Posted in Self-publishing, Writing

What I Learned About Television Broadcasting from My Interview on That’s Oxfordshire TV

Photo of Mari Howard reading before an audience
My author friend Mari Howard reading her poetry at the first Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival last year
Picture by Clint Randall

A post about my recent appearance on That’s Oxfordshire TV

Just before I went away for my summer holidays, I had the pleasure of taking part in a television chat show for a local cable TV station That’s Oxfordshire, thanks to the kind invitation of my author friend Clare Weiner, who writes as Mari Howard.

I’ve known Clare/Mari for several years, we read and enjoy each other’s books, and she’s been a staunch supporter of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, where she’s spoken on panels and read from her novels and her poetry. We were therefore able to talk on the same wavelength (if you’ll excuse the broadcasting pun) when interviewed by presenter Eve Ahmed.

Eve was keen to know all about writing, (self-)publishing and book marketing, and with well-targetted questions enabled us to cover a lot of ground within two fifteen-minutes slots without ever feeling rushed – a real art.

What I Learned About TV Broadcasting

This wasn’t the first time I’d appeared on television, having previously featured on BBC’s Countryfile, interviewed by the very lovely John Craven, but that was done strolling outside together in the grounds of Westonbirt House. I hadn’t done the classic sofa interview before, though, so it was fascinating to see what goes on behind the scenes of TV studio broadcasting e.g. getting miked up, discovering that the presenter operates the autocue for her opening comments with a concealed foot pedal so she can go at her own pace, and noticing that the coffee cups hospitably placed on the table before us didn’t contain coffee, but spare microphone clips!

Other useful tips I picked up from the experience:

  • I have the knees for radio (to be fair, I think the camera angle made them look disproportionately large!)
  • It’s better to wear outfits that cover your arms and legs
  • I should look up more when speaking (it’s a bit shifty to be looking down so much)
  • If you try, you can fit a lot of books on a coffee table and sofa (neat product placement opportunities there!)
  • Those semi-circular sofas that always seems to feature on such shows are more comfortable than they look
  • The stills that YouTube selects to illustrate each video are not what one would choose if asked!

But despite the inevitable cringes that accompany seeing yourself on video, I hugely enjoyed the whole thing, and would love to do more. I knew I already loved doing radio (I’m a regular guest on BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s monthly Book Club hosted by presenter Dominic Cotter), which has the saving grace of invisibility, and was pleased to know that I was no more nervous for TV. What a show-off I must be! (I blam youngest child syndrome!)

Many thanks to the highly professional and polished Eve Ahmed for conducting the interview and to Clare/Mari for inviting me to join her.

Now Watch the Interview

Both episodes are now available to view on YouTube, so if you’d like to see them, just click these links below. Each one is just 15 minutes long.








English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

5 thoughts on “What I Learned About Television Broadcasting from My Interview on That’s Oxfordshire TV

  1. Reblogged this on Mari Howard, Author and commented:
    With thanks to Debbie, whose lovely blogpost says it all! The excuse: we’ve just become grandparents to the gorgeous Leo and our time is being stolen … hopefully not for too long though, I have a book to write …

    1. There’s something about not wearing stripes too, but I’m not sure whether that still applies to digital tv technology! Will avoid stripes in future too, just in case!

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