The beekeeper in the BBC Breakfast broom cupboard maybe bricking it at the prospect of a smart new competitor – but should radio worry about the Famous-ish Four? There’s a lot of radio thinking – and radio-experienced people – going on in the new Good Morning Britain, so we Listened (Watched?) In.

Listened In is 2ZY’s regular air-check blog, where we listen to a random twenty minute sample of a station or programme in the news.

WHAT Good Morning Britain on ITV

WHEN 7.52, Tuesday 29 April 2014

WHO Susanna Reid (Radio Bristol, 5 live), Ben Shepherd (Heat, Magic), Charlotte Hawkins (LBC) and Sean Fletcher (Radio Wales, 5 live)

When the music stops ..

When the music stops ..

Comes off break with sweeping shot across studio against Robbie Williams/Go Gentle.

Susanna and Charlotte are on sofa with Richard Arnold (LBC, Liberty) to talk showbiz. Leads on Robbie and Ayda’s new baby. Then Gordon Ramsey’s new hair at Victoria Beckham’s 40th party in London. “But someone who never has a bad hair day, Zac Efron (groan) .. what’s happening with him at the moment?” Clip of Bad Neighbours and junket interview between Richard and Zac. Zac’s charisma seems inversely proportional to his beauty. The most journalistic we get is “You’ve been very honest about the fact your own party days are sorely behind you, how’s that going?” And on whether he’s on the market at the moment, “I’m not investing.”

Susanna rounds off with a tease line that Patrick Kielty’s on after 8. The interesting thing if you couldn’t care less about Robbie’s swimmers or Ramsey’s fringe, during the above 5 minutes, the news ticker showed the following top stories: Teacher Stabbing Boy in Custody. 26 Dead in US Storms. Clifford to be sentenced on Friday. Ukraine violence continues. Cancer Survival rates announced. Robbie announces pregnancy. Cancer hero fundraising total hits £3m. Arsenal could get Champions League place.

The weather strap, showing percentage chance of rain, temperature and a simple weather symbol, cycled through a staggering 66 different locations in those 5 minutes alone.

ID: Good Morning Britain, then a pre-recorded Ben Shepherd slightly clunkily introducing the local reader.

Here in Granada-land, that’s Sarah Rogers (Twitter-handled on her Aston, and ex Radio Wave, Key 103, Real and Smooth.) She rattles through Saddleworth Reservoir Murder, Hillsborough Inquest, Wigan Toddler drowning, Manchester City breached UEFA Fair Play rules, M60 closure, Local Weather sponsor tag and “Alex with the Local Weather.” “But for now it’s back over to Good Morning Britain.” – as opposed to whatever we’ve been watching the last two minutes?

Top of Hour: Ann Maguire, Tornados, Clifford, Robbie (the horny news music dips for a clip of Rock DJ), Kielty on later telling us “why he has a score to settle with Ben”

VO: “Tuesday 29th of April 2014. Live from ITV studios in London. THIS. Is Good Morning Britain,” slightly lost in the sound mix. Cleverly, the sky is lighter than an hour before.

LWT anorak shot

LWT anorak shot

Gorgeous camera sweep through studio lands on the four-shot at the Biggest Desk In The World.

“Good Morning Britain, I’m Ben Shepherd, Good to have you with us this morning. Great news from Robbie this morning, he’s gonna be a Dad for the second time with his missus Ayda, congratulations to both.” “I’m Susanna Reid, congratulations to them both – in just a few minutes, we’re gonna be live in LA to speak to Ross King who was a guest at their wedding.” “I’m Charlotte Hawkins and also this morning, can you imagine not remembering your childhood? We’ll meet the teenager who’s rebuilding her life after a rare brain disease erased almost all of her memory.” “And I’m Sean Fletcher. We’ve invited one of Ben’s biggest rivals onto the show this morning. Who can it be? Darth Vader? Hannibal Lecter? We’ll be revealing all very shortly.” “They’ve all got crosses to bear with me,” is all that Ben comes back with. The girls giggle obediently. (Clue: It’s Patrick Kielty. Like you told us about 20 seconds ago.) Suzanne: “First let’s get the check on the weather with Laura, morning Laura.”

Weather with Laura Tobin (Radio Wales). Who looks like she lost Musical Chairs, sanding in an electric pink dress about a foot lower than the stage but still towering above her seated colleagues. They must be some heels.

ID: TOP STORY (whoosh)

Susanna on the teacher killing. Live with correspondent Gamal Fahnbulleh, VT and live with pupil. Charlotte into Cordelia Kretzschmar (CTFM) piece on US storms. ID: BREAKING NEWS: Susanna copy on suspension of flights at East Midlands Airport. Ben two-ways Dr Hilary Jones (Radio 2) on the Cancer survival figures. He’s standing slightly awkwardly at the space desk. Susanna cues VT of Clifford and a clip of the GMB exclusive with a victim, live on the show earlier. Charlotte OOV on Tube Strike Sean OOV on Nile Ranger incident

Ben into live with Ross King (Radio Clyde) on the Robbie story, who cues his own background VT over a Robbie Wiliams instrumental, ending with “Congrats to them both Rob – and Ayda – She’s a great actress too, a lovely strong woman (!) who’s made an incredible difference in Rob’s life so congratulations to them both. Back to you Charlotte and Ben.”

Who are magically on the sofa area. Which thanks to the mock window behind looks like it’s floating on the actual Thames. Into memory loss girl with her Mum on the sofa. Caption is the  subtle GIRL WHO FORGOT HER LIFE.


This is so much busier than Kelly and the choirboy. There’s content here, and a lot of boxes ticked. What a story count. And the radio experience of the turns comes through. These junctions are not too shabby for a second day on air, and they can busk better than most news channels. Strong local opting, a good domestic news agenda – and a campy showbiz update. Yes, it’s newsier but look at the structure and script in that top of hour, all the “good to have you with us this morning”s and mid-paragraph name-checking. Recognise that from any other medium?

John Simons tweeted that a good zoo format needs good role definition – and by implication that it’s not there yet. But there are early signs, particularly with Ben and Susanna.

I stuck around after the designated 20 minutes to see a sodden Andi Peters (Smooth, Heat) doing his cardboard ‘wheel of fortune’ schtick in Saffron Walden – and even he was much improved on Monday’s effort. With a bigger crowd too ..

It’s also a very listenable show. Strange to say with its soaring LWT Tower money shot and the Desk from Outer Space, but the number of voices, pace, gorgeous ‘The Newsroom’ rip off sig tune (is it ACTUALLY Thomas Newman?!) and clever use of music cues make this, well, very radio.

It’s been criticised for looking busy (graphic-tastic) and too like Good Morning America. I’m not convinced that’ll be a deal-breaker for Sharon in Stoke.

There are people who listen to the radio in the morning. And people who watch (or listen) to the telly. All the feverish press has been over the breakfast TV share and whether ITV can claw some back from Breakfast. GMB certainly makes the Salford set, with its inexplicable empty CGI meeting rooms, look poky and the whole pace SLOOOOOOOOOW.

But if I was in an area with B-list breakfast teams, and I wasn’t bothered about music in the morning, Good Morning Britain would be a definite temptation – particularly on a busy news morning.

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