I’ve just cancelled myself on First Dates.
It’s not fair. This is the second time this has happened. The first was when I met Ben, just as Love In the Countryside was confirming that I would be in its first series on BBC2, hosted by my idol, Sara Cox. That would have provided a six hour window for me to bang on about my books and B&B on national TV. Ben lasted five months, and I have been kicking myself ever since.
“Never again, whatever else is happening, I will never, ever cancel a TV appearance which could launch me as a successful author,” I promised myself.
And now I’ve just done it for a second time. Based on less than a week’s acquaintance with the new Him.
I spoke to somebody from the programme called Lily, whose call I’d failed to follow up for 36hrs as I made my mind up what to do.
I had discussed the problem with the new Him at length. He had actually urged me to go ahead for business reasons – said He would enjoy watching and laughing at me on the telly. So we agreed that I would (I had actually rather hoped that He wouldn’t want me to).
Then I slept on our decision. Or more accurately didn’t sleep. And then I thought I wouldn’t like myself if I took part in the programme. It wouldn’t be kind to Him, nor to the bloke they set me up with; it would be dissembling and dishonourable, all for a couple of oblique references to my businesses, and the fun experience of working with the TV, enjoying a free visit to London and a dead good meal – in short, the experience of a lifetime. Agh!
In the morning I WhatsApped Him, telling Him I had decided not to do it whatever He said. I am too keen on liking myself.
And now I have just put the phone down on Lily.
“The producers absolutely love you,” she trilled. “All we care about is that you’re happy!”
“Nonsense. All you care about is making good telly, and I can guarantee I would have helped you with that. You lot love a mad posh bird,” I snorted back at her.
So Lily and I agreed – if everything between us goes wrong, as it always has for the past 59 years, there will always be another opportunity. Next time, with a bit of luck, a free holiday at First Dates Hotel.