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22nd February 2022

The BBC says good morning Manchester

Morning Live in Manchester: First topical daily live programme to move to the ‘regions’
The BBC says good morning Manchester
Photo: BBC One

The BBC Daytime topical live programme Morning Live has relocated to Manchester from London. Its first broadcast aired on Monday, February 21.

The move comes as part of the BBC’s ‘Across the UK initiative‘, which sees production of some programmes and units move outside of the M25 in order to create greater means of diversity within broadcasting.

The BBC launched Morning Live in October 2020 for an original eight-week-run, before commissioning it year-round from January 2021. According to Head of Daytime and Early Peak Carla-Maria Lawson, the programme came in “response to what viewers have told us about the importance of our live offerings over lockdown, connecting with their real life concerns and offering trustworthy, expert advice as well as optimism and entertainment.”

Former Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh and Welsh TV presenter Gethin Jones presented the programme together since its launch. It has now moved to the 10th floor of the ABC building on Quay Street – formerly Granada Studios.

It previously aired from the street side-studio at New Broadcasting House since 2020 of evening sister show The One Show. It also joined programmes such as Crimewatch Roadshow Live and Rip Off Britain in the post-breakfast slot.

BBC Radio 2 evening DJ Sara Cox, former Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh and Olympic Hockey champion Sam Quek have now also joined the permanent line-up of presenters alongside Marsh and Jones.

Quek, who was born in West Derby and now lives on The Wirral, explained how the show has “four Northern powerhouse women” at its helm. Then reiterating that “it’s not just the presenters who are from up North, it’s also the staff who work behind the camera – the production, the direction – all people like that. I think it’s a really exciting time for the show.”

“I always feel comforted when I hear a Northern accent,” said Bradford-born Walsh, adding “it’s really nice to hear other Northern accents, and I still feel that way now.”

The programme airs in direct competition with ITV’s Lorraine and Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine. According to the BBC, it attracts 1.2 million viewers daily, putting it ahead of its ITV rivals which have viewing figures of under 1 million.

The programme joins the BBC’s flagship morning news programme BBC Breakfast in Manchester, which shared a studio at MediaCityUK with the region’s daily newscasts North West Tonight since April 2012. This makes the BBC the only UK-based broadcaster to air outside of London for four hours every day. All of ITV’s six-hour-daily live broadcasts and Channel 5’s morning flagship show come from London. Channel 4’s 100-minute-long Steph’s Packed Lunch airs daily from Leeds Dock.

The programme originally intended to join BBC operations at MediaCityUK. Instead, it chose the panoramic views from Quay Street.

Jones, who graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University twenty years ago, said he was “really excited about going back [to Manchester], especially with a job I’ve come to love.”

Bolton-born teatime radio favourite Cox also discussed the move to the North West, enjoying the fact that her “mum is going to come and meet [her] for breakfast occasionally.”

The production relocation from London also makes it the first topical daily live programme to be broadcast by BBC One in the ‘regions’ since the Birmingham-based morning favourite Good Morning with Nick & Anne ended in May 1996.

As well as the Morning Live move, the corporation revealed in the past week that production of much-loved series Masterchef will move to Birmingham, whilst Top Gear skirts down the road to Bristol.

These announcements came after it was revealed that some BBC News teams will also move outside of London. The Learning and Identity team is moving to Leeds, the Technology unit to Glasgow, and the Climate and Science department to Cardiff.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said: “I think for me it is utterly critical that we take our output and push it outside the M25. That is not really about saving money, it is about spending license fee payers’ money across the UK.”

New presenter Sam Quek echoed the aims of the ‘Across the UK initiative’ on a more personal level, saying that “if we have different accents, different backgrounds of people on TV, [it brings] a massive wealth of diversity. I just think it helps people recognise what they can achieve and aspire to be.”

According to the BBC iPlayer guide, Gethin is joined by Kym Marsh on Monday, Quek on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Kimberley Walsh on Wednesdays, and Sara Cox on Fridays.

Morning Live airs weekday mornings on BBC One at 9:15am.

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