Belfast Telegraph

Why it’s not Wright to pick on Ben’s fingernails

By Robert McNeil

Fair enough, I've a face made for radio. I've been on telly several times, and have always been rubbish. Actually, I'm rubbish on radio too. No show ever invites me back a second time.

My first time on telly came when I worked for my local paper. The bloke shone a dazzling light into my eyes and held his camera over me (seated), so that I appeared on the six o’clock local news, blinking up like a mole that had just broken the surface.

I suffer from rosacea, which makes my face all red and bothered, and I'm horribly shy, which means I keep mumbling apologetically rather than holding forth like a Shakespearean actor.

So, telly's best avoided, particularly in these days of massive, pin-sharp screens that highlight every blemish. And I'm more blemish than face really. Pity, then, poor Ben Wright out of that Antiques Roadshow, whose dirty fingernails have caused a furore. His digits are often seen in close-up as he fondles a pearly pendant watch, and complaints have been received about the alleged muck under his nails.

One citizen fumed: “Yuck, there is no excuse for that.” Another ululated: “Don't they or their producers realise how disgusting it looks?” Actually, Ben's nails don't look dirty at all. The skin around them just looks pitted and discoloured, possibly from wood-staining or playing a guitar with old, sharp strings.

I'm clutching with my own immaculate fingers at straws here. Still, at least his face isn't all red and blinking. And he's speaking clearly.

Belfast Telegraph

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