His 'n' hers presenters on comfy seats, unpretentious mugs of tea displayed prominently, golden sunlight streaming through the window behind. This Morning comparisons were obvious as the BBC’s new post-breakfast chat revue, Morning Live (BBC One), kicked off with Kym Marsh and Gethin Jones.
It’s early days so contrasting the duo’s chemistry to that of Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield over on ITV is probably premature. Reporting for duty at 9.15am Morning Live has also chosen not to go head-to-head with the ITV juggernaut, which starts at 10am. Still, Marsh and Jones had a lightly-worn bonhomie: anyone tuning in hoping for the sort of dagger-eyed tension Alan Partridge shared with his fictional co-host on This Time with Alan Partridge will have been disappointed.
No wheels were reinvented or taboos shattered (though Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood pushed things a tad with a gag about the knob on his washing machine). That we are living through strange times was acknowledged, with an item about face mask hygiene and the huge amounts of bacteria the coverings can accumulate (tip: store yours in a ziplock bag rather than in the Stygian depths of your wallet).
A piece about sleeping difficulties meanwhile featured Dr Matthew Walker, beaming in from California to dispense advice to members of the public struggling to clock up 40 winks. There was also an interview via wonky Zoom link with Under the Hammer’s Martel Maxwell, discussing the stampede of householders trying to move further out, now commuting is less of an issue.
Jones and Marsh could present light-entertainment factually telly in their sleep and eased into an effortless groove during the 45 minute broadcast. Jones expressed his frustration about not being able to visit his mother in Wales; Marsh, formerly of pop band Hear’Say and of Coronation Street, revealed her own mother was finding lockdown a challenge.
The difficulties of dating in a dystopia were meanwhile raised by resident medical expert, Dr Xand van Tulleken. “It’s pointless at the moment,” he said, utterly bereft.
The only bump was some apparent viewer perplexity over Sabrina Grant's report on face mask cleanliness. As she made clear, she was talking about bacteria accumulating on the coverings – not Covid. However, Jones felt the need to reiterate the point amid confusion from those texting in to the show.
Still, worse things can go amiss on Planet Chat and, if not quite achieving This Morning levels of banter, Marsh and Jones shared an easy mateyness. As was the plan, Morning Live slipped inconspicuously onto the airwaves. You forgot all about it 10 seconds after the credits rolled. But, much like a buttery scone or cup of tea with the precise sugar-to-milk ratio, in the moment it went down perfectly.