Daphne Hughes on the technical challenges of This Morning

The thing I found difficult, they did use to have a bit at the beginning of the show which they called news reactive. So they would comment… not so much Hillsborough, because that was… they devoted a lot of time to that. But they were devoted… bit at the beginning, a news reactive story, and they might have an interview with somebody. What I never got my head around was… because I’d been used to working in news, we knew what was important and what wasn’t.

And in This Morning I would be told… oh, I don’t know, just as an urgent cookery item. Well, to me, cookery wasn’t urgent. How can that be urgent? And I liked that, and I always followed this maxim of saying to people… and not just on This Morning, but on Tonight with Trevor, and people would say, “This is urgent.” And I would say, “Is anyone dead? Has anyone been killed? No? Then it’s not urgent.” And I used to say, “I’ve only worked on half a dozen urgent stories, Toxteth, Heysel, Hillsborough, so forth.” Those are urgent stories. But so that was the kind of thing that I never quite got my head around on This Morning. But I mean I reacted because it was my job, but I didn’t quite like the way it was a bit of a panic scenario, that whether we were out to have a live link with a giraffe or who’d had a baby at London Zoo, or a sighting of a UFO in Norfolk, which definitely happened.


When I went to This Morning, and it was still in Liverpool, we were having… crews would come over from Manchester. They were assigned on rotationally, but when I went down to London, the plan was to use an LWT crew, but at this point, Granada had taken over LWT and there was a lot of resentment at LWT. We were assigned, they weren’t overly helpful, I was assigned each day a crew, but because of the nature of the morning, I didn’t always know what stories were happening the next day. If at five o’clock I haven’t got a job for them, they’d go home, so I then had to use crews. I’d go out and use the freelance crews who were a bit more receptive. As I say, there was this resentment that Granada had taken over LWT. I mean, they weren’t obstructive, but they weren’t overly helpful to the point where I would go into… at that time, I think it was called GMTV, whatever the very early morning programme, it preceded the morning and it was done from a studio within the LWT complex and Craig Williams and I used to go in there. If somebody had gone sick or one of my cameramen suddenly had gone sick, we would go into the GMTV and kind of say to people, “Do you want to come and work on the morning? I’ll pay you as a freelance.” We would just get a hold of people and bring them into the studio. That happened because you needed somebody straight away and rather than going through the correct channels, so LWT, it was easy to go and police people into our studio. That went for a graphics person, we’d say, “Would you like to come and work?” Pull them in and come and work for us.

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