I was all lined up this afternoon to talk to Griff Rhys Jones about the Royal Botanic Gardens - as part of his Great Cities of the World series - when our arborist Peter Spring stole the show.
Apparently Peter is a natural! By the time I got to the Palm Grove, Peter had entertained Griff with the Inflatable Man - our (very gentle and largely unsuccessful) flying fox deterrent.
I did get to shake the Griff's hand and babble on about the bats, thinking I was getting us both prepared for the intimate interview. We found a nice spot with the city skyline behind a few hundred bats in a dying Kauri, and then everyone looked at each other.
The producer asked Griff what he wanted to cover here, and he said something to the effect of 'nothing really'. Apparently Peter had entertained him sufficiently back at the gaseous man and there was no more to add. I think I looked a bit dorky in my office shirt and tie, and probably sounded like I'd come out with a news grab rather than a laconic story about this distracting animal.
Griff then looked at me and asked if I had come out to be interviewed. Yes I had, I said, all smiles (it had arranged some weeks ago and carefully slotted into my exciting friday diary). He left it to the producer to let me down...quickly. It was all over. We said our farewells and again shook hands.
Perhaps I deserved it. I'd had a busy TV week. Catalyst filmed in the Gardens all Wednesday and Thursday, and I had a few chats with Paul Willis about science, algae, my favourite trees and even fungi! Sadly they picked two bleak and partly rainy days, so they'll have to return on a sunny future day to finish off the (seven minute) segment, which I think will run on 18 June.
(BTW - great job Peter, well done.)