As you can see from this photo, I made my live television debut yesterday, speaking as official rabbit-in-the-headlights and expert on North Korea.
For some reason, I'm increasingly in demand on radio, TV and live speaking, and I was delighted to read a Twitter response to my recent Radio 4 interview where I was described as "the baying jackal of the BBC". That's going on my CV.
Live television – as you'd expect – is every bit as glamorous as you'd expect it to be and might involve the following:
- Wearing a shirt and tie to work. My usual work wear is the Joy Division T-shirt and hoodie combination, so this is A Big Step In Being A Grown Up. There is no make-up person, so that is indeed my natural under-a-pair-of-studio-lights-in-an-enclosed-space rosy glow- Having to change the BBC South backdrop for the BBC Monitoring one. Sounds easy, but they're all heavy heavy wood and fragile fragile plastic which means you need a cast of thousands in a confined space to move them- The studio is a cupboard under the stairs, which began life as a cupboard under the stairs, and still exists as storage for anything unwanted, as long as it remains out of shot. Windowless, airless, once the door is closed, you sit there expecting someone to pump all the air out- As with all of television, everything is held together by duct tape. The chair, the desk, the microphone, the studio lights. Except the studio clock, which is held in place, by chewing gum and an open defiance of gravity.
Then you go live and there follows two minutes of terror hoping the presenter (who you cannot see) doesn't go too-far off piste with the questions, and you're free. Except for: "Can you do another one at four this afternoon?"
And you're pleased because you came through without breaking the golden rule: Don't swear, and don't set the studio on fire
In summary: Held together by string and sellotape, terrifying, hot.
BUT: THE GLAMOUR!