While Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby enjoy the summer sunshine off-screen, ITV’s This Morning has handed over the reins of the Friday instalment to TV’s newest power-couple-in-waiting.
As one fifth of The Saturdays and a quarter of the now-retired JLS, Rochelle and Marvin Humes have long been on the radar of pop fans and celebrity lovers around the country. Now the duo are taking the Humes brand to the next level with their turn as the new Richard and Judy.
This is familiar territory for the daytime magazine show. Roast Beef Dunkers Schofield and Fern Britton showed you didn’t have to be married to replicate Madeley and Finnigan’s husband-and-wife chemistry, and while it’s less in evidence with current hosts Schofield and Willoughby, it is found in abundance between the irresistible Eamonn Holmes and wife Ruth Langsford. When they take their spot on the sofa, viewers are guaranteed the sort of banter and sarcastic jibes that might usually be saved for home. It’s hard not to get sucked in and laugh along as the Sky News Sunrise host has his bold choice of holiday shirt ripped apart by Ruth, as if this was a private conversation in the car en route to the South Bank studios.
Rochelle and Marvin were a bold choice for This Morning. Famous for their respective adventures in the music industry, the couple are not so well known for their presenting skills. But it is a move that has paid off. Both have taken to it naturally.
When Marvin co-hosted the last series of BBC’s The Voice, he was under the watchful eye of Emma Willis, undoubtedly one of the most natural presenters currently on British TV. Here, he takes the lead. And while Rochelle has grown into the role, her husband has always been on hand to effortlessly guide her and keep things running smoothly.
A highlight during their latest instalment this week saw a parrot take flight during a pet segment. As the bird evaded capture, the dog now on screen was also seeking freedom, squirming to escape the clutches of its owner. While a wide-eyed Rochelle ducked out of the parrot’s path, Marvin continued as if oblivious to the whole affair. The perfect duo. Viewers love this kind of live TV drama, but such things also require the firm grip of a presenter capable of steering things back on track. The Humeses deliver.
Of course, This Morning hasn’t just handed over the studio without careful consideration. Welcoming two popular young celebrities to the team also attracts their fans. A well-timed supportive tweet from their friend One Direction star Niall Horan no doubt raised a few smiles among the producers this Friday. The social media stats will be through the roof.
Neither Rochelle or Marvin are short of work; both are busy with solo projects, ranging from fashion lines to radio DJing, but This Morning marks the first step in developing the power couple brand for a wider audience. How far that can go on the TV side remains to be seen, although I have no doubt there is someone out there now quietly working on a suitable format.
Undoubtedly they’ll have their critics – something both Schofield and Holmes will be all too familiar with. Some regular viewers may not take to the new arrivals and will make a point of criticising them on social media. But give them a chance! Isn’t it refreshing to turn on the TV and find a happy, young couple who are clearly having a blast? And while I hesitate to make it an issue, it’s also worth noting that having a non-white duo presenting such a long-running and high-profile series is a welcome step in the right direction at a time when diversity on our screens is under such scrutiny.
Bravo Rochelle and Marvin. Friday mornings are all yours.