David Willis returns this week to his day job as a reporter in the BBC bureau in Los Angeles, after a six-month sabbatical to try his hand at Hollywood. He didn't (yet) pick up a new career in front of the camera, but he caught the acting bug, an agent and a spot in a national TV commercial.
Acting had always struck me as an impossibly glamorous profession. The concept of putting on a show, fighting first-night nerves and then basking in the glory of a standing ovation was almost too much for a pimply young lad from East Anglia to grasp. You mean they get paid for that?
I joked to one of my acting teachers that being English, the last time I had expressed an emotion was in 1967, but whilst keeping one's emotions in check works well in journalism, for an actor it is a disaster.
Years spent covering chaos and disaster for the BBC seemed to have anaesthetised me to my own feelings: given the sudden opportunity to vent them in front of others I found, to my dismay, that there was nothing to call on.