ITV’s new breakfast show Good Morning Britain will be cheered to learn that daytime TV royalty Richard Madeley believes that it can improve, despite an underwhelming start against BBC Breakfast.
Madeley tells RadioTimes.com that he has sympathy for Susanna Reid and her colleagues because of his own experiences trying to relaunch his double act with his wife Judy Finnigan on Channel 4.
“Judy and I and our producers, we just couldn’t quite get the mix right,” Madeley said of his early experiences following the pair's move in 2001 from ITV - where they presented This Morning - to Channel 4's early evening show Richard & Judy.
“We couldn’t get what the feel of the show, what the point of the show was. We just kept at it. I’ve often said it was a bit like trying to actually build an aircraft and take it off at the same time. Finally after about three months we came in and we did a show that we’d been tinkering with all bloody weekend on a Monday and it worked. You just know it.
“We got the format right, and we kind of clung to that model. And the ratings kind of almost went up at once, and then we got good write ups and reviews and everyone turned around saying 'oh they can do it, it’s alright'. And the rest is history. So I have nothing but sympathy for Susanna Reid, but they can do it.”
Good Morning Britain which Reid co-presents with Sean Fletcher, Kate Garraway, Charlotte Hawkins and Ben Shephard, has seen viewers plunge to around 500,000 per show from its launch high of 800,000 in April.
Madeley said he thinks Good Morning Britain can turn itself around if it finds what its “point” is but warned that they will not yet know if there is a structural problem with the format.
“On Good Morning Britain he said they will only know in about six months if there is a problem with the show,” added Madeley.
“I’m not sure what their problem is because if you look at it, they’re very confident presenters, the format’s confident and brisk and bright. I think it’s been better now.
“Is there something wrong with it? The answer is I don’t actually know. So I think actually the time to answer that question is probably six months in, then clearly there’s something wrong with the format. But I would say it’s more a format thing than a presenter thing because the presenters are all very good.”
Madeley has already revealed to RadioTimes.com that he is in discussions with two independent production companies about adapting his first novel Some Day I’ll Find You as a drama for the small screen.
“I have had a couple of meetings with a couple of specialist independents, although I know that this sort of thing can move very slowly,” he said.
He has not yet decided if he will adapt the book, a romantic thriller about a missing World War II fighter pilot, or whether someone else would write it.
Madeley was speaking to promote his new novel The Way You Look Tonight, a thriller set among the Kennedys which is published at the end of this month. He has also started writing his next novel, a murder mystery set during the 1976 UK drought.
The Way You Look Tonight by Richard Madeley (£7.99, Simon and Schuster) is published on July 31