For many people, the morning TV routine is set in stone. Good Morning Britain or BBC Breakfast, followed by Lorraine, followed by This Morning, bookended by a dose of Loose Women, all accompanied by a sea of rage on Twitter.
However, for the next eight weeks, more choice has been thrown into the supermarket aisle of daytime programming, as the BBC attempts to steal a slice of the pie dominated by ITV.
Morning Live is the BBC’s attempt at a warming This Morning-esque show to follow their more hard-hitting BBC Breakfast, with Kym Marsh and Gethin Jones taking the roles of Holly and Phil. Only, they just get 45 minutes to address what has the nation talking, and they have to strip the set immediately afterwards to get ready for The One Show.
And if you thought the show reminded of you of The One Show, it’s not just the studio that’s giving you deja vu, as Morning Live is essentially The One Show, 10 hours earlier and in a living room from the 60s.
This morning’s edition of Morning Live wasn’t bad, per se. Kym and Gethin are perfectly fine hosts, they seem to get on well, there were no awkward moments, and the whole thing flowed how you would imagine.
It had the classic paint by numbers banter from the presenters, segue into an ‘investigative’ package, discuss said investigative package in studio, chat with a doctor, with Dr Xand van Tulleken subbing in for ITV’s Dr Hilary, Zoom call with an expert (Martel Maxwell from Homes Under The Hammer), celebrity guest only there to chat about their new project (in this case, Craig Revel Horwood talking about his new book). There were classic attempts at daytime TV innuendo, in the form of Gethin doing a bit of wink-wink nudge-nudge about using a bed only for sleep, and Craig saying he ‘likes old knobs’ while talking about a washing machine. Morning Live did everything how it was supposed to.
Only, that’s the problem. If you had told me this was The One Show and I’d actually slept through until 7pm due to a mix-up with daylight savings, I’d have believed you, and just assumed that the set designer had got a bit over excited buying homeware on Etsy. Aside from the retro rug, living room feel and Kym Marsh, there’s nothing that really differentiates between the two BBC shows, and the copy cannot have been accidental. This Time with Alan Partridge riffed on the formula for The One Show, and Morning Live has riffed on that, only with less Partridge lookalikes singing Irish rebel songs.
I understand not wanting to rock the boat too much, but I can’t see the point of rehashing The One Show for the morning crowd, in the same studio, with the same recycled topics.
Sure, Covid-19 is all we can talk about, but every morning show in the land has done a segment on the cleanliness of face masks. Cladding is still a massively important issue, but the short segment on the difficulties flat owners face due to fire safety added nothing to the report done by the BBC back in February, or the follow-up stories on the hold-ups in EWS1 surveys, published by the Guardian in September. And a segment on the risks posed by not getting enough sleep was fairly shallow and hardly ground-breaking.
It seems the point of Morning Live was to muscle in on the patch ITV has so successfully cultivated, but no dedicated daytime TV fan is going to abandon what they know and love for a pedestrian take on something they already know, a less slick version of what they could be watching on the other side.
For a new show to work, it needs to be bold and different. Sure, Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch is struggling in the ratings, but at least it’s a shake up on a format. Give the time to up and coming presenters and journalists with a new take on things and a new format, not the same dry VTs that we can predict before they’ve even aired.
Morning Live has eight weeks to make an impression – but if it’s going to cause any headaches for ITV, it will need a lot more than tips on washing your face masks with non-bio detergent.
Morning Live continues weekdays on BBC One at 9.15am.
Credit: Original article published here.