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Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Richard and Judy's swan song
Judy and Richard
This Morning has become an institution in daytime TV
By BBC News Online's Keily Oakes

Housewives and husbands, students and those chucking a sickie are mourning the loss of Richard and Judy from midmorning screens.

The duo have said goodbye to their comfy sofa and cosy chats for pastures new on Channel 4.

No send-off was going to be great enough for them but their This Morning reign ended as it began with technical hitches and guests stealing the show.

Rumours had suggested that Richard and Judy's final show would go out with a whimper rather than a bang.

But in their years in front of the camera they have never done anything by half (remember the Viagra show?) and their finale turned out to be a fitting tribute.

Lily Savage
Paul O'Grady stole the show even without his Lily Savage costume
The show opened in true Richard-style with him telling viewers his wife had already shed a few tears, a fact she had obviously tried to hide.

The first guest was great-great grandmother Jessie whose 100-strong family were getting a makeover as part of a world record attempt.

Unfortunately the elderly lady, who was hard of hearing, did not hear all of the questions being asked.

Undeterred Richard carried on asking questions while she gave answers to entirely different ones.

The live link to the makeover team broke down and viewers hardly got to see stylist Lee Stafford and co at work.

'Good old days'

But the Guinness Book of Records adjudicator confirmed it as a record so it must have happened.

As a way of remembering times gone by the This Morning "family" of presenters took part in a special Family Fortunes with host Les Dennis joining them by satellite.

After a while they hardly bothered with the quiz format as they reminisced about the "good old days".

In true live TV fashion the slot ran out of time and they failed to finish it before moving on to the kitchen where DJ and singer Boy George was cooking up a recipe from his Karma Cookbook.

Gatecrash

He need not have bothered as Paul O'Grady, alias drag queen Lily Savage, gatecrashed the section and steamrolled over it.

Despite being minus his flamboyant costume, he still managed to steal the show with his tall tales and throwaway one-liners.

One poor woman called the phone-in to say her real name was Lily Savage, much to the amusement of all.

Richard and Judy
Richard and Judy have entertained the nation for 13 years
During the "anything goes" phone-in pop star George Michael called up to wish everyone the best.

But in true This Morning mode he was simply billed as George from North London.

Like many, he lamented their passing to the other side - Channel 4 in this case.

Montage

No farewell show is complete without the obligatory montage and this show was no different.

We watched in amazement at the transformation of Richard and Judy from their days on the Liverpool docks to their London finale - was it really that long ago?

Richard and Judy are like every married couple - the bickering, the talking over each other and pinching each other's lines - but they did it in front of an audience of millions and survived.

Doctors Raj Persaud and Chris Steele, agony aunt Denise Robertson and weatherman Fred Talbot are all carrying on but will This Morning ever be the same without the dynamic duo?

Whoever attempts to fill their shoes will certainly have a tough act to follow.

See also:

19 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Springer presents UK TV show
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Richard and Judy screen gay wedding
12 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
A marriage made on morning TV
04 May 01 | TV and Radio
Daytime TV's royal couple
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