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To the left, to the left, is Paul Merton always looking at a box to the left? You listeners don’t agree with Olly’s hypothesis from AMT241, but nor do you agree with each other. Firstly, Joss in Smethwick posits:
My ears pricked up when you mentioned Paul Merton’s tendency to look off-screen to his left. You suggested that he does this after telling a joke in order to get a second laugh. I’m afraid this cannot be the answer because, as you will now notice next time you watch the show, he does it most of the time.
I know this because I spotted it once and now I can’t not see it all the time.
I think I’ve worked it out though. He appears to do it more when the host is talking. I think he is reading the autocue along with the host, possibly so he can think of his responses before the fact or maybe it’s just a habit.
This hypothesis is corroborated by Jack in Gateshead:
He’s watching the presenter’s autocue – it’s very different to the general looks he give to the audience.
He does this a lot more these days. I noticed it first when they had particularly feckless guest presenters, but he now does it non-stop. You can see him reacting to gags before they’re read out, especially the bad ones.
However, Tom from York disagrees:
Paul Merton isn’t looking stage left, he’s looking straight out to the audience. His desk is at an angle to the front of the stage, but the mid-shots are parallel to the desk, so it looks like he’s looking left. But he’s not. Just to clear that up.
I’ve got another theory: Paul Merton favours the right side of his face, one of the many things he and Mariah Carey have in common.
More news of other well-known figures of the entertainment industry, as featured in AMT241 – Nina writes:
Last week you were discussing the Brand New Heavies. Previous member Jay Ella Ruth is actually now an English teacher at Chiswick School (in Chiswick). She is eccentric but a lovely teacher.
I know this because she teaches me!!!!
Anyone else out there taught by ex-members of the acid jazz movement?