'Piers Morgan may 'speak his mind' - but so do drunk people in bus queues' - our columnist on the Good Morning Britain debacle

Over the past year the media has been regularly accused of a preoccupation with Covid. But recently it’s been different.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 4:01 pm
Updated Friday, 12th March 2021, 4:05 pm

The media now stands accused of being diverted by trivialities. Don’t they know about the pandemic? Indeed, the two most prominent news stories since Monday have no bearing on my life whatsoever, even if they are funny.

The second of these involves some thin-skinned bloke storming off the telly. I am genuinely bewildered as to what all the fuss is about.

The man in question craves attention, unless the attention centres on some deplorable personal and professional details; or his regular humiliation at the hands of the infinitely cleverer Ian Hislop.

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There was, ahem, big news in British broadcasting this week.

Defenders of Piers Morgan say they like him for “speaking his mind”; a trait he shares with drunk people in bus queues.

He isn’t without some talent, aside of self-publicity, and a decent interviewer when he remembers that the interview is supposed to be about the other person. But the suggestion that Good Morning Britain, usually trounced in the ratings by BBC Breakfast, is kaput without him is unlikely to be realised.

The hubbub surrounding his departure is baffling. Still, it won’t last. It does however make us question why certain broadcasters are so highly paid and high profile. They aren’t special.

There are some excellent hard news broadcasters. But the cushier numbers of light entertainment, sport and magazine shows simply don’t require the same expertise. I couldn’t do their job, but there are plenty who could. They are unremarkable, as replaceable as garden gnomes and only marginally more interesting.

Remember when the BBC defended the absurd salary of waffling Chris Evans with the ratings for his Radio 2 Breakfast show? If correct, that would mean that his defection to a rival broadcaster would lose the Beeb millions of listeners.

Well he did leave and thereby proved that Radio 2 brought an audience to Chris Evans – it wasn’t the other way around. Actually the show’s audience increased after his departure.

Similarly Sky Sports survived the sacking of “indispensable” Andy Gray and the other one. Gary Lineker too could be replaced at a fraction of the cost, without detriment to football coverage.

Meanwhile ITV could save millions by replacing Ant and Dec with two randomly selected Butlin’s redcoats. It isn’t an issue.

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