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Television: Biggest challenge yet for presenters.

IT'S programme six of HTV's Presenters, and tension is running high as we reach the quarter final. Only 15 wannabes remain and at the end of the programme, five will have to go.

So what does the show's presenter, Gabby Logan, think about the task the contestants have to face this week?

``I think it's the most difficult challenge of all,'' she said. ``They are all used to the studio set-up by now, but this time they have to present a piece to camera in a studio with an ear-piece and an autocue to deal with. ``Not only will they have to read their link naturally and cope with the director barking instructions in their ear, they will also have to manoeuvre a variety of props at the same time. I remember it took me a lot of getting used to when I started as a presenter.'' The 15 contestants have to present various segments of different programmes, from cocktail making to cycling in Lycra to gardening in a disco outfit. The production team have deliberately chosen topics that the presenters have no interest or knowledge in to see how well they can cope under pressure.

A further test is when the autocue suddenly stops in the middle of their presentation. This means they have to ad-lib and make it up as they go along without stumbling. But isn't this all just a little bit cruel?

Not at all, said the programme's director, John Welch. ``Professional presenters have to ad-lib convincingly all the time. If something goes wrong with the technology or if they have to fill in more time, they have to roll with the punches.''

Dealing with the autocue and the ear-piece caused problems for some of the wannabes, and the judges, pictured above, as always, took no prisoners.

Presenters, HTV Wales, Sunday, 6.15pm
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 11, 2002
Words:307
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