means that it's not as simple as booking a ticket for the cinema or concert, with a wait to find out if you've been allocated the tickets requested.

For the most popular shows it's best to get in early on the waiting lists, and our top tip is to sign up to the ticket websites' email lists, which will tip you off when they're accepting requests for new shows.

A few warnings...

As with anything, especially something that's free, there's some warnings that come with it.

Tickets do often not guarantee entry, so we don't recommend trekking to a studio miles away lest you be disappointed.

Aim to get in the queue at least an hour or so before the Door Opening time on the ticket, even earlier for more popular shows.

For the biggest shows - such as The X Factor - you may even find some hardcore fans camping overnight to get in!

Be prepared to wait

Even a 30 minute panel show such as Mock The Week can take upwards of two hours to record, while a session of The Voice UK auditions could take as long as 6 hours.

Bare this in mind when planning, and be prepared to do a lot of waiting, not only in the queues but also once in the studio.

There will be plenty of free time between retakes, make up changes and breaks, although usually there'll be entertainment on hand to at least try and keep you interested.