It's a familiar enough dilemma for any adman - which celebrity to
go for to replace the one who's just confessed to drug addiction or
hopped across to the competition. So I empathised with the ITV bosses
forced into replacing the Richard and Judy show.
I also once worked with an ageing creative who was embarrassingly keen
on 60s supermodels in his casting but, thankfully, was stymied by a
cooler, younger client who was having none of it.
So will a line-up that includes Twiggy, John "Family Fortunes" Leslie,
one of the Nolans and Fern Britton really cut the mustard in replacing
TV's fave Mister and Missus?
Sadly, I don't think so. Have any of you skived enough to catch any of
the new show?
The whole thing makes you realise the obvious - that television
presenting is a difficult job. Richard and Judy (grrrrr, I used to hate
them) can do it. This new lot cannot.
Which is funny because, on paper at least, it could work.
Twiggy has got the Neasden factor going for her and is still lovely to
look at. John Leslie can present. Coleen Nolan is bosomy and cosy.
But on air the whole thing looks like Channel 5 meets Tots' TV. There
are lots of surreptitious glances at tightly gripped scripts and enough
word fluffing to warrant speech therapy.
On Monday's show Des Lynam was a guest and that just highlighted what a
difference it made having a pro on the screen (did the ITV bosses check
out Mrs Lynam? Des and his wife could have taken over from Richard and
Janes, no problem).
Richard and Judy had all that stuff that only a married couple can have;
creating the sense that huge disagreement was stewing nicely just
underneath the surface, particularly when Judy became secretly
incandescent at his serial leering at any totty passing through on the
Tension is drama and this factor got you through any line-up of
less-than-scintillating guests. Without it the mediocrity of the whole
thing is full frontal as you stagger amateurishly between dull
phone-ins, Dr Raj "know everything" Persaud and the Live from Leeds
cookery interludes. Excuse me?
Mindful of writing this piece I persevered, but as my 70-plus-year-old
mum who was watching with me said: "This is boring, isn't it?"
Come on, ITV - times may be tough, but really. By the time this goes to
press either Kenneth Clarke and his wife or the Duncan Smiths are bound
to be available.
Frequency: Five days a week, 10.30am until 12.30pm
Average viewing figure: One million
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