The Other Side of the Screen

Yesterday morn­ing I was lucky enough to be invited to the stu­di­os of York TV, a tele­vi­sion sta­tion that broad­casts to 250, 000 people in our loc­al area (though I don’t know how many were up at 7:45 am!). I was there to talk about my forth­com­ing nov­el, Deja Vu. Because it was an inter­est­ing exper­i­ence, I thought I would write a few words about it.

First of all, a bit of hon­esty: I don’t like talk­ing about myself. In every­day con­ver­sa­tion, if some­body finds out I am a writer, I usu­ally tell them a little about my book, when it will be pub­lished, and the pro­cess of edit­ing. I’m not an espe­cially private per­son, but I get bored with people who talk about them­selves too much, so I try not to do it myself.

I was inter­ested to see how I would behave in front of a cam­era. First rule: no swear­ing. Second rule: wear some­thing bright because the sofa is black. Third rule: spend the pre­vi­ous night swear­ing because you only have one ser­vice­able shirt, which is dark.

York TV is a loc­ally-run sta­tion and they have an inform­al approach to things. Their stu­di­os amount to a col­lec­tion of farm build­ings on the out­skirts of York. In the light of 7:30 am, the frost had made the fields icy-white, but the low sun was blood red. It all looked a bit ser­i­ous.

I was due to be a guest on York TV’s morn­ing magazine show, York Today — a kind of GMTV. The dir­ect­or greeted me at the door and showed me through to the stu­dio, a long, low room with a set at one end. On the set was a sofa, fierce light­ing and two friendly presenters: Dawn and Nick. I shook hands with both of them, exchanged some pleas­ant­ries, and was led to the ‘green room’. The green room con­tained a make-up table and a tele­vi­sion, which was show­ing York TV. The adverts ended and sud­denly Dawn and Nick were on the same, black sofa I had just been look­ing at. I glanced at Britta, my part­ner, who had accom­pan­ied me to the stu­dio.

Out the door, first on your right,” she said.

I returned from the toi­let a few minutes later and watched the show — pacing a trench — until it was my turn to go on. Britta wished me good luck. I puffed out my chest and walked into the stu­dio.

The inter­view went sur­pris­ingly well. Dawn obli­gingly offered my book to the cam­era and Nick chat­ted to me about the dif­fer­ences between CD pub­lish­ing and book pub­lish­ing. We all talked about the psy­cho­lo­gic­al phe­nomen­on of ‘deja vu’. I out­lined the book’s story. Most of the inter­view was spent detail­ing the tribu­la­tions of get­ting the book pub­lished, par­tic­u­larly the task of get­ting a pub­lish­er to look at your work on the basis of its qual­ity rather than its mar­ket­ab­il­ity. Overall, I was pleased with the per­form­ance. I had pre­pared some stock answers to ques­tions like “What is the book about?” “Why do you want to be a writer?”, but, in the event, I didn’t use any of them.

So did I get bored with talk­ing about myself for fif­teen minutes? Nope! Thanks to the team at York TV for mak­ing it so much fun.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

One thought on “The Other Side of the Screen”

  1. I think York TV was really good at first — it was excit­ing and new — it had some very ori­gin­al ideas but then you star­ted see­ing that Dawn on TV — she just wanted a shag really cos all she talked about was sex. It must have star­ted to get really badly organ­ised last sum­mer cos the qual­ity just got worse and worse. Bring back the old team (who­ever they were) they knew what they were doing not like the nonces that have been on for the last year.

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