About being a TV presenter

News that Gary Lineker has secured £1.7million from my former employer in the past twelve months causes me some discomfort.

Don’t get me wrong. I actually really like Lineker.

I don’t understand anything about the area of expertise he’s ridiculously overpaid for, only that I like him, and – forgive me for this – I quite like the look of him in his underwear. In a very real sense, Gary Lineker still has it.

That said, I gasped when I read what he earnt.

Truly. When I read the list of talent pay published by the BBC I had to take a moment.

Here’s why.

I’ve longed to be a presenter. I’ve spent hours in the bathroom standing in front of the mirror regurgitating the words some other presenter at the Royal Albert Hall has spat out before a performance of something or other, believing in my stupid, deluded brain that maybe, if I could just find some producer prepared to take a punt, I could be the next presenter of the BBC Proms.

I kid you not.

Go ahead. Laugh. Scoff. I don’t care. I’ve done the same about my paltry efforts for the past ten years. I’ve applied for jobs and sidled up to influential people in the vain hope I might make it happen.

What do I know? Nothing.

I know nothing in comparison to those who can recall works, composers, and performers at the drop of a hat. The queue is very long. There are endless people in front of me. I should wait my turn.

The point I’m making is that if any of those people in front of me had failed at the audition, I would have stepped up to the plate willingly. I would have done it in my lunch hour. I would have done it on a day’s leave.

I tried my best to show willing, but nobody bit.

I didn’t want money. I certainly didn’t want the kind of money (cue me being a fanboy) Graham Norton deservedly earns, nor the embarrassing amount Clare Balding takes home.

I did try. I sort of asked, but felt embarrassed making it explicit. I feared people would say, “You think you can do that? You idiot.”

God only knows why. Because the point is that there really isn’t that much to presenting. Not really. If you’re passionate about your subject then that’s enough.

If you need a bit of training, then there should be somebody somewhere who can give you that direction.

The problem is that no-one’s prepared to take a punt. They should.

There are endless people around who love their chosen subject who just need a bit of direction. All they need is a risk-taker, and someone who’s happy to give them a bit of a direction.

Someone needs to take more of a risk. When they do, the presenter bill will level out. It certainly needs to.

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