The weekend before last, I had to get up at 5am to sit on my leg and flap my arms around like an over-enthusiastic green bird. Well, I didn't have to, but for some reason this is what I ended up doing, while talking about my favourite sitcom. But I didn't realise this at the time, because I had adrenaline coursing through me.
That's because live telly is scary. I don't look nervous, but I was terrified. My brain kept saying, "Imagine how bad it would be if you did a huge burp. It will be replayed, and millions of people will watch the burp on YouTube. You will be forever known as Burp Girl, and for the rest of your life, when people meet you, they'll say, 'Oh, aren't you that girl who did that huge burp?!'"
Worse, you could accidentally swear, or say something hugely offensive, or start choking or coughing, or spontaneously be sick. I know this is very unlikely - in fact, I know these things aren't going to happen - but that doesn't stop me worrying about them. It's probably not very professional, but I wrote reassuring words between my fingers, like "stay calm" and "relax" and "breathe". (I didn't look at these words once, but it vaguely helped to know that they were there.)
After watching the clip, I also wrote a helpful checklist of Things To Remember While On TV:
(1) Do not slurp your water on-screen after each question like a thirsty buffalo
(2) Do not gesticulate like an agitated monkey pushing away an invisible banana
(3) Do not sit on your leg, unaware that everyone can see you sitting on your leg. If you must sit on something, make it your hands.
I think the more often you do something scary - whatever it is - the less scary it becomes, just because you realise you can do it (not particularly well, maybe, but you can) and that the thing you were most scared of probably hasn't happened. (Unless it has, in which case you're buggered.)
By the way, Toby and Charlie were ace, and the female presenter (Louise Minchin) is possibly the nicest person in the world (and that includes Nelson Mandela and the woman who called the paramedics after I was hit by a motorbike).
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