Friday 15 November 2019

Richard Madeley: We felt like mavericks during This Morning’s early years

The show was honoured by Bafta at an event on Monday.

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown appeared on the programme in 1999
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown appeared on the programme in 1999

By Alex Green, Press Association

Richard Madeley has said that he and Judy Finnigan “felt like mavericks” during the first years of This Morning.

The husband and wife duo, who hosted the show between 1988 and 2001, said its first broadcasts had pioneered the daytime television format.

This Morning was honoured for its “outstanding” contribution to television with Bafta’s Special Award at a tribute event in London on Monday.

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan were at the Bafta tribute event in London on Monday (PA)

Finnigan, 70, said the show’s early years had been “joyous, wondrous” times, while the trailblazing style of production felt like they were “out there”.

She said: “When we were in Liverpool, this might sound very strange, but we felt very cut off from Grenada headquarters, which were in Manchester.

“And because we had got this strange set up on the Albert Dock, it wasn’t ever a studio, it was a converted car showroom, it felt like we were pioneering the format.”

Madeley, 62, added: “We felt like we were mavericks, didn’t we. We were in Liverpool, right at the heart of it, and we could walk out and down the docks and speak to people. It kept us real and helped us come up with new and exciting ideas.”

Hosts now and then: Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley (PA)

The pair, who went on to present their own programme on Channel 4, were joined at the event by This Morning’s current hosts, Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.

Hosted by Alan Carr, the ceremony looked back at videos from the archive, including a clip made to promote the debut broadcast on October 3 1988.

The inaugural episode included segments on single mothers and the MMR vaccine.

Willoughby said: “When we looked at the rundown of your first show, it’s just not that different from how it is now.

“It’s got that same feeling and that’s why it still feel like it has remained just so successful. I think that’s the key to its success.”

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