TONY GILLAN: Is this the worst programme on British television?

One of the many blights of lockdown is that we’re watching far too much television. We could zap it and pick up an improving book, but let’s face it, we won’t.

Thursday, 28th May 2020, 12:00 am

I have no real excuse for laying eyes on This Morning on ITV. It had been some years since I watched it and must say it maintains the same standards I remember. Still, I blame myself for watching.

Sponsored by Nivea, who look after the skin that the programme will indubitably get under, it’s an irresistible combination of space-filling, gossip and sensationalism.

It offers advice and information which can be categorised from “sound” all the way through to “outrageous piffle”.

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This particular programme has had 30-odd years to improve, but hasn't.

The genuine expertise of Dr Chris Steele and money man Martin Lewis, is counter-weighted by advice from people, on deadly serious issues, who are non-experts at best: outright charlatans at worst.

It’s as though, in the interests of balance, people with real, encyclopaedic knowledge must be matched up with others who could not discern their elbow from any other part of their anatomy.

This is before we consider the platform This Morning gives to people who really ought not to be on television; either because they’ll say anything to be noticed, or because they aren’t operating at a safe level of mental health.

All you need to secure an interview is an insistence that no one has ever been to the moon, or that the earth is flat and bang!, you get your mush on ITV.

This was encapsulated nicely this week in a feature entitled “What does lockdown mean for leprechauns?”

“Spiritualists”, “clairvoyants”, “astrologers”, complementary “therapists” and similar evidence-hating members of society all get a turn too.

But at least they’re interesting, albeit for all the wrong reasons. In fairness, no programme with 12.5 hours per week to fill will be ceaselessly engaging.

That must be why they repeatedly tell you to enter their competitions for a minimum two quid a pop.

However, when you’ve endured features called “Live from lockdown on a houseboat”, “Alison’s perfect picnic hamper” and “Lisa’s fashionable facemasks” you can only conclude that the channel should make the show shorter and repeat a couple of episodes of George & Mildred instead.

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