For the last few months, I’ve been writing a column for a newsletter called Planet Science, covering activities and demonstrations and the like. Yet another way of milking the old Big Bang and How2 back catalogue, basically.
This morning I was contacted, via Planet Science, by a production company in London. Now, I’m not terribly well connected, and such things don’t happen very often, so I was mildly surprised that they’d track me down via that route. All became clearer, however, when they asked how much experience I had of live television. ‘Not much,’ I replied. ‘Some of the Christmas Lectures were live, but by that time I was asleep under my desk in the production office, so to be honest I’ve no idea how they went.’
There was a pause.
‘No,’ said the terribly polite but now rapidly back-tracking AP, ‘I meant… on the other side of the camera.’
Realisation dawned at both ends of the phone. Mis-reading ‘producer’ as ‘presenter’ is something we’ve all done, typically when one is trying to find the latter and can only find the former. Now, I’ve stumbled in front of the lens a few times, and not all of those hit the cutting-room floor. But really, I’m no presenter. And I’m certainly not up to the job of co-anchoring a live (NB. live) show based around a zero-anaesthetic operation. Not unless they’re really desperate. Or mad.