'˜I was trying to find out what human tastes like'
He's been buried alive, shocked with 750,000 volts and chased down volcanic eruptions.
But TV science presenter Greg Foot is about to face his scariest challenge to date – fielding live questions from an audience.
In his first ever national tour, Caution: Safety Goggles Required, Greg Foot has been asking the public what science questions they want answered.
‘I put it out there on Twitter and Facebook and mentioned it on a whole bunch of TV and radio spots and said: “Look, send me your most curious questions”, and we got hundreds and hundreds. Thousands if you include the bunches we got from schools.
‘Some of them were like ‘‘why is the sky blue?’’ and ‘‘why can’t we sneeze with our eyes open?’’ The classics that really interest people, and some were utterly bonkers, which is brilliant, and silly, but we’ve included a few of those because they take you down the most interesting routes.’
From those questions Greg and his team have put together a live show that will attempt to answer them.
‘From the questions we’ve created a shortlist and then we’ve prepared a bunch of items.
‘And then we also take people’s questions live, so when you come in through the door, people can scribble those down and twice in the show I face-off with the audience and try to answer them.
‘It genuinely scares me.
‘This is a first for me, taking live questions. I think that bit will be really nerve-racking.’
And it’s been important to Greg to make sure the show features a variety of material.
‘We’ve built some really awesome rigs and some great demos. Some are quite explosive, some are more deep and profound, some trigger your sense of wonder, and some are just silly.
‘I do have a health and safety guy and he’s had to have some interesting conversations with people about what we want to do.
‘I’ve got a fantastic team I’ve built up over the past few years, some fantastic prop builders, special fx and pyrotechnics experts, and they often go: “Right Greg, what mad idea have you got for us now?”’
Fortunately though, nothing has ever gone wrong, and Greg has escaped relatively unscathed.
‘Actually nothing has gone wrong, there have been a few scrapes and cuts and bruises, but that’s because we put so many methods in place – like when you see me being buried alive, you have all the medical experts there and do risk assessments.
‘That doesn’t change how it feels though, it definitely still feels pretty sketchy – being buried alive is probably the worst feeling I’ve had in my life.’
One of his other experiments to catch the public’s attention was eating his own flesh.
‘I was trying to find out what human tastes like, by having a chunk taken out of my leg by a surgeon. That got more than a million hits on Youtube in about three days.
‘I think the key is to tackle a question that people talk about when they’re in the pub.’
or around the dinner table.
‘I think whenever people hear the word science, they turn off because of a bad experience they had with that thing they call “science” when they were younger, but this show is trying to show that everybody is naturally curious.
‘Children are fantastic in asking questions and letting that curiosity shine through. But as adults we don’t ask them so much, which is a shame. Maybe we think them but we don’t ask them.
Hopefully it will inspire people to ask more questions.