Allan told stories with great comic precision. One of his best was how, when
interviewing John Major during the 1992 general election, his mind went blank.
In a panic, he remembered the Spitting Image portrayal of the PM as a grey man
obsessed with eating peas. 'And do you like peas?' asked Allan. Major didn't
have the faintest notion what he was on about. 'I like a variety of vegetables
but peas I am relatively neutral about,' he answered after a bewildered pause.
Your mind going blank is an interviewer's or presenter's worst nightmare. It happened to me once doing a Sky News paper review, about five years ago. I had worked out my next sentence, but when I came to speak it my mind went completely blank. I just looked at the presenter mentally shouting 'help'! At the end I profusely apologised but she reassured me it had happened to her the previous week when she was interviewing Jack Straw.
I had another episode last night on LBC. At the end of the second hour I started to explain that in the next hour we'd be discussing the catholic church and gay adoption. But the words just wouldn't come out in the right order. In the end I just said, 'this is a bit rubbish isn't it?' I know people always say listeners or viewers love it when something goes wrong, but at the time, the presenter feels a sense of total humiliation. The key is to recover quickly and move on.
Tonight is the last night of my four week stint covering for Petrie Hosken on the LBC evening show. As you have probably noticed, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. I know quite a few of you have tuned in and some have even phoned in to the programme. So thanks for joining me and hopefully there will be other opportunities in the future.
I still have three other programmes before the end of the month. For the next two Sundays I am covering for Andrew Pierce from 10am-1pm and then for James O'Brien on Bank Holiday Monday from 10am-1pm, when Chris Mullin will be a guest on the programme, talking about the seconf volume of his diaries.
If you enjoy my shows, do join the I LISTEN TO IAIN DALE ON LBC 97.3 Facebook Group HERE.