In Dublin's fair city, and so on. The TV people flew me out there with Ryanair, which is the first time I've done that. It's actually a perfectly okay airline, and I'll have to fly on the cheap with them again. The plane was delayed, but only by an hour or so, and I had plenty of time to hang out with Charlie and watch Ireland be comprehensively outclassed by Argentina in the rugby, before being driven out to Blanchardstown and the Draoicht Theatre, to film The Panel.
I found out talking to the various staff of the Panel that it was originally an Australian show, and their Irish counterparts bought the format from them. Since the show consists of five people sitting around a desk and making jokes about the news, I don't see that they needed to spend money on it, but then I don't work in TV. I also got to sit around the green room with the very cool James Cromwell. Having read the website's blurb about him, I'd concluded that I'd never heard of him before, and it was only this morning that I re-read it, even the sentence I'd skipped previously, and realised I'd been hanging out with Zefram Cochrane! For crying out loud! How did I not realise that at the time?
Anyway, the show was quite groovy, and the makeup artist recognised me and thought she'd made me up before, only for it to turn out that she'd seen me on This Morning, and actually remembered me! But it wasn't one of my greatest performances. I've never done TV in front of a live audience before, unless you count Caldeirão do Huck in Brazil. But the audience there, consisting of scantily-clad young women, were there to jump up and down excitedly regardless of what was happening in front of them. I've never played to an audience who react to the people on stage before. And when I said something that was supposed to be funny (I can't remember what it was, and I'm sure it wasn't funny at all, but that's not the point) and got just a couple of scattered chuckles, it made me a bit over-conscious of their presence, and I spent the rest of the interview glancing at the crowd of shadowy watchers and trying to make them laugh at me properly.
But I did memorise a pack of cards and generally give the impression of being good at memorising a pack of cards, so what more could I want? Well, actually, I'll answer that - both on the show and talking before, nobody wanted to ask me anything not related to memory. Whereas with James Cromwell, everyone immediately started asking him about his political views and opinions on the state of the world. I'd like to be asked that kind of thing from time to time. Not so much because I want to convert people to my political viewpoint, or even because I want the world to know it - it would just be nice if people wanted to know that I've got one. So my new ambition is to do a TV show where someone asks me a non-memory question! That way I will be able to proudly say that I'm not just a bit of two-minute filler, but a Real Celebrity Guest!
(Probably not going to happen, is it?)