Good Morning Britain – or should that be America? First review

ITV's new breakfast offering is Good Morning America with a British twist, while marquee signing Susanna Reid gets off to a slightly shaky start following her defection from BBC Breakfast


Good Morning Amer… sorry, Britain!


Yes, with its four-strong team of presenters seated around a big glass desk – the women clad in primary colours – and a weather expert who gets to add her two cents to the chat, ITV’s new breakfast news show owes a lot to its stateside counterpart.

But just to bring us back down to earth, there’s former Broom Cupboard occupant Andi Peters reporting live from a market in Leeds where traders are caught in the camera headlights as they say hello mum, before Andi whips out his cardboard-and-glitter “Wheel of Cash” (top prize: £1,000. Chicken legs at a nearby stall: just 50p).  

The question on many viewers’ lips, though, is how is Susanna Reid doing after her defection to the other side? The former BBC girl is aiming to bring “sparkle” to ITV weekday mornings, and her salon hair and bright red dress with flowing sleeves place her somewhere on the glamour scale between BBC Breakfast and her recent Strictly Come Dancing past.

In her central role behind the desk, Susanna initially seems the most nervous of the foursome – “somebody’s put some extra words in my head… look at me all discombobulated” – quite possibly because she knows all eyes are on her as ITV’s marquee signing (and quite possibly because she’s not used to adding “hashtag” to the start of sentences yet). The others are pretty slick, with ex-GMTV man Ben Shephard a friendly supporter for Susanna when she mixes up her words, and Charlotte Hawkins, Eamonn Holmes’s former partner on Sky’s Sunrise, particularly cool.  

Susanna looks much happier when she goes back to her newsier BBC Breakfast roots, tackling one-on-one interviews with studio guests. The cameras are slightly “discombobulating”, though, suddenly pulling out from a two-shot to hang in a corner of the ceiling viewing the proceedings below (like those descriptions you hear of someone having a Near Death Experience) before swooping back down into Susanna’s face. Possibly the camera operators have had too much coffee on their first day on the job.

Maybe its because I’ve been forced to get up an hour earlier than usual but the screen seems very cluttered with garish idents and info graphics. It wouldn’t be so bad, but one of them – showing the temperature (and humidity? Wind-speed? I’m really not sure) around the country – won’t stop twitching and draws the eye way from the main news. Except when One Direction come on, of course…

1D are GMB’s opening-day coup, with a clip of their new single and a much-trailed chat about their love lives set to ensure viewing figures are good at least for this first morning, and will likely feature British breakfast TV’s biggest ever audience of teenage girls.

Susanna will have to adjust to a much more entertainment-heavy mix of stories on Good Morning Britain, which this AM also includes a big focus on George Clooney’s engagement to a “mystery” Brit. About the fifth, sixth, seventh time around (I lost count a while ago) Susanna takes the lead on this and does a good job, chatting easily to showbiz correspondent Ross King in LA.

Repeated talk of a “rare TV interview” makes it sound as if the show has landed Clooney himself rather than Paul O’Grady, whose chat with Susanna and Ben over on the sofa closes the show – and for anyone tuning in late, makes it look as if nothing has changed since Daybreak, or even GMTV.