Our recent feature ‘In the hot seat on Only Connect’ (16 September) prompted Mensa member Paul Truelove to get in touch. His story relates to how well any of us might perform under the pressure of being in a studio situation.
How well you might or might not do in a television quiz show if you are nervous and the spotlight is on you is a very real factor. Some years ago, I was invited to be interviewed on local radio. My wife and I were ushered into the studio and, while we were sitting waiting to start, a sound engineer was fussing about with the huge control console that lay spread out in front of us.
At one point he leaned over and quietly whispered to me, “You do know that in a couple of minutes you will be talking to about three and a half million people?” Rotten dog! He only did it to wind us up.
Fortunately, everything went well, but that just illustrates how being in the public gaze is for most people a nerve-wracking experience.
It can also cause people to say thoughtless things in a rush. I well remember, many years ago, when television was all new, they regularly aired a show called Double your Money. One lady contestant had just come on and was being interviewed by the well-remembered host Hughie Green.
She was plainly very nervous so, to put her at ease, he asked her whether she had any hobbies. Instantly she replied, “I have three children.” Of course, immediately, the whole audience was helpless with laughter. Poor lady, but that just shows how being in the spotlight can throw you!