I was looking in my drawers this afternoon and came across this, which is a memento of something that happened 20 years ago. I just missed the anniversary by ten days!
Believe it or not, that’s me at the bottom left sans beard..
I did an item on the Tomorrow’s World Live show – which was not broadcast but performed in front of an audience of a few hundred people in a temporary theatre. In fact there were four shows a day for the period of the event (19-23 March 1997). Each show was only about 30 minutes long, but it was quite hard work as there were many technical things to sort out in between performances.
My role was to do a little piece about the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope and then answer questions on astronomy and cosmology from the audience. I had no script for that bit, as it was impossible to know what would be asked. I answered with varying degrees of success.
Other items featured on the show were a clockwork radio, an electric sports car, and a device for scrambling an egg without breaking its shell. I couldn’t see the point of the last invention, as one would have to break the shell to eat the egg anyway.
The best bit about being involved in Tomorrow’s World Live was meeting so many of the presenters, all of them proper professionals (unlike me) who were very friendly and helpful. Only two presenters were involved in each show, and each pair only did one or two shows, so over the five days I got to work with the whole set, including Craig Doyle, Philippa Forester, Howard Stableford, Vivienne Parry and Shahnaz Pakravan. I didn’t envy them as they had to work not only with amateurs like me, but also had to learn a detailed script and deal with the gadgets. I was relieved that I could basically just wing it.
My clearest memory of the whole event was the technical rehearsal early in the morning before the very first show. Nothing worked properly, and I was convinced that it was all going to be a complete disaster. Somehow, however, it all came together and there weren’t any major problems in any of the real shows.Follow @telescoper