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Susanna Reid: How the Good Morning Britain host is thriving without Piers Morgan

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There’s something special about the routine of morning television: the long-lasting relationship built between a presenter and a viewer, each day bringing a closer sense of familiarity.

When it comes to British TV, there are few faces more familiar than Susanna Reid’s.

Reid is now best known as the host of the popular ITV morning show Good Morning Britain, which she presents every week from Monday to Thursday.

Between 2015 and 2021, Reid partnered with Piers Morgan as co-host. The former News of the World editor left the series last year amid a controversy over comments he made about Megan Markle.

Reid stayed on, however, working with a roster of changing co-presenters that has included Richard Madeley, Judge Robert Rinder, and Ed Balls.

Born in Croydon, London in 1970, Reid started out as a child actor, featuring in a stage production of Spider’s Web by Agatha Christie when she was just 12 years old, and in the 1985 Channel 4 dramaThe Price.

“I was on television as a child actress at the age of 13 and Adrian Dunbar from Line of Duty kidnapped me,” she recalled to The Guardian in 2016.

After pivoting away from acting in her adolescence, Reid went on to study politics, philosophy and law at the University of Bristol, where she became the editor of student newspaper Epigram, before training at Cardiff University’s Centre for Journalism.

Susanna Reid at the red carpet launch for ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in 2013 (Getty Images)
Susanna Reid at the red carpet launch for ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in 2013 (Getty Images)

In 1994, Reid got a job as a news producer on BBC Radio Bristol, transitioning to a role as a producer on BBC Radio 5 Live two years later. She spent half a decade working for the station before getting a job as a reporter on BBC News.

The jump from radio to TV proved transformative for Reid. By 2004, she was a presenter on BBC Breakfast, but it wasn’t until her stint as a competitor on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013 that she really captured public attention.

Competing alongside professional partner Kevin Clifton, Reid ended up being named as a runner-up on the reality show’s 11th series.

One year later, she was poached from the BBC by ITV to front Good Morning Britain, a series the broadcaster was preparing to launch as a replacement for its low-rated morning series Daybreak.

Shortly after the series launched, Reid was joined by Morgan, forming a partnership that would – for better and worse – colour the next era of her career.

Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on ‘Good Morning Britain’ last year (ITV)
Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on ‘Good Morning Britain’ last year (ITV)

Throughout the early years of GMB, Reid interviewed a plethora of high-profile celebrities and politicians, including David Beckham, Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and former UK prime minister David Cameron.

In tabloid newspapers and on social media, Reid was sometimes accused of “flirting” with interviewees – claims that she later admonished as being sexist.

“It’s frustrating – I’m a professional interviewer whose job it is to get the absolute best out of people,” she told Good Housekeeping magazine. “To then have it described in a different way, feels a bit like, come on, really?”

Reid has three children from her marriage to sports journalist Dominic Cotton. The couple divorced in 2014 after 16 years of matrimony.

In addition to her ongoing work on GMB, Reid has also presented a number of crime documentaries for ITV, and appeared on series including Celebrity Gogglebox and Hollyoaks.

Reid has been praised for her nouse and tenacity as an interviewer. In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum, she made headlines when she pressed Leave campaigner Nigel Farage about campaign promises.

“Journalists have a duty to test politicians,” she tweeted, shortly after. “Voters have a right to demand facts.”

Reid’s proximity to Morgan, a polarising interviewer and notorious monger of outrage, led to no small amount of criticism over the years, with some viewers blaming her for a perceived endorsement or tolerance of his confrontational rhetoric with guests.

However, Reid has defended herself against this line of criticism, arguing: “It’s not my job to intervene. The guests know who’s presenting the programme and so if I feel it’s necessary to say something, I do that. Where I think the guest is perfectly able to stand up for themselves, I’ll let that be the case as well. But I’m not a referee. I’m also part of the programme.”

Since Morgan’s departure, Reid has let slip occasional jokes at the expense of her former co-host.

To this day, Reid has continued to interview major figures on GMB, holding Boris Johnson to account in the latest episode.

With Morgan gone, the show may have blunted its most controversial edge, but it’s also given Reid space to shine – not just as a familiar face on the airwaves but one of the nation’s leading TV journalists.

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.

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