Over the years I've attended literally thousands of TV interviews. I've accompanied clients to everything from Top of the Pops through to Newsnight. I've helped arrange interviews all around the world from Saturday Night Live, Wetten Das the legendary German show in which guests were ambushed by men in lederhosen swigging two pint mugs of beer, all the way through to Letterman.
So when I was asked to narrate and appear in one of the episodes of the new BBC 4 series Music Moguls I thought I'd have a reasonable idea of what the procedure was and how it worked. I knew a certain amount but never imagined how much would go into it. There were lively debates on the script and lots of late night e mails and phone calls by me to secure people to appear in the show.
On a particularly busy day, one of the crew explained to me that making a TV programme was a little bit like giving birth. Nine months of hard work with a wonderful sense of achievement and happiness at the end. They weren't wrong. I hadn't realised how much effort and energy goes into making a show like this and also what the demands on me as the participant, as opposed to the PR would be. The endless re-shooting, getting various takes right, doing the voice over, the emphasis on certain words and phrases and the constant demands from the director for 'more energy'! I thought I was used to talking all day but my voice really started to struggle as each session drew to a close. Sometimes it was only Strepsils, Kit Kats and endless cups of tea that kept me going. There's of course a feeling of adrenalin and excitement even though you know you can do re-takes, but there is still however a sense of pressure to get it right first time.
I've also been very involved in the script so even at the last minute as you're walking along the street, there's a tendency to be re-rewriting all the time. As the person presenting to camera you've then got to learn those new words very swiftly. There are so many things to think about like distractions from passers-by or even just feeling cold and hungry or worrying about your mind wandering off thinking about what you were going to have for dinner! Concentration is absolutely crucial. I also realised how important momentum is and how disruptive it is to have unexpected breaks. From a PR point of view it gives you an enormous insight as to what the clients might go through in TV appearances and how small things can throw an interview out of synch.
But it has been an exhilarating experience, a chance to talk about how the music industry and PR have always gone hand in hand, the need for artists to have a fantastic image as well as great music. Across 40 years of being a PR I have studiously avoided the limelight, preferring to be behind the scenes helping my clients to get across their story and messages. But I've come to realise this experience will be very valuable to me as I continue to do the work I love, and valuable to my clients too. I've now got first hand experience of what it's like to be a bit more centre stage and the pressures that came with that.