Good Morning (BBC1, 1992-1996)
There was once a time when BBC1 used to have some trouble creating a popular daytime schedule. Indeed, there wasn’t really one at all until as late as 1986. Before that, Pages From Ceefax filled most of the gaps, before someone realised that it might be a better idea to put some actual shows there. Going into the 90s, there were several strands tried, including the little-remembered Daytime UK.
But then it was decided to launch a show that had a rather familiar idea. This Morning launched on ITV in 1988, which was live, was hosted by married couple Richard and Judy, and this had done well. Anne Diamond and Nick Owen were a double-act who helped to restore TV-am’s reputation after the original “mission to explain” rather spectacularly collapsed. They were not married, but clearly had some chemistry. After this, they had gone on to various other things, including Owen becoming a host for ITV Sport.
They were persuaded to reunite for this daytime show. Good Morning was a live weekday show that had a mix of lifestyle features and interviews. There were experts who appeared regularly, who would offer their advice on cookery, gardening, and so on. And there would also be celebrity guests on the sofa, along with phone-ins and competitions. The slight problem with this idea was that just about everybody noted that this was little more than a clone of This Morning.
Curiously, there were even breaks, but as this was the BBC, they didn’t contain adverts. They were practically PIFs that offered us advice on various things. It seems that This Morning didn’t exactly feel that this was anything of a threat to their ratings. Host Richard Madeley later said in an interview that it was all rather bizarre, as if the people that had moved in next door started to dress like you, and wanted to be the same as you.
It turned out that Good Morning ran for almost four years, which is longer than I thought because there were always reports that this show was struggling in the ratings, indeed, some critics said that they might as well have continued to show Pages From Ceefax, it couldn’t have done any worse. BBC1 then realised that it might be a good idea to try and do something different with the slot, while This Morning continues to run to this day, and in more recent years Anne And Nick have worked in regional TV and radio.