COUCH POTATO: First week is not a good morning for ITV

South Wales Argus: EMBARGOED: FOR PUBLICATION FROM 00.01 ON SUNDAY 27th APRIL 2014
GOOD MORNING BRITAIN
Launches on Monday 28th April 2014 on ITV at 6am

Pictured: The shows  presenters (l-r) Sean Fletcher Susanna Reid, Ben Shephard, and Charlotte Hawkins during rehearsels EMBARGOED: FOR PUBLICATION FROM 00.01 ON SUNDAY 27th APRIL 2014 GOOD MORNING BRITAIN Launches on Monday 28th April 2014 on ITV at 6am Pictured: The shows presenters (l-r) Sean Fletcher Susanna Reid, Ben Shephard, and Charlotte Hawkins during rehearsels

OPENING week negotiated, so let’s reflect on those pre-series boasts and promises...

Susanna Reid: “We want to bring the news to everyone in an accessible way.”

Ben Shephard: “The tone and stories will change and the news spine will be much stronger.”

And how, tell me, is this agenda-shaping journalism going?

Over to Andi Peters in Saffron Walden: “Oliver and Wendy, spin the Wheel of Cash – ooh, you’ve won the mystery prize! A goodie bag with an ITV umbrella!”

Bafta-winning stuff from the newshounds at Daybreak’s replacement Good Morning Britain, which set out with an apparent attempt to recreate, on-screen, the complete cockpit display of an Airbus A380 superjumbo.

They’ve thrown everything at it.

The chances of rain in Beccles, a clock that gained an hour at 7.09am on Monday, the promise of sport headlines to come at 6.35am (at 7.15am on Wednesday), and a news ticker displaying the words “Home Secretrary” which nobody corrected for the whole two-and-a-half hours.

Bless, they think they’re in Times Square.

Appropriate for a show that’s aiming for the razzle-dazzle of American breakfast TV by installing a stupid big desk.

It’s news, only news (with the benefit of a super close-up)... IN. YOUR. FACE.

Trouble is there are so many presenters it’s like watching the Keystone Cops trip over each other to read each headline.

The big signing, of course, is Reid, “the world’s 30th sexiest woman”, who started nervously, fluffed lines and found herself unable to pronounce “cherry juice”: “Drinking a glass of tart, terry, jerry, cherry choos... sounds like I need a bit more sleep.”

Yep, I’d set the alarm for 8.30am if I were you.

She’s been carried by Ben Shephard’s safe pair of hands and outshone by the far slicker Charlotte Hawkins, an excellent transfer from Sky News.

You can, though, make too much of the personnel and unflushable elements like Ross King, Dr Hilary and the £1.54 phone-in competition.

GMB’s problems run deeper.

The teasing of the weather is infuriating. Just tell us the bloody weather, we haven’t got time for this.

The show’s crushing sense of self-importance gave Richard Gaisford, in Ukraine, virtually no screen time on day one and yet the top story 24 hours later because: “A Good Morning Britain team has been caught up in the escalating violence.”

Oh, now it’s news.

It’s easy to see why most people choose BBC Breakfast, whose reporter was at the Sheffield fatal house fire by 6.30am on Monday, 90 minutes before GMB’s.

The Beeb knows what it’s doing.

Andi Peters’ Wheel of Cash, live from a random market, exposes ITV’s scattergun cluelessness.

And to see its total lack of imagination, compare and contrast.

Daybreak re-launched on September 3, 2012, with a manufactured X Factor band exclusive (Little Mix) and a rehashed old story (Farepak).

Good Morning Britain launched with a manufactured X Factor band exclusive (1D) and a rehashed old story (the 16 kids and counting family).

I give it 18 months.

This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Steve Pemberton, in Happy Valley, showing C4’s Martin Freeman how to play the weak-willed Fargo lead role.

Britain’s Got More Talent’s Stephen Mulhern turning every act into a stooge in a brilliant one-man sketch.

This Morning’s supernatural week, with Phillip Schofield asking “the woman who’s had sex with a ghost” Nastasha Blasick: “So your husband’s not worried about you sleeping with Casper?”

And the memory of astrologer Russell Grant reading Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas’s horoscopes on This Morning on March 14: “Venus in her own sign of Libra, for him, is a double whammy of love. The two Venuses in their chart, the goddess of love, absolutely connect. The potential of the relationship is enormous. It’s a royal marriage.”

I wouldn’t buy a hat just yet, Russell.

This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

Britain’s Got Talent running out of steam midway through the auditions.

BBC2 cutting off the final frame of the titanic 13-12 Barry Hawkins v Dominic Dale world snooker quarter-final for an Eggheads repeat.

ITV’s Ejector Seat plagiarising The Graham Norton Show.

C4 Spitting Image puppet Christian Jessen finding a cheap excuse on Embarrassing Bodies: Live From The Clinic to undo his shirt buttons.

Overreacting ITV getting it wrong pulling Law & Order’s finale after the Ann Maguire stabbing and, much worse, C5 getting it wrong not pulling a Columbine documentary.

EastEnders canonising useless, grumpy waste of space Lucy Beale, and the assumption of any character seen getting into a car that they’re leaving Walford, and not just popping to Aldi.

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