Saturday Classics

24th April 2013 | Daily Life, Musings | 0 comments

I’m going to the BBC tomorrow to record an episode of ‘Saturday Classics‘, which I’m presenting on Saturday 11 May from 3-5pm on Radio 3. Each week a different presenter chooses two hours’ worth of classical recordings and chats about their selections. The presenter has to write around fifteen lines of script for each gap between recordings. This should be done ‘with a light touch’, the BBC advises.

Easier said than done, of course. Writing the script took ages, because a light touch is an art in itself. Anyway, it’s done. I printed it out and made myself read it aloud for timings and so on.

I know that a radio script should sound as much like ordinary speech as possible. Literary prose isn’t helpful. I also know I should just try to visualise myself speaking to a friend, and act naturally. But it’s so difficult to do!  Just as when you record a messge for your answering-machine, when you read a script aloud you’re gripped by an inexplicable desire to do something different than what you normally do when you speak. Suddenly you speak at a higher pitch, or a lower one. You pause in unusual places. You emphasise words for no apparent reason. Your throat gets dry and you swallow noisily.

What seems to work best for me is to look away from the script and speak from memory. It’s not easy, though, when you’re alone in a studio with headphones on, a green light on the table in front of you, and a team supervising your efforts from the next studio, trying not to put you off by staring at you through the tinted glass window.


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