This Morning is an award winning British daytime television programme that is broadcast on ITV since 3 October 1988. The show airs live on weekdays from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm featuring news, topical items, showbiz, style and beauty, home and garden, food, health, real life and more similar features.
The show was originally presented by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan for more than a decade after its launch. It is currently presented by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby from Monday to Thursday, with Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes hosting it every Friday and Sunday, and it has aired on ITV since 3 October 1988, making it one of the longest running daytime programmes on British television. Numerous celebrities have made guest appearance on the show over the years. On 3 October 2018, This Morning celebrated its 30th anniversary.
In 1988, ITV decided to create a live daytime morning programme to replace the weekday morning edition of Children’s ITV. Four regional ITV companies made pilot shows to bid for the national contract:
- Television South offered a show called Home Today, hosted by Andy Craig and Fern Britton.
- Thames Television
- Yorkshire Television
- Tyne Tees Television
- Granada Television offered a show called This Morning, and was awarded the national ITV contract.
The first episode of This Morning aired at 10:40 am on 3 October 1988 and finished at 12:10 pm, live from the Granada studio inside the Albert Dock in Liverpool. An industry insider believed the idea would not work and would be pulled by Christmas 1988, but despite This Morning being launched with no publicity, its ratings quickly rose to a daily average of two million viewers.
In the first few series’, the show’s “experts” were weatherman Fred Talbot, agony aunt Denise Robertson, medic Dr Chris Steele, cook Susan Brookes, beauty presenter Liz Earle, hair and make-up artists Andrew and Liz Collinge, and wine expert Charles Metcalfe. The theme tune was by David Pringle, who also wrote opening music for Wheel of Fortune, Fun House and The Pyramid Game.
To end the first series, in 1989, the show was presented via satellite from Disneyland, California. Produced by Granada’s Field Producer, Brian Thomas, the set was built directly in front of ‘Sleeping Beauty Castle’, a first for Disney. The ‘special’ week achieved the highest ‘daytime’ viewing audiences outside of a Royal Wedding.
As part of the show, weather presenter Fred Talbot used a floating map of the British and Irish Isles to report the forecast. A clip of Mark Roberts, a prolific streaker, running onto Talbot’s weather map in 1995 is regularly shown on clip shows.
In 1996 the show was moved to the London Studios on the grounds that it was difficult to get celebrity guests to travel from London to Liverpool.
In the summer of 2001, Madeley and Finnigan left This Morning to present their own show on Channel 4.
This Morning is currently hosted by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby from Monday to Thursday, and Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on Fridays. During school holidays, Langsford and Holmes present between Monday and Thursday, with relief presenters on Friday mornings. The main relief presenters consist of Rochelle Humes, Rylan Clark-Neal, Alison Hammond, Emily Atack and John Barrowman. Other stand-in presenters include Amanda Holden, Christine Lampard, Mollie King, Dr Ranj Singh, Vanessa Feltz, Ben Shephard and Matt Edmondson.
From October 1988 to July 2001, This Morning was presented by husband and wife Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. However, from 1998 onwards, they hosted only the Monday to Thursday editions, with regular guest presenters hosting on Fridays: during the tenth series Caron Keating and Ross Kelly presided, and from series 11 in 1999 Fern Britton and John Leslie were regular presenters of the Friday show.
When Madeley and Finnigan departed the show in 2001, they were replaced by Coleen Nolan and Twiggy, with Britton and Leslie remaining on Fridays. However, Nolan and Twiggy proved less popular with viewers: Twiggy was later axed, whilst Nolan presented until the end of 2001 with Leslie, and was subsequently replaced by Britton.
After John Leslie was caught up in Ulrika Jonsson’s rape scandal, his contract was terminated, and he was replaced by Phillip Schofield in 2002. Schofield developed an on-screen relationship with Fern Britton that was characterised by good humour and giggling.
On 26 March 2009, Fern Britton announced that she was to leave This Morning, and would be replaced by Holly Willoughby on 14 September 2009. On 17 July 2009, Britton presented her final show after 10 years of presenting.
The show usually scores around 1 million viewers a day, a high rating for the ITV Daytime schedules (6am-6pm). On 3 October 2018, the show had one of its highest ratings, when 2.7 million viewers tuned in for its 30th anniversary. On 12 October 2018, a Royal Wedding special of This Morning got its highest rating yet, when an average of 3 million viewers tuned in, peaking at 4 million.
Prior to April 2018, This Morning broadcast live from Studio 8 at The London Studios on the South Bank, which features large picture windows looking out over the River Thames. Coinciding with the programme’s revamp, the outside of the studio was repainted with the new This Morning logo and branding.
Since 16 April 2018, This Morning has been broadcast from Studio 3 of the newly renovated Television Centre run by BBC Studioworks, along with the rest of ITV Daytime, including Loose Women, Lorraine and Good Morning Britain.
It was planned to move back to the studios in 2023, but in October 2018, ITV announced it was looking to sell the site and would continue with the current studios and offices longer term.