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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Almost Rising to the occasion
Mark Durden-Smith (centre) with Kirsty Gallacher and Colin Murray
The show mixes serious news with irreverent chat
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Ian Youngs
By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online

There are two sides to Rise, Channel 4's new morning programme.

"The main story you're waking up to is that Israeli tanks have gone into Hebron. Reports of seven dead as the Middle East crisis escalates."

That is the first - Mark Durden-Smith, the Sky Sports hunk, putting on his serious voice to give us a token update on the world's top story.

Edith Bowman
MTV's Edith Bowman presents the entertainment news
"Obviously, it is a big day for us, but it's an ever bigger day for this guy. It's General Musharraf of Pakistan. He's just one day away from... the next... what's he one day away from?

"I know he's got a finger on the nuclear button, but this guy has the worst wig I've ever seen in my life."

That is the second - Colin Murray, the show's "features" presenter, trying to apply a light touch to the day's news, and failing dismally.

Rise is supposed to be a news show - the main presenters roam between a desk and a big screen, discussing things that are both serious and slightly offbeat.

But it tries to mix that with a bit of fun - otherwise, why would the target 20-something audience watch?

It will find an audience among those who want to know what is going on in the world, but do not want to be depressed

So the presenters also crack jokes, make fun of each other and try to make it seem like a breakfast gathering of four of the most charismatic housemates in the country.

But the two sides do not fit together - the zany antics jar with the proper news.

Monday, 29 April, was the show's first day and it will undoubtedly get smoother as the presenters and producers discover what feels right.

They must get credit for trying something different.

Rise is less stuffy than BBC One's Breakfast, younger than GMTV and more serious than The Big Breakfast.

And it will find an audience among those who want to know what is going on in the world, but do not want to be depressed.

Durden-Smith, Bowman and Denis Leary
Presenters were often seen wandering around the studio
Durden-Smith is an able anchor, who can do both serious and funny, but a fair amount of smarm also comes out of his mouth.

The informal nature of the programme let him get up and mill around the studio's breakfast bar, and run off stage to answer a call of nature.

He told viewers: "The excitement has got to me, I've got to go for a pee. I do apologise, this wasn't intended, but get on with the show."

The other main presenters - Murray, Kirsty Gallacher and Edith Bowman - were also suitably energetic and witty, and there was a certain chemistry between them.

But can any of them really create a persona that will really draw viewers in by the million? On this showing, probably not.

Kirsty Gallacher
Kirsty Gallacher is the face of sport on the show
As well as looking at General Musharraf's wig, other segments included a lengthy discussion on David Beckham's latest fashion choices, which seemed to be repeated every 15 minutes.

The producers are expecting viewers to dip in and out - but for people who watch the whole show, the repetition can get very irritating.

One great slot was called Lip Service - where they lip-read footage of Robbie Williams and Prince Charles to see what they really said when the microphones were switched off.

And Murray's exploration of the "anarchist" groups planning May Day demonstrations provided an encouraging glimpse of a fresh news agenda.

Rise is providing something different and potentially popular - but it will take a while for it to find its feet.

See also:

29 Apr 02 | TV and Radio
New breakfast show Rises
29 Mar 02 | Reviews
Few tears for Big Breakfast end
29 Apr 02 | Reviews
Rise: Your views
25 Apr 02 | TV and Radio
Channel 4 gets set to Rise
29 Apr 02 | Reviews
Almost Rising to the occasion
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