I am going to confess, before you discover, that I am on Masterchef next week. Now this is an innocent and popular piece of BBC entertainment (for non UK residents, it's a "cook-off" that runs over many weeks on the television between a number of amateur chefs); but it is not part of my regular viewing.
I am going on the programme not to cook, you will be pleased to know, but to be part of a group of historians who are cooked for by some of the leading contestants.
And before you say, "why on earth...?", let me answer.
OK, the first answer must be curiosity. It's hard not to wonder how this kind of reality-competition TV show is made, and what it looks like on the ground.
But there are two other reasons, one more and one less honourable.
The honourable one goes back to Jamie's Dream School. I went on that because it seemed a particularly good way of getting a bit of Latin into the living rooms of some of the vast majority of the British popuation who do NOT plan their Thursday evenings around watching some new documentary about the Romans. It was a good way (so I hoped) of sneaking some Latin into prime-time popular telly.
It's a bit the same with Masterchef. This was to be a cookery show with a historical edge (what was the diet of the past? etc), and again it seemed to me to be a nice (and light-hearted) way of squeezing some history onto the living room screen.
The less honourable reason was this. The programme was to be filmed in a historical setting, which was -- as you will see, if you watch -- the lovely Hever Castle in Kent, where I had never been and where we had a great time. But when the programme was first mooted, a different location was suggested -- one which I had been busting to see for ages, and it tipped the balance for me saying yes. By the time, the final details came, however, that location had changed. We were now filming at Hever Castle.
It would have been far too diva-like (albeit in a slightly geeky way) to say "oh my god, if we're not going to X, I'm not interested", and actually Hever Castle was smashing (and a great fave Lucy Worsley, one of my historical colleagues on the show, was brilliant at explicating it to us all) -- but the original academic drive had been slightly derailed.
So there you go; I hope you enjoy if you turn on (it's 8.00 BBC 1 on Thursday), and more to the point I hope I don't want to fall through the floor.
And in case you're wondering, no I DIDN'T do it for the money. 'Nuff said.