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Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
This Morning hosts admit struggle
Fern Britton used to host Ready, Steady, Cook
Fern Britton used to host Ready, Steady, Cook
Fern Britton and John Leslie have admitted that presenting ITV daytime show This Morning was a struggle after the departure of Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan.

Ratings have steadied on the magazine show at around one million, while Madeley and Finnigan regularly pulled in two million viewers during their heyday.


On paper, Twiggy was a very good choice, but being on paper and being on screen are two different things

John Leslie
The show suffered a dramatic drop in popularity when Coleen Nolan and Twiggy were drafted in as presenters at the shows relaunch last September.

Both were eventually axed, although Nolan does still do some reports.

Britton told OK! Magazine that their early days were "grim" for the show.

Twiggy and Coleen Nolan proved to be a ratings turn-off
Twiggy and Coleen Nolan proved to be a ratings turn-off
She said: "We were underdogs, we still are. I like being Wycombe Wanderers versus Manchester United - it's more challenging.

"It was grim, but spring is coming, we're on the way, the sap is rising. Now I'm looking forward to coming to work."

Leslie admitted that Twiggy was wrong for the show.

He said: "On paper, Twiggy was a very good choice, but being on paper and being on screen are two different things.

"We could see things weren't right but we knew we had to get through it."

Britton added that she felt sorry for Madeley and Finnigan after they announced they were leaving.

Richard and Judy
Richard and Judy entertained morning viewers for 13 years
"They were suddenly being treated very badly," she said. "It was all very political and I felt very sorry for them."

Madeley and Finnigan went on to host their own show on Channel 4, but their ratings have also suffered.

They recently admitted that the show had a tough start and the Independent Television Commission said the programme had "failed to live up to its expectations" in its annual report.

But Madeley went on to defend the programme in a Heat magazine interview.

"It is the third most-watched programme on Channel 4 by share, which is all you can go by," Madeley said, who denied the programme was a ratings flop.

"And I'd ask anyone who cares about our ratings to just check if our show is getting more viewers than we did on ITV, and they'll tell you that we're getting a lot more viewers than we did on This Morning."

See also:

22 Apr 02 | TV and Radio
Richard and Judy defend show
08 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Evening show for Richard and Judy
08 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Fern brightens This Morning figures
02 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
This Morning shrinks in size
12 Jul 01 | Reviews
Richard and Judy's swan song
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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