Grumpy Moody Tired Vicious: A DECADE ON: THE UPS AND DOWNS OF FIRST BREAKFAST TV TEAM.



Byline: RYAN PARRY

THE first show was little more than a dress rehearsal but Eamonn Holmes and Anne Davies winged it.

"A new day," said Eamonn. "A new year, a new television station."

GMTV was launched 10 years ago amid great fanfare but, despite its eventual success, the start was far from easy. Within six months catastrophic viewing figures forced bosses to introduce vicious cuts and compromises.

Programme director Lis Howell was first to go, followed by presenter Fiona Armstrong. Fellow anchor Michael Wilson was demoted.

Here we talk to the original hosts about the impact GMTV has had on their lives.

1ANNE DAVIES

Role: MAIN PRESENTER

With show: EIGHT YEARS

ANNE, 45, presents BBC East Midlands Today. She has her own show on the Travel Channel and has written a children's cookery book. Today Anne lives in Leicestershire with husband Kevin and two children Joseph, seven and Sam, nine. She left the show in 1991.

WHEN I started on GMTV I commuted from Leicestershire every day. The early mornings were a killer, I would get up around two or three in the morning and drive to London.

It all happened really quickly, I got married in 1992, got the job that October and then found out I was pregnant the same week. It was mind blowing, everything came at once.

I had a lot of roles while I was there, I presented the GMTV House, Sunday Programme and Short Cuts To Christmas.

Eamonn and I kicked it off the first year on the sofa. It was very exciting, it was all so new. I had a great time on GMTV and have no regrets.

2 EAMONN HOLMES

Role: MAIN PRESENTER

With show: 10 YEARS

ONE of Britain's most successful television presenters. Eamonn lives in London and has a baby boy, Jack, with his girlfriend, Wish You Were Here presenter Ruth Langsford. He also has three children by estranged wife Gabrielle - Declan, 13, Rebecca, 11, and Niall, nine. He's content to get up at 4am for the next three years after signing pounds 1.7million deal.

AFTER 22 years as a broadcaster, 10 of them at GMTV, one has a sense of where one belongs. GMTV has reassured me that we are a good team.

If variety is the spice of life then I've got the hottest job on telly. With 40 million people tuning into GMTV throughout 2002 alone, we're proud to be Europe's favourite breakfast show.

But every morning I still think, 'I just don't want to get up today'. I am the worst person to be cast in this job. If someone could put it on at six in the evening I would be in absolute TV heaven.

3 FIONA ARMSTRONG

Role: PRESENTER

With show: 4 MONTHS

After a string of TV jobs Fiona, 45, has her own production company. She has written two fishing books and a cookbook. She fishes every week and has featured next to the Queen Mother in lists of Top 10 Women Anglers. She lives in the Scottish Borders with daughter Natashsa, 11. She left GMTV in April, 1993.

I WAS forever linked with 'the F-factor' - the sexual chemistry between me and Michael Wilson on the sofa. I was supposed to be doing a three-day week, finishing at 9am which meant I'd be able to spend most of the day with my daughter, but it didn't work like that. I was told the show was a rolling news programme, but I soon realised it wasn't for me ... I'd only worked in hard news before.

I was being rung by newspapers and asked if I was wearing short skirts because I'd been ordered to. Nobody told me to wear a short skirt. It was ridiculous.

4 MICHAEL WILSON

Role: MAIN PRESENTER

With show: 17 MONTHS

Michael, 53, left GMTV in July 1994 to return to Sky News, where he is now business editor. He lives in Dummer, Hants, with wife Heather and 20-year-old son Jonathan.

I WAS elbowed off the sofa just four weeks after the station went on the air and demoted to an earlier morning spot. They said viewing figures had dropped and I got the blame.

I did think, in those first moments when I was told I was being demoted, that I had made a dreadful mistake in going to GMTV. And to say I was peeved at how I was treated would be putting it mildly. I was very upset.

The people were great and we had great fun, but that whole 'F-factor' thing was grossly ill-advised.

It was an albatross around our necks that created so much pressure for something that should just develop naturally.

5 HELEN FISHER

Role: FASHION PRESENTER

With show: 11 MONTHS

Helen, 36, went on to do a fashion slot with the BBC's Good Morning with Anne and Nick, then worked for Sky and The Word for four years as a costume designer. She now lives in Dorset with husband Nick and children Rory, eight, Rex, five and Patrick, one, still doing freelance fashion work.

I WAS brought in to do three appearances a week, giving live fashion reports in the studio and on location. They didn't want just fashion items though, they wanted it very newsy.

We did masses of pilots and had been at it for so long that everyone felt a little jaded and the viewing figures reflected everyone's mood.

The F-factor thing was a storm in a tea cup, they got a lot of bad press from nothing. GMTV were wrong not to stick with Fiona and have a little more faith. I left before my contract ended because there wasn't enough for me to cover.

6 GARYSTEVENS

Role: SPORTS PRESENTER

With show: 7 MONTHS 3 WEEKS

NOW 40, the former Tottenham and England defender went on to work at radio station Capital Gold as a sports presenter before moving to Sky's Soccer AM and Soccer Extra shows. He then set up his own business called Sportsure which helps players insure themselves against serious injury. Married, he lives in Kent with daughters Dani, 14, and Milly 11.

I HAD a 90-second slot called Sporting Chance from 7am. The pay wasn't very good but it launched my media career. It was great to work alongside the likes of Eamonn Holmes and Michael Wilson. We had great fun and occasionally our paths cross. I could meet up with Eamonn for a beer, no problem.

I was on a six-month contract which included three months of pilots but, when the contract ended, I stayed for another six weeks before they ended my slot.

There was a great buzz about the thing, you were live, so there was real excitement.

7 LINDALUSARDI

Role: HEALTH PRESENTER

With show: 3 MONTHSFormer Page Three model Linda, 43, took up a number of TV roles but is famous for her love of pantomime. She is currently playing the Wicked Queen in Snow White at Darlington. She lives with husband Sam in Herts, and their two children aged six and three. She left in March, 1993.

MY Healthy Hunks spot aimed to knock men into shape. My first guest was Paul Gascoigne, but his tips were so dangerous we got a doctor to point out the risks.

It was a very tough time because I was leading an exhausting double life and was only getting four hours sleep a night. As well as GMTV I was appearing in panto. After three months the show went back to TV-am format and I was replaced by Mr Motivator.

To be honest, I was glad my health slot was axed, I had really had enough of it. I did learn an awful lot in those three months, though - one of them was that I was no good at getting up at 3am.

8 LORRAINE KELLY

Role: Main Presenter

With show: 10 years

THE 42-year-old Scot has long been recognised as a Queen of morning TV and after 18 years on our screens now lives happily in Berkshire with husband Steve and daughter Rosie, seven.

THE past 10 years have gone in a flash. In fact, I've done 18 years on breakfast TV if you count my time at TV-am.

GMTV was a totally different show at first - I did a Top of the Morning slot. It was a strange transition but I suppose when anything starts it has teething trouble. People were used to TV-am, but when it settled everything was fine.

One highlight was interviewing Gordon Brown during this year's 'Get Up & Give' week. He took calls from viewers pledging money, while two giant bananas danced around him. Priceless.

The F-factor thing was unfair, it would have been difficult for anyone. Whoever takes over from Cilla on Blind Date will experience the same.

9 SIMON PARKIN

Role: KIDS PRESENTER

With show: 4 YEARS

SIMON went on to present a string of shows on regional TV before landing an evening radio show with Real Radio in South Wales. Now 36, he lives in Somerset with wife Celina, Emily, seven, and Charlie, four. He left in 1997.

I'D DONE five years with Children's BBC before joining the GMTV team. I presented a kiddies' slot at first but was replaced by Super Mario. I then did a children's quiz and news review.

I don't have any regrets about my time with the show because I met my wife in the GMTV studio. I'd desperately wanted to break out of kids TV that's why I made the jump from the BBC but it didn't seem to be happening so I left after four years. I was young and full of energy when I started but by the end I was hoping to do more grown up stuff.

Certainly the show was slated at the start, but it was very exciting to be part of something new.

AND THE OTHER BIG NAMES

HERE are some of the more famous names who have appeared as presenters on GMTV:

Carol Vorderman - Education correspondent

Darren Day - Kids presenter

Anthea Turner - Main presenter

Dale Winton - stood in for Lorraine Kelly.

Keith Chegwin - Kids presenter

Lauren Booth (Cherie's half-sister) - stood in for Lorraine.

Ollie Picton-Jones (Mirror fashion director)

CAPTION(S):

CHEERS: The original GMTV gang toast the show's launch; Anthea; Carol

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