Turning off Richard & Judy

The once-mighty names of teatime TV now face shrinking ratings on a minor digital channel. Paul Bignell reports

They have spent the best part of two decades as Britain's most unlikely TV power couple. Now it seems the fortunes – and ratings – of the husband-and-wife team are dropping fast, despite once having A-list guests queue to appear with them and a lucrative book club that could make or break an author.

Since the couple's move last month from Channel 4 to the cable channel Watch, viewing figures for Richard and Judy's New Position have slumped disastrously, even by cable channel standards. The prime-time show attracted just 20,000 viewers for one recent broadcast, plummeting from 149,000 for the much-heralded first show at the beginning of October. The average is just 47,000 compared with 2.5 million in their Channel 4 heyday.

Matthew Littleford, controller of UKTV (owners of Watch), was bullish yesterday, claiming the show was in its early stages and viewing figures would soon rise. "It takes time for a show to bed in, and we are very confident that ratings will rise as awareness about the show grows," he said.

A spokesman for Richard and Judy told the IoS this weekend that the show will move to a new 6pm-7pm time slot in the New Year in an attempt to boost viewing figures. "The 8pm time slot had the programme competing against soap operas and big dramas in the schedules," he said.

Industry insiders believe the move to a cable channel is part of a winding-down process for the couple. Last year they announced their retirement after parting company with Channel 4, with Richard planning to work as a solo TV personality while Judy would spend time writing books.

Their spokesman said that the new show gave them more flexibility to pursue other interests as not all of the shows would be recorded live. "As far as them winding down, we would say absolutely not," he added.

Mark Borkowski, a publicist and PR expert, said: "Personality brands occasionally have to be rested and try to create some nostalgia for that person to come back. Some of the best television formats have been those brave enough to cut personalities off in their prime, rather than suffer the 'slings and arrows' when they've stretched for too long."

Questions are also being asked within the publishing industry about whether the couple's influential book club – which has generated £60m of sales and is still featured on the new show – can sustain its performance when ratings are so low.

The next generation: Switch over, here comes another Madeley...

Chloe Madeley admits her famous parents can make her cringe. "I could not ask for more supportive, loving and understanding parents," she once said. "But I wish they would behave."

How Richard and Judy felt after the nation had seen their daughter stripped down to her stockings for a photoshoot in July is not known. The 21-year-old has since popped up at celebrity parties in outfits with sufficient paparazzi appeal to ensure a regular spot in the gossip columns, where her billing has changed from "club promoter" to "budding TV presenter".

Chloe wants to follow her parents into TV and she has already been on Mum and Dad's cable show.

More viewers are likely when she appears in January on the TV show 'Dancing on Ice'. While Richard and Judy will no doubt muscle in with some supportive cheerleading, the next Madeley to star in a prime-time slot is more likely to be Chloe.

Richard Osley

Life and Style
Social media users in Mexico who commented on cartel violence have been killed in the past
techTweets not showing up or loading this morning, users say
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Business Development and Analytics - TV

competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Business Development Manager Content/Subscriptions

£50k + commission: Savvy Media Ltd: Great opportunity to work for a team that ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker