Tuesday 16 January 2018

Seoige's the only sunshine in this dreary Daybreak

Grainne Seoige delivers her live segment from Clarence House, London, during the first broadcast of 'Daybreak' on ITV yesterday
Grainne Seoige delivers her live segment from Clarence House, London, during the first broadcast of 'Daybreak' on ITV yesterday
Grainne Seoige delivers her live segment from Clarence House, London, during the first broadcast of 'Daybreak' on ITV yesterday
The programme's main anchors Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley

BLINK and you missed her. Making her debut on ITV's much-hyped new breakfast show, 'Daybreak', Grainne Seoige wasn't mentioned in the 6am introductions by co-hosts Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, instead appearing on screen at 6.39am and disappearing less than three minutes later, not to be seen again for the remainder of the show.

It's tough when you're trying to make your mark on British TV, even on an early morning when most people are sensibly asleep and even when it's as banal as 'Daybreak'.

It's even tougher when the programme's makers have decided to surround its blokeish main guy with a bevy of other beauties, from simpering co-host Bleakley to luscious weather babe Lucy and titillating newsreader Tasmin.

Yes, I'm ashamed of such sexist terminology, but it's in keeping with the spirit of a show that requires Bleakley either to giggle or guffaw at every would-be-witty inanity uttered by the inexplicably sought-after Chiles, whose notion of humour was all-too-obvious throughout.

Showing a clip of a New Zealand player tackling her opponent in the women's World Cup rugby final, he chortled: "I don't know if this lady's married but there's going to be no argument over who does the dishes."

So taken was he by his remark that he showed the clip again 30 minutes later, this time sniggering: "I don't know who's married to this Kiwi lady but I'd venture to suggest that they don't have any arguments."

The subtext, of course, was: women and rugby -- how ridiculous and hilarious.

Given such juvenile macho posturing, Grainne should have thanked her lucky stars to be elsewhere for her tiny segment. She was in the gardens of Prince Charles's Clarence House, as it happened, where -- and with a warmth elsewhere absent from the show -- she interviewed a couple of worthies about the busybody royal's latest initiative to make British people more aware of green issues.

This, she said, was to be her gig for the week, and I can think of less congenial places than a tranquil garden in which to find oneself -- for instance, sharing a studio with the charmless Chiles.

Meanwhile, John Murray's gig as Ryan Tubridy's RTE Radio 1 successor got off to a shaky start yesterday.

Leading with a harassed mother of 10 who was invited to undergo healing therapy from a Buddhist master was something that was never going to work on radio and must have encouraged countless listeners to switch over to Tubridy.

And Murray was far too meek in his interview with chef Conrad Gallagher, nervously venturing a few hard questions about Gallagher's controversial past but caving in when his subject irritably protested: "Come on, I'm here to talk about my restaurant" and "could we move on, please?"

Murray should have countered with: "No, we can't, mate, you're here to be interviewed, so would you please answer my question?" but instead he allowed Gallagher to dictate the proceedings.

A few basic broadcasting lessons from Sean O'Rourke or Pat Kenny might do the trick because Murray's a bright spark and deserves some leeway as he seeks to settle into his new role.

It's not easy, though, as no doubt Grainne could tell him.

Irish Independent

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