While he’s best known for being a TV presenter, back in the early days of his career, Ben Shephard had a chance to appear in a musical, however, things didn’t quite go to plan for the TV star.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, the Tipping Point presenter told Kate Thornton about an embarrassing audition he did at the start of his presenting career, where he was ill-prepared for what lay ahead.
“I did an audition for a musical and I had been told by my agent that I was going to go along and meet the producers to have a chat,” he recalled.
Admitting that talking about the audition was making him “shiver”, he told Thornton that things didn’t go well when they asked him to sing a song.
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“I didn't have a song prepared, but rather than saying no, I went 'Well, yeah, I'll give something a go!',” he laughed.
“I went down onto the stage and the piano was off the stage in the wings. Of course, what you do is you stand on the stage and you perform for them. I went and stood in the wings with the pianist to sing Ain't Misbehaving, which I hadn't sung for 12 years and barely remembered the words! It was awful.
“Anyway, I sort of poked my head out and I went, 'OK, shall I come and chat?' And they said, 'Thanks. We'll get in touch with the agent!'”
While he sadly never got the job, the awkward audition did help him with his career in another way, ensuring he was always prepared for whatever future job came his way.
“I walked out absolutely mortified that I hadn't really prepared myself,” he said.
“I promised that I wouldn't find myself in that situation again… Whether I was going to take the job or not, I was going to make sure I gave everything I possibly could - not least out of respect for what they were doing and for all the other people that were patiently queuing for this job.”
He continued: “Respect is a big driver for me, and I felt like I was really disrespectful at that point. I'd been given the wrong information by my agent and they they'd sort of messed that up as well, but I kind of figured that I'm at an age where I needed to take a bit more responsibility.”
Shephard, who has been presenting for 23 years, said in his job it’s all too easy to let others have responsibility for your career.
“It's very easy – in our line of work – to let someone else take responsibility for the decisions and everything, because they'll just point you in the right direction to get you to do what you do,” he admitted.
“I always want to find out to make sure I'm prepared for something. I've been in too many situations in the past where I haven't been prepared and I've promised myself, I would never do that again!”
While Shephard loves working on shows like Tipping Point and Good Morning Britain, he has now set up a new production company with producer Ed de Burgh to produce exciting new gameshows. The move came because Shephard wants to be more in control of his career.
“There is very little I can control in my life,” he admitted to Thornton.
“I'm working hard at the professional side of my life. I've got production company now that's going really well. I've got much more proactive, but actually as a broadcaster, as a presenter, very often you work when someone wants you to work.”
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