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Morning Glory: A History of British Breakfast Television Paperback – 30 Nov 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kelly Publications; First edition (30 Nov. 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 190305320X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903053201
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,184,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Publisher

The first book to tell the full story of British breakfast television from its inception in 1983 right up to January 2004. A lively account.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

ONE

"The last new thing in television"

"This is BBC1. In a few moments it’ll be…Breakfast Time."
As the familiar image of the swirling BBC globe faded, along with the voice of the continuity announcer, the TV screen filled with a shot of the sun rising slowly over London’s Tower Bridge. A pleasant, chiming tune began to ring out, and early morning traffic could be glimpsed making its way across the River Thames. After a minute or so, the music swelled, the picture faded and a brightly segmented motif appeared confirming that this was indeed the start of the BBC’s new breakfast programme.

But what came next was a complete surprise. Cameras revealed that the traditionally rather staid current affairs complex at the BBC’s Lime Grove studios had been transformed into a lush ensemble of deep red leather sofas, lattice-work wall panelling and calm colour schemes. There wasn’t a desk in sight; instead, small tables boasted tea- and coffee-making facilities. Nothing like this had ever been seen on British TV before.

A familiar face loomed into view. "It’s 6.30am, Monday 17 January 1983," he began. Decked out in an fetching pair of slacks and cosy pullover, Frank Bough was undertaking the awesome task of introducing viewers to the unknown and eerie world of breakfast television. "You’re watching the first edition of BBC Television’s Breakfast Time," he continued, "Britain’s first ever regular early morning television programme. A very good morning to you all."

Almost in an instant, the shock of the new was replaced with the allure of the safe and the reassuring. A relaxed and inviting atmosphere was conjured up through Bough’s wise salutation, and it was echoed in the faces of the two younger personalities, Selina Scott and Nick Ross, sitting alongside him. They made it seem perfectly natural to have your television set switched on first thing in the morning. Watching at home, you felt this was a place you were happy to be.

Then, two weeks later, a rival breakfast service began. Against a maelstrom of hype and high promises, ITV’s own early morning programme TV-am took to the air on Tuesday 1 February at 6am. It had already established itself in the public consciousness through relentless promotion of its star presenters and its famous eggcup motif. Now it heralded its debut broadcast with a stunning title sequence involving the crew of HMS Hermes and thousands of volunteers on Bristol Downs spelling out the words ‘Good Morning Britain’.

The cameras came up on a set comprising a collection of paisley sofas, armchairs, wicker tables and a hefty jug of orange juice. An immaculately turned out David Frost greeted viewers with the immortal words, "Hello, good morning and welcome to a new studio, a new news network and a new national network!" Perched alongside him were fellow small screen luminaries Michael Parkinson, Anna Ford and Angela Rippon. From within this rarefied tableau, Frost and co declared their intention to bring elucidation to the country now that they had, "at last, what we always wanted: you".

Robert Kee, the last remaining presenter making up what the press had dubbed breakfast TV’s ‘Famous Five’, reminded viewers, "In case you haven’t noticed, and I don’t really see how you could help it, television history is being made at this very moment." Angela Rippon was even more effusive: "We do hope that you’re going to stay tuned to us, not just for this morning’s programmes, but every morning, every day of the week, at least for the next eight years. Good morning Britain!"

Here were two competing breakfast programmes, two very contrasting styles and approaches, and two very risky and unique experiments in television innovation. Yet, the arrival of breakfast TV in Britain approached the status of a national event. Across the country, people reportedly stayed at home in order to watch the first editions of both Breakfast Time and TV-am to their ends, and witness the moment when their TV landscape changed forever.

In the words of Ron Neil, the creator of Breakfast Time: "It’s the last new thing in television. There’s nowhere else; from now on, it’s downhill."

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fantastically written book.

OK it's a bit niche. But this a more significant era than you may realise and Ian Jones writes about it with great skill and flair.
He has interviewed all the major players (No Frank Bough but that's not really a surprise) and the book is packed full of incident. It's very funny and lifts the lid on the power and idealogical struggles taking place behind the screens of our breakfast television shows.

I highly reccommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For anyone like me who is interested in the history of Breakfast TV, this is an excellent book.

The author has clearly done his research and there are insightful quotes from key figures in the industry including John Stapleton, Nick Owen, Nick Ross and Nicholas Witchell. I found the analysis spot on, although I do not know what Sophie Raworth has done to offend Mr Jones as I think she is great!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At last, an easy to obtain version of Ian Jones' cracking history of Breakfast telly. This book covers from the launch of Breakfast Time to the demise of Rise, and it's startling to see that the same mistakes as dogged TV-am and GMTV are still being repeated decades on by ITV.
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Format: Paperback
Delighted to see this book is available for Kindle after its original limited print run. The story of the inception and development of breakfast television from the 1980s onwards is something that always fascinates TV enthusiasts and when you read this meticulously researched tale of it all, you will understand why. Everything is covered here, the precursors, the surprise format of Breakfast Time, the disastrous birth of TV-am and its renaissance, changes in the 1990s with the Big Breakfast et al. All woven into a compelling narrative and featuring contributions from every big name involved at the time. I cannot recommend this highly enough, easily one of the best books ever written about television history and one I find myself coming back to time and again.
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