Opinion Slot by Vivian Summers.
In a week the ‘dressed up as a news show’ Good Morning Britain became a national joke, we look at that and other news from the world of television.
It used to be a phrase said by the dodgy police officer in sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo, but in recent times its been a full-on half-hour of Piers Morgan doing just that on the delight that is GMB or as everyone on Twitter calls it GMTV – eleven years after the latter said goodbye to TV screens.
“It’s had such an effect at making its own mark on viewers most people still call it GMTV” – TV Critic Queenie LeTroute
Now there may be a time and a place for rants, raving and freedom of speech opinions, but no one would expect it on News at Ten and why ITV thought a breakfast news show was acceptable for it either is beyond us.
Of course, the reason it was allowed to happen comes down to two things. Firstly GMB isn’t part of ITV’s news division or ITN so isn’t restricted in the regulations surrounding proper professional news shows that means newscasters can’t provide their own spin and views on the news.
Secondly, Morgan is a social media tweet generator – like Jeremy Kyle previously – and thus creates newspaper headlines and ratings interest. It doesn’t matter if its the lowest dregs of society lapping up the bile, those ratings are up up up.
It all came tumbling down however at the start of this week when ITV broadcast the CBS/Harpo production of When Oprah seemingly just arse licked Meghan and Harry in a two-hour love-fest. Or promo for the ex-palace-dwellers.
Now while stateside viewers and Oprah just sat back and took what was said as the truth, over in the UK we’re not so ridiculous. Questions here were asked, and rightly so. Unfortunately, Piers Morgan went a little too far on GMB and questioned Meghan’s entire conversation – including mental health and suicidal thoughts – that no one should question as those are personal feelings, not responses to events or moments.
The following day, when weatherman Alex Beresford picked up Morgan on his rant the host who was happy to dish it out, wasn’t so happy to take it and went off looking for a fridge to hide in.
Meghan complained to ITV, Meghan complained to Ofcom, mental health charity Mind issued a statement of despair, 41,000 decerning viewers complained to Ofcom. Piers Morgan quit GMB.
The kind of viewers who would turn up to a public hanging however have lapped up the misplaced ‘freedom of speech spin’ and demanded Morgan return – it’s nothing to do with FOS. It’s to do with GMB supposedly being a professional programme – not a vent-a-view-a-thon.
It’s one in a long line of toxic issues from ITV Daytime, including previously bullying on Loose Women and a guest seemingly driven to depression and suicide after appearing on The Jeremy Kyle Show.
“Thy who roll around in shit shalt be covered in it. ITV should remember that when chasing ratings through hiring gutter tabloid hacks as TV gobshites.
“Don’t blame the face of GMB, blame the directors, the producers – these are the people who have allowed one person to dictate the agenda of the show because they’re desperate to beat the BBC at any cost.” – TV Critic Queenie LeTroute
Period of Pause
Channel 4 is to challenge our reluctance to talk about the menopause in a one-off documentary.
Airing in an hour-long slot Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and The Menopause will show with startling honesty, Davina McCall will describe her own menopause journey, busting the myths surrounding the transition, and dispelling the shame and fear around hormone replacement therapy.
The show will investigate the science that adds to the understanding of menopause and its impact on women’s health. In the production, Davina will tackle the midlife taboo that can destroy women’s jobs and relationships, and will look at the lack of understanding and misinformation that still exists around the menopause.
The Chase is on for a Mastermind
Digital Spy reported how following Mastermind host John Humphries recently stepping down from the brainbox quiz after 18 years as host there is now a presenting role to fill and an ITV personality is raring to slip behind the big desk.
The Chase regular Shaun Wallace fancies taking on the role of quizmaster for the BBC One show.
“It would be a tremendous honour,” he said in an interview with Simon Gross. Shaun, of course, is known to The Chase viewers as chaser ‘The Dark Destroyer’ which to be honest I always thought was a dildo… but anyway.
Not unless it’s your ‘Flix
Netflix has been testing a technical feature that may prevent users from sharing passwords with users outside their households RTÉ News reported.
The news service noted this week that some users of the streaming service had been met with a visual noting, “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”
In a statement, Netflix said: “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorised to do so.”
RTÉ News stated that ‘Netflix has previously said it was comfortable with users sharing their passwords.’
ITV confirms further casting on The Larkins
Sabrina Bartlett and Tok Stephen will take on the iconic roles of Mariette Larkin and Cedric ‘Charley’ Charlton. They join Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan who were recently announced as playing Pop & Ma Larkin in the new six-part comedy-drama series The Darling Buds of May.
Set in the late 1950s, The Larkins is the story of a working-class family led by the golden-hearted wheeler-dealer Pop Larkin and his wife Ma, together with their six children, including the beautiful Mariette.
Fiercely loyal to each other and their community, each Larkin family member has a strong work ethic, alongside a disinterest in authority. In the idyllic and beautiful Kent countryside, known as the Garden of England, The Larkins have achieved a small patch of paradise where nothing is wasted and they enjoy life to the full.
The series has a lot to live up to with the Yorkshire Television produced series starring Sir David Jason still fondly remembered by many.
Goodnight for Page
Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page will read a ‘goodnight’ tale on CBeebies’ series Bedtime Stories it has been announced.
Following in the footsteps of Tom Hardy, Rag’n’Bone Man and actress Felicity Jones Page will appear on the channel just before its close-down, sending the tots to bed.
Page’s story is about a girl and her companion fox who travel from a place of despair towards one of hope and will air this evening.
It’s a funny old world, the world of BBC Comedy, although often not for the right reasons, and certainly not for the funnies.
Now while stale old bag Mrs Brown is set to remain terminally diabolical on BBC One until 2026 the Beeb has axed ‘topical comedy show’ The Mash Report from BBC Two.
The programme hasn’t proved popular with certain tabloids and unlike Mrs Browns Boys – that was initially funny and has just gone on too long – some of these papers suggest The Mash Report was never actually funny.
However, there’s a new boss at the BBC and the show often held the Government to account, so of course fans of the show have been on social media suggesting maybe this has more to do with it. The Beeb’s official excuse for terminating the series was they need to remove some old shows to make room for better new ones. Hmm and yet EastEnders still clogs up four slots a week…
Trevor Peacock Remembered
Comedian Dawn French paid tribute to Vicar of Dibley regular Trevor Peacock who died recently aged 89. The actor had a varied career including penning several top-ten hits in the 50s and 60s and became much loved in the 1990s as Jim Trott in the BBC sitcom set in the village of Dibley and focusing on Dawn’s character of the Vicar Geraldine Grainger.
Posting on social media French shared a picture of her co-star with a broken-heart symbol and the simple words, “Night Trev. I love you”
The character of Jim was of course well-known for his catchprase ‘no,no, no, no… yes’. Peacock is the latest member of the cast to pass away with Roger Lloyd-Pack the first of the core cast to die in 2014, followed by Liz Smith in 2016 and Emma Chambers in 2018.
Quiz show Eggheads is the latest programme to wave goodbye to the BBC and find a new home elsewhere. In this case, after nearly twenty years on BBC Two, the production is heading to the home of Jane McDonald, Yorkshire documentaries and bailiff reality – Channel 5.
Host Jeremy Vine revealed this week that Eggheads was to pack its bags after BBC Two apparently said they weren’t continuing with the show anymore. Vine hosts a weekday live debate show for Channel 5 and it was on The Jeremy Vine Show that he made the big announcement.
“The strange thing is, I didn’t realise Eggheads was still on air! It’s a bit like Emmerdale Farm, I fell asleep in 1973 during one episode and forgot it existed for twenty years until that plane crashed.” – TV Critic Queenie LeTroute
Dyer and Rippon to stay up against The Wall
Danny Dyer and Angela Rippon’s Saturday night game show The Wall is to return to BBC One later this year for its 4th series.
The massive wall of tumbling balls sees Angela Rippon pose questions to contestants, while Danny Dyer oversees proceedings, including chatting to the contestants to see how they want to take on the balls. A question answered correctly gains a green ball, a red ball comes with wrong answer and at the base various amounts of money to add or lose from the prize fund.
‘Proper game ain’t it you bitch’, as Mick Carter may have said about it, but sadly, as yet, hasn’t.
The views expressed here are those solely of Vivian Summers and are not endorsed by ATV.