Last week I was lucky enough to appear on The Alan Titchmarsh Show as their family portrait photography expert. As many of you know, before concentrating on photography, I worked in TV for nearly 10 years but I was always on the other side of the camera (apart from a couple of brief appearances in my student days on Kilroy (!) and Mel and Sue’s Late Lunch – do you remember that show?!).
It was completely fascinating appearing as a guest and I now know how all those contributors felt on the shows I worked on: a little bit overwhelmed, awestruck and NERVOUS!
Luckily I managed to rope in my friend Lucy and her gorgeous baby Lyra to come with me as my ‘models’ and thank goodness I did. Lyra was the star of the show and so sweet and good-natured: a proper TV star in the making.
We arrived at ITV studios on the Southbank nice and early and were led up to our very own dressing room, where we mostly panicked about what we should wear (heels or no heels, that was the question). Then it was down to the Green Room where we hung out with lovely psychologist Karen Pine and talented wildlife photographer, Paul Goldstein who were also appearing on the show.
Then it was into make-up where Lucy and I were made to look half decent and given fabulous bouncy hairstyles which we both found quite hilarious. Lyra was busy making friends with all the crew backstage as she gave everyone, including Alan T, her trademark winning smile.
The show was impressively organised and we were pretty much straight on for our segment with only a quick block through before we recorded. Our bit went really quickly and I just about managed to get to grips with the very tricky live filming set up where you can’t actually see what you are capturing on the camera. Photographers will appreciate how terrifying that was. Luckily Lyra behaved impeccably and we got a lovely shot of her on her colourful blanket.
Once it was over Lucy, Lyra and I went back to the Green Room to debrief and I of course started to obsess about all the things I should have said and would have done differently.
But that’s live TV for you – you only get one chance at it and I reasoned I’d done a passably good job, especially without a rehearsal or the luxury of re-takes. It definitely made me respect Mr Titchmarsh, keeping the conversation and the show flowing is a real skill.
After a bit of a backstage tour around the studio and set with Lyra posing beautifully for photos, Lucy and I then took ourselves off for a well-deserved lunch.
It’s not every day you get to appear on the telly but it certainly makes your day more exciting when you do.
Here’s a clip of me in action along with some backstage photos.
The lovely producer Lauren….
Just chilling in the Green Room, beneath Joan…
With photographer Paul Goldstein and psychologist Karen Pine.
Hanging out on set.
It’s pretty exhausting this TV malarky.
Backstage in the studio. Water and fruit, what a healthy lot.
A lone crew member takes a break.