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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
13 Dec 2006

Dec 13 later: Apparently Madeleine Albright is scheduled to be on the show tomorrow night according to the show's website. Perhaps they confused her and me?

Dec 14: No, apparently it's a two woman show - and why not?

Here is the video.

Barring earth-shattering breaking news tomorrow, Thursday Dec 14, I'm supposed to be the lead interviewee on tomorrow night's Charlie Rose Show, the veteran 'serious' PBS chatshow. At least that's what the producer tells me. In any case 'lead' means the first segment, which is excellent news as in many parts of the US this show doesn't air until 11pm, snoozetime. (Click on the link above if you want to see when and where the programme airs.)

I shall be snoozing off a day's tasting in Burgundy when it goes out and don't know when I shall get to see the final transmission myself. I may well look a complete idiot as it was a rather strange interview. It was taped in New York on Monday Dec 4 and although it wasn't live, I have never been rushed at such speed into a tv studio. I arrived on time during a long interview with the president of Botswana and was then ushered into make-up, but before either hair or lips had been tackled, a very insistent assistant tapping her foot brought the beautification process to a halt and swept me through to the studio. No I could not visit the bathroom en route. Charlie - or was it the producer? - was getting impatient.

So if I don't make much sense at the beginning of the interview, that's my excuse. Somehow, in response to Charlie's question "red or white?" I seem to recall, we got on to the subject of politics, his principal interest. My views of Blair and Cameron were solemnly recorded, but surely not for posterity or eventual transmission? We taped 25 to 30 rather rambling minutes in total but I think they usually transmit only 15 or so.

I saw Charlie Rose again the following day at Johnny Apple's extraordinary memorial at the Kennedy Center in Washington. It was a magnificent tribute to a magnificent person, complete with letters from presidents and tributes from senators and all sorts of peers. It was not unexpected that the New York Times chronicled the event in detail (here) but it was quite a compliment that the big rival the Washington Post also carried a report  of similar length.

Of course food (and wine donated by a host of top California producers) played a major part in the reception afterwards but unfortunately I was suffering one of the worse cases of food poisoning I can remember and the smell of those much-lauded oysters was almost too much for me to bear on that particular day. I wouldn't have missed it for the world though.