Good Morning Britain wakes up the nation


The original ITV breakfast show has a bumpy start before becoming a television hit.

by Allen Therisa in TV Hit or Miss

It's a cheery start to the day.
It's a cheery start to the day.

Good Morning Britain


1983 - 1992


A comforting, cosy American/Australian hybrid brings breakfast television to the United Kingdom. Fronted by the (in)famous Gang of Five – Angela Rippon, David Frost (I wonder what happened to him?), Michael Parkinson, Robert Kee (who?) and Anna Ford. Good Morning Britain was the flagship of the new national terrestrial broadcaster TV-AM and could not fail.

After all, if the smiles and sunshine format could work for the Americans and the Australians (which it did and sort of still does), how could it not work here?


News, sport, kids stuff and some, er, exercise, from an over-lit public library-type set. Sofas, lots of grey and pastels, a little clock on the screen, much, slightly forced joshing on the part of the presenters, 'segments' and inch-thick concealer under the eyes of everyone concerned.

It was – yawn - 'new', 'exciting,' and 'now'.

Wake up at the back.


Tumbling onto the air in a flurry of press and PR on 1 February 1983, Good Morning Britain, unfortunately, found itself shoved aside almost immediately due to the unexpected success of the BBC's own sofa-and-cardie early morning cuddler, Breakfast Time, which had managed to stagger onto the air first. Ridiculed before its transmission as "Newsnight at breakfast", Breakfast Time turned out to be hugely successful, in the very capable hands of – God help us – Selina Scott, and – Christ, are you kidding me? – Frank Bough.

Cue mass panic at TV-AM, as audiences (and advertisers) take off in droves.


Eventually a hit - and how - thanks largely to Greg Dyke, parachuting in to save the day, and Bruce Gyngelll (who took over after Dyke had deserted the no-longer sinking ship).

Following a complete change of line-up and format, leaving only the public library and the title of the show from its early incarnation, the introduction of bingo (classy), Roland Rat, Anne Diamond in a twin-set, Chris Tarrant on a donkey, as well as Wincy-friggin-Willis at the weatherboard, Good Morning Britain bounced back with a perma-tan and the largest revenues of any ITV broadcaster.

Until it lost its franchise due to changes in the government's broadcasting legislation (effectively making the granting of broadcast franchises a financial free-for-all) and thus fell off the air in 1992.

Which was a pity, as Bruce Grengill had been a good personal friend of Margaret Thatcher.


Roland Rat, for creating our contemporary model of morning telly (This Morning is, effectively, the great inheritor of everything that Good Morning Britain was, though with perhaps less make-up), and, oh yeah, for breaking the broadcasting unions after forcing a strike by its technical staff, and then sacking the lot of them.

Good Morning Britain?

Well, yes, it was, as it turned out.

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