Friday 3 March 2017

Our American Friends...

Recently I had the pleasure and privilege of appearing on a couple of shows with the presenter Kristine McKay, an American lady who had flown in from Utah, I believe.
This was the first time I’d worked with Kristine, and immediately I was struck by her enthusiasm, her professionalism, and her sense of humour – she’s a really good laugh, and I look forward to hopefully working with her again very soon.

 We had lots of laughs during the show but for me the funniest bit was seeing how well Kristine dealt with the differences in the language.  On the face of it most of us think, ‘well, us Brits speak English and Americans speak English so what problems could there possibly be?’
The answer is… lots of problems!  And all hilarious!

For starters poor Kristine could not, try as she might, (and she tried lots and lots of times) pronounce my first name.  It must have something to do with how Americans speak or something, but she just could not get her mouth around the word.  I think the nearest she got was some sort of version of ‘Kieran’.  But it’s to Kristine’s eternal credit and professionalism that she used herhumour to turn what might have been an embarrassing moment into a really funny one, as she found that if she imagined herself to be playing the part of Mary Poppins opposite Dick van Dyke, she could just about manage to say ‘Corrine’.
Well done Mary Poppins!

A little while later, the differences in our language came again to haunt Kristine as she read out an email from a viewer who lives in Oxfordshire.  When she came to pronounce the name of the county it sounded like ‘Awksfoo-ardshy-er’ and she looked to me for help.  When I told her ‘Oxfordshire’ she pulled an agonised face and said, “You guys are killing me!!!”  At that point I was laughing so much it was hard to concentrate!
The lovely Kristine McKay

It was Oscar Wilde who once said, “We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language."  And at that point I’m sure Kristine would agree as she tried several times to pronounce the word ‘autumnal’ and didn’t quite manage it!   
I reckon at that point poor Kristine was harbouring warm thoughts about getting on that plane back to Utah as soon as possible, and as if Kristine hadn’t suffered enough, she then had to read out another email… faced with the prospect of having to pronounce the word ‘Hartlepool’, she looked horrified, shrugged, and passed the email over to me…

I was seriously impressed about how well Kristine handled these difficulties and she used her considerable comedic talents to full effect. Hers was a Master Class in how to deal with a tricky situation on live television.  It was great to see her in action.

It was George Bernard Shaw who said England and America are two countries separated by a common language.  You were so right George!   


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