Sunday, 6 December 2009
The other night, I did an interview with CNN through my computer. Through the computer! I appreciate this might sound routine to some of you, but my level of technological understanding is equivalent to Keith Chegwin on a French awayday for The MultiColoured Swap Shop, holding his watch up to the camera and shrieking “Look! It’s a DIFFERENT TIME OF DAY here!”
I had been filming all day in the normal way, making episodes of Only Connect for a new series due to start in January. I understand that sort of filming. There are cameras everywhere, with lights on them and people wheeling them around. I have a microphone pinned to my front, battery packs clipped to my belt, and a giant autocue in front of my face which (being too squeamish for contact lenses and too vain for glasses) I can’t possibly read, simply shouting the odd word where I recognize it and otherwise telling the producer I am “deliberately improvising to keep it fresh”. In that scenario, I know there are people looking. I know to smile and not to pick my nose.
Through the computer though - super weird. How could they see me? How could they hear me? I have now watched it back online and finally believe that they could and can, though I’m not sure I’ll ever grasp how. I’ve had Skype conversations before, and been amazed and warmed by how they narrow the ocean free of charge when you’re missing loved ones from Vegas - but never with anyone I could see through the computer, and this was somehow turning into a live TV broadcast! I’ll put the link here; you might not fancy sitting through the whole interview, but it’s worth clicking for the opening bit where the interviewer has to tell me to look at the screen, a concept I grasp very gradually and then, clearly, make a decision to stop grimacing at it.
(By the way, I’m not sure where the interviewer got the idea that I have a flat in Cardiff. David Tennant might, but low-level BBC 4 presenters are grateful to get a hotel room.)