Long Runners / No 22: This Morning

Age: five-and-a-half. First broadcast Monday, 3 October 1988.

Frequency: every weekday morning, September to July, 10.35am-12.20pm.

Creator: David Liddiment, then head of entertainment at Granada TV.

Formula: husband-and-wife team Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan host the show live from Liverpool's Albert Dock. Studio interviews, fashion features and phone-ins mingle with pre-recorded segments that call on an established team of regular wine-tasters, hairdressers and agony aunts.

Unsung heroes and heroines of the supporting cast: Fred Talbot, frontier weatherman, delivers his forecasts atop a large map of Britain, half-submerged in the stormy waters of the dock. His death-defying leaps from England to Northern Ireland often bring gasps of amazement from the dockside, and are widely believed to be subliminal propaganda for an end to the Union. A scale model of Ely cathedral poses further danger. No-nonsense financial adviser Anne Ashworth and psychotic cook Susan Brooks also pack a considerable emotional punch.

But the real stars are? Richard and Judy, of course: the Torvill and Dean of the misguided makeover, the Nicholas and Alexandra of cross-stitch.

When and how did they meet? In 1982, on Richard's first day at Granada Reports - having just moved across the Pennines from Yorkshire TV - his nerves were stilled by a friendly hand on his shoulder and a calm voice proclaiming 'I'm your mummy'. It was Judy. Four years later they were married (both for the second time) and the rest is television history.

What are their children's names? Jack and Chloe, seven and five respectively, and 15-year-old twins Tom and Dan, from Judy's first marriage.

Do Richard and Judy ever give the viewers the benefit of their own experiences? I should coco.

Extra-curricular activities: Richard presents the superb daytime quiz show Runway and the not quite so impeccable (and recently axed) Cluedo. Judy's weird current-affairs series, The 500, has been moved to a daytime slot. She continues in her role as the Coronation Street cast's representative on earth. The couple's big night-time venture, The Richard and Judy Show, got off to a shaky start, not least because of its title's unfortunate echoes of seaside puppet conflict.

Current status: buoyant. Richard and Judy signed new contracts just before Christmas, guaranteeing them a total of almost pounds 1m over the next two years. The ratings war between This Morning and the BBC's pale imitation, Good Morning, is an ugly one. Richard and Judy's ratings, at around 2 million, are double Anne and Nick's.

Following: anyone at home in the mornings with the time and the taste for real-life drama.

Fatal attraction: the delicate balance between slickness and catastrophe. The rare gaffes are usually made by Richard: falling off his stool and swearing, or, after a particularly dull guest-slot, being overheard to say, 'It's terrible. We don't have any control over who we have on any more.' When things like this happen, the ebb and flow of Richard and Judy's relationship comes into focus. Their much-publicised 'chemistry' depends on fury and resentment as much as affection. So it's genuinely touching how they leap to each other's defence when under attack.

But who would want to attack them? Almost everyone. There is something about Richard and Judy that brings out the baser instincts of watching media and guests alike. Tabloid photographers pursue them on holiday in search of unflattering bikini snaps, and there is endless sexist harping on 'the age difference' (a paltry seven years).

Lasting contribution to British television: This Morning was the first programme to take advantage of the IBA's relaxation of sponsorship regulations. It was autumn 1989. The sponsors were Pedigree Chum. The segment was 'Pets and People'.

The bottom line: is it any good? Like laudanum and chocolate marshmallow tea-cakes, This Morning is best taken in moderation, but even the boring items never last more than 10 minutes - and the format gives occasional longueurs a soothing quality. Richard and Judy are not always as sensitive as they might be, but when compared with the crocodile tears of Anne and Nick, their sincerity is transparent.

Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
artSistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence