Channel 4 presenters and broadcasters have been honing their skills during the Paralympics and have perfected the rapid interviewee emotional collapse. Regardless of the circumstances and whether the person being interviewed is elated or suffering extreme distress, Channel 4 producers push their talent to the limits and refuse to cut away until those tears come a-flooding. Their tenacity has earned them a world beating 14 in a row, a total haul of 83 during the month, and a sub-two-second face melt, even accounting for the video link time delay to Japan.
Tear-inducing specialist anchor Cathy Newman has years of experience in getting people to well up, even if there is no apparent reason for them to do so.
‘I was speaking live on Channel 4 News to a middle-aged man from Lincoln who had grown the biggest carrot you have ever seen,’ she said. ‘He seemed in control and showed no overt signs of emotion, but I sensed there was a cry button I could press. I pushed him on the fact that a gardener in Cheshire had just grown a whopping parsnip that made his carrot look pathetic, and then repeatedly hit him with rapid-fire statements about his feeble prowess and obvious inadequacy. He folded like a popped bouncy castle and crumbled into a shoulder-shaking mess. 46 seconds flat. Get in. Cost Krishnan Guru-Murthy a monkey that did.’
Following her success in this field, Newman was put in charge of training the Channel 4 sports journalists on how to get Paralympians bawling within moments.
‘It’s been a punishing schedule, but Clare Balding mastered the art of picking up on the slightest voice crack. She’s a natural. She could pull it off regardless of whether it was an imperious victory or a crushing defeat. Add to that the pressure heaped on athletes that we might spring their families on them via a live link at any moment … well that meant even the lovely Lee McKenzie managed to get the most emotionally stable Paralympians to bawl like fountains. And no one had to threaten anyone with having Jon Snow shriek “Cry, you bitch!” at them.’