They say it’s never good to go back, so it was with some trepidation that I queued up outside London Studios in Waterloo to join a studio audience watching ITV’s Lorraine programme broadcast live. Before moving into PR I worked at Good Morning TV, a predecessor to Good Morning Britain – and part of the stable of programmes that includes Lorraine, This Morning as well as the breakfast programme, but I hadn’t been in the studio since. I shouldn’t have worried….
Lorraine Kelly has always been a favourite of mine, personally and professionally. She’s a genuinely lovely person and her down-to-earth style makes audiences warm to her easily.
It’s hard to believe but Lorraine has been broadcasting at breakfast for almost 30 years. It’s been on the road before but this is the first time though that the programme has gone out in front of a live audience. It’s an ITV experiment to see how viewers react and part of a trend that includes the BBC for bringing the audience into the box.
As part of a small studio audience it was great – there were only 30 of us there, clustered around tables in a horseshoe surrounding Lorraine. You felt really involved in the programme because you were right there in the centre of the studio!
But does having an audience in the studio make a difference to the viewer….
The programme has seen a different theme each day; topics, such as inspiration and survivors, have been thrown open to the small studio audience, who are prepped on the subject of the day just before the programme goes on air. Some are invited guests, like a woman who had fostered numerous children, a number whom appeared in film and in the studio to thank her. The rest of the audience is randomly made up of people who have applied for tickets – so a test for the producers as much as the viewers!
The effect of such tiny numbers is an impression of intimacy – as a viewer you almost feel you’re eaves dropping on a conversation. But it’s also a chance to see Lorraine at her best: friendly, warm and engaging, drawing the best conversation possible from the people she talks to. She was visibly emotional on one programme as the Help for Heroes charity thanked her for her hard work and dedication during a special Audience With show.
The experiment lasts for one week only so it’s just a small opportunity for a handful of viewers to take part in the show and experience for themselves a little bit of show biz sparkle. But given how early they started queueing (I was there at 0630 and there was already a crowd!) I would say there’s a good argument to run it again.