Your friends the stars – 6
The flippant panel shows are popular enough, but it took the educational Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? to send viewers’ appreciation soaring more rapidly than it ever climbed for What’s My Line? This unpredictable occurrence also shot a university archaeologist into the top rank of TV personalities. Nobody was more surprised than Dr. Glyn Daniel, Fellow of St. John s College, Cambridge, and lecturer at the University in archaeology and human geography.
Daniel was one of a number tested for the panel of this programme. They sent for him when they ran short of a chairman for the third edition. The bonhomie and twinkle he brought to that position have also packed in the viewers for his Buried Treasure series.
From Barry, in Glamorgan, Glyn Daniel went as a bright grammar-school boy to undergraduate studies in geography and archaeology at Cambridge. Travelling scholarships took him abroad on excavations, and then followed a research fellowship at Cambridge.
The war found a use for his knowledge, in the job of reading aerial photo-maps. He ran an air-photo unit in India, there meeting a WAAF who is now Mrs. Daniel. They live in a “college house” at Cambridge.
Glyn Daniel has faith in the assumption that Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? has whetted the public’s historical curiosity. His success lies in the fact that he treats it all as a bit of fun—a bit of useful fun.
His personality has had a remarkable impact on viewers. On a railway station in France a Frenchwoman all but embraced him, crying — “Ah — Animaal, Vegetarble, Mineraal!” She had seen the programmes during a holiday in England. When he came off a plane at London Airport a customs official held him back, sure he was a “wanted” man. A senior official was sent for and had to tell the subordinate that this was the face he had seen on TV, and not the one from the Custom’s black list!