i Editor's Letter: On camera exercise


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The Independent Online


My secondary school reports  carried remarks like “Often looking out of window – can’t be sure that Oliver is listening.” Those golden memories of swinging on a plastic bucket seat and gazing distractedly across the playing fields leapt from the depths of my brain recently, when I got feedback from a television audition.

Many of us here have had screen tests for our company’s London Live television channel, which is launching next spring, to see whether we’re comfortable appearing on-air. You talk unscripted into a camera for a couple of minutes, then have one of those sofa conversations with a presenter. There’s no journalese, it’s more like a chat in the pub.

The crew liked my enthusiasm, apparently, but were taken aback by how quickly I was talking – more than double the required speed for television. About seven words a second, rather than  three. And I kept losing eye  contact with the presenter and  staring off into the distance, which made me look suspicious. (See school reports, above.)

Part of being Editor is appearing on television: paper reviews, news channels, talk shows, spreading the gospel of i under the cloak of  contributing to current affairs discussions. So, remembering to speak…quite…slowly… I’ll be on the BBC tonight, just after the 10 o’clock bulletin on the News channel, for The Papers, to discuss tomorrow’s front pages. Unless Auntie can find someone grander with nothing else to do on a Friday night. To those readers at risk of stumbling across my gabbling, I can only refer you in good time to our film and television listings.


Twitter.com: @olyduff