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Soothing start enlivened by Motivator

'TAKE THAT - are they too raunchy?' Apparently so for Graham and Susan Walker, who had treated their daughter Lucy to concert tickets for her eighth birthday. But so appalled were they by newspaper reports of the group's flirtation with erotica that they stopped her from going.

All GMTV co-presenter Anthea Turner could prise from Lucy was that she was 'disappointed', that she liked the band for 'their music' and Mark was her favourite because he was 'good-looking'.

Her parents, under cross- examination, admitted going to a Meat Loaf concert last year, while Susan confessed to once worshipping at the stack heels and flares of the Bay City Rollers.

GMTV is television for the duvet - soft focus, not through some camera effect, but because most viewers have just woken up and are wiping sleep from their eyes. Like the first cup of tea of the day - no shocks, no surprises, just a warming, soothing, restorative feeling inside.

Except Mr Motivator, that is, an aerobic taskmaster who performs like Linford Christie on speed, in an acid-house Lycra one-piece to match. Sharp and tangy like freshly squeezed orange juice straight from the fridge. And he shouts. Loudly. Yesterday at Princess of Wales lookalike Giselle Goldich.

Of course, he was having to compete with the music - 'Ain't no stopping us now' by McFadden and Whitehead. After the ITC's official exoneration of the station's past misdeeds, it could become the station's anthem. All this was taking place a matter of yards from the sofa on which half an hour earlier the parents of Colin Stagg had told how their son, the man accused of stabbing Rachel Nickell 49 times on Wimbledon Common last year, loved animals and particularly his dog.

They felt for Rachel's parents and were 'shocked' at newspaper suggestions relayed by Eamonn Holmes that he might have dabbled in the occult.

In fact, the collapse of the trial of Mr Stagg occupied a commendably large part of the programme across the morning, as did news bulletins in general. They provided full accounts of the ferry walkway collapse at Ramsgate, the imminent US invasion of Haiti and the day's Cabinet meeting to discuss Northern Ireland and the possible lifting of the broadcasting ban. 'F' for 'factual programming' then?

Or for 'film stars'? By 8.19 it was Fiona Phillips live from Los Angeles with news of Tom Cruise and his new film Interview with a Vampire, in which he is supported by Brad Pitt. 'But they're all married,' moaned Anthea in despair. Which suggests that Ms Phillips either did not know or was not prepared to tell the whole story.

Still, anyone feeling faintly short-changed could take part in 'A Grand in Your Hand'. Yesterday's challenge: who is Linda Bellingham's co-star in Second Thoughts - James Bolam, James Mason or James Bond? (Clue: James Bond is not a real person and James Mason is dead).

(Photograph omitted)