I just appeared on over 282 million television sets.
Alright, so perhaps not all of them were turned on. And many were sitting in hotel rooms in far-flung corners of the globe, probably being ignored by travellers more interested in buying pay-per-view porn.
But still… 282 million. That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?
It was all thanks to the BBC World Service, who interviewed me about the 30th anniversary of Star Wars earlier today and then broadcast the result across the planet. They sent a swish taxi to pick me up from the office where I’m working at the moment (on a Top Sekrit project, dontchaknow) to take me to BBC TV Centre – and did you know that there’s almost always a little crowd by the gatehouse who peer into the cars and pray that you’re someone famous? I felt like such a fraud as a gang of hopeful teenagers tried to suss out if they knew me or not…
I’ve been to BBC TV Centre a few times now, but it actually felt a little sad this time round thanks to the proliferation of banners and posters voicing support for kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston:
The reception area was covered in posters and the corridors leading to the BBC World studios were hung with his image. It’s like the whole building – no, the entire corporation – is holding its breath, waiting for news. Between him and Madeleine McCann, there are a lot of people hoping right now. It’s a glum old world.
Glum was certainly the word for the two fellow guests I shared the green room with before the show: one was an American journalist who talked about the Iraq war, the other a doctor roped in to explain Parkinson’s disease. We discussed how President Bush would probably veto any bill passed in Congress against war funding and how coroners were too scared to ask bereaved families for permission to harvest their loved ones for tissue to be used in medical research. I have to say, following the guys on screen after such doom and gloom to talk about light’n’fluffy Star Wars was a bit of a challenge, but the interview went really well.
Bloody good job, too. 282 million screens. Holy mackerel! I’m so glad I was having a good hair day. And didn’t have spots. And didn’t look fat. Well, it had to happen sooner or later, and I’m pleased it happened when I went global. There is a God! Or at least an Archangel For Television Appearances.
The weirdest thing was that the BBC receptionist was wearing shorts, and when he stepped out from behind the desk he was barefoot. Auntie Beeb has apparently relaxed her dress code of late…