Prue Leith reveals she took beta blockers to help crippling stage fright: ‘Nothing prepared me for the horror’
Prue Leith has revealed she took anti-anxiety medication in a bid to overcome crippling stage fright.
The Great British Bake Off judge launched her first-ever live show titled Prue Leith: Nothing in Moderation earlier this year, touring across the UK and America.
Despite her excitement to meet fans, the South African restaurateur was left surprised when she experienced severe stage fright while rehearsing in front of her agent, producer and a tech person as her first tour date loomed.
Leith wrote in the Daily Mail: “Nothing prepared me for the horror of stage fright. When rehearsing in an upstairs room at the Groucho Club in London, I’d been unaccountably nervous and embarrassed, and there were only four people in the room”.
During her first try-out, where audiences can get cheap tickets in exchange for feedback on the show before it launches, the 83-year-old said she was left “so frightened I [couldn’t] breathe”.
“My heart seems to ricochet from my chest to my throat; my mouth is dry; my hands are shaking; and my mind goes completely blank,” she added.
To counter her stage fright, the Channel 4 star said she “[persuaded] my doctor to give me propranolol pills, a type of beta blocker, to calm my heart”.
According to the NHS, Propranolol is used to treat heart problems, help with anxiety and prevent migraines.
It can also help with the physical signs of anxiety, such as sweating and shaking.
After being prescribed the beta-blockers, Leith admitted that the medication helped reduce her stage fright enough that she felt “still nervous, but not terrified” like before.
In her show, the author talks about her life as a restaurateur and caterer, including “disaster stories” from her restaurant as well as “tales of feeding royals and celebrities” and audience questions.
Her final tour date will take at the London Palladium on Thursday, April 6.