The next meeting of the University of the Third Age Dacorum group will be at 10am on Monday at Berkhamsted Town Hall when the speaker will be Paul Chamberlaine, whose talk ‘Edward Jenner and Blossom the Cow’ will tell us how the smallpox vaccine was developed. For further information call 01442 211289.
Our monthly meeting at Boxmoor Playhouse featured an immensely entertaining talk entitled Facing The Camera by cookery expert Zena Skinner. Her keen sense of humour quickly became apparent and she soon had us all laughing heartily.
Zena’s television career began in 1959 when she was contacted by the BBC after a photograph was published showing her in East Africa with Masai warriors sampling the food she had cooked.
Before her first programme went ahead she was asked to show how she would cook for a television audience and we heard how she used stationery items on the producer’s office desk to demonstrate a recipe.
In those days programmes went out live, so all the ingredients and utensils had to be ready and every move rehearsed and timed with a stop watch.
The fixed cameras and overhead microphone meant that a lot could go wrong and many regulations had to be followed.
For instance, union rules meant that a wooden spoon handle that was too long had to be sawn in half by an authorised carpenter!
Zena’s description of the make-up department was also hilarious, particularly her response when false eyelashes were suggested. But the television programme was a success and many more followed because she continued to work at the BBC until 1982.