The Morning Show critique – Sarah Ferguson’s advice on love exacerbates an already doomed program’s failure.
To say that This Morning has had a difficult year would be an extreme understatement. In just a few months, the show experienced the loss of both of its hosts – one due to a scandal involving sex, and the other due to being involved in a murder plot. The entire operation has been surrounded by rumors of a toxic work environment and disregard for care (although they deny these allegations). As a result, the show is eager to divert our attention to other topics. This could potentially explain why today’s episode was co-hosted by the Duchess of York.
Is Sarah Ferguson proficient in hosting television shows? No, she is not. Does she appear to have ever viewed a daytime TV episode? Again, no. Is she capable of comprehending complete sentences? Based on her recent performance, it is up for discussion. Did the entire situation seem like a deliberate publicity stunt to distract from the show’s inevitable demise? Absolutely.
The latest episode had a different tone than usual, although it’s unclear if this was intentional. Considering the previous sex scandal surrounding the show, it’s not surprising that they would embrace a darker theme and invite someone with connections to a deceased billionaire who was involved in child sexual abuse. The episode, supposedly edited by Ferguson herself, seemed to relish in putting the duchess in uncomfortable situations. At one point, the conversation turned to King Charles, and Ferguson awkwardly rambled about how kind and nice they are, despite a previous headline about Prince Andrew’s fear of losing his residence.
She was even thrown by the softballs. As a side note, she was questioned about the Christmas meals at Buckingham Palace and, overcome with a sense of dread, Ferguson responded with a jumbled, philosophical ramble. Gyles Brandreth had to intervene and bring her back to reality.
While on air, she struggled with some of the basic skills required for TV presenting. The Autocue, in particular, proved to be her biggest challenge. There were moments when she would jump ahead of her lines, interrupting Dermot O’Leary to ask herself a question. Other times, she would mix up punctuation and temporarily lose her train of thought. During an interview with a TV chef, she was caught off guard by a sentence ending sooner than expected, leaving her floundering like a broken piñata. The Autocue disrupted her natural flow and, coupled with her tendency to use exaggerated physical gestures, she often resembled Christopher Walken attempting to communicate through semaphore signals.
Despite all of her shortcomings and the heavy burden of dirtiness she brought with her, there was something strangely charming about Ferguson’s time in front of the camera. Part of this was due to her complete innocence. At times, we were witnessing a member of the royal family doing ordinary things for the very first time and being completely amazed by them. She watched a man make spaghetti carbonara with the same awe as watching David Blaine perform a magic trick because she had never seen it before. During the daily Spin to Win competition, she was tasked with spinning the wheel and looked perplexed for a moment. “Is this your first time spinning a wheel?” asked Alison Hammond. “It IS!” exclaimed the duchess, unable to believe her incredible luck at being given such a role.
The constant state of disorder continued during the call-in portion, with the fear of being caught off guard looming. The topic was supposedly about fixing the romantic relationships of her audience, but she only received two calls and her advice for both was to purchase more seductive undergarments.
Hammond and O’Leary were undoubtedly the heroes of the night, skillfully guiding Ferguson through the show with the same care and caution one would use to guide a drunken friend home. They were the perfect counterparts to the duchess and without them, her foolish antics would have quickly unraveled.
To put it plainly, choosing Ferguson as a host for This Morning was a foolish decision. It did not result in good or even decent television. However, it did elicit a similar excitement to when a dog would escape onto the school field. For a struggling show like This Morning, it could be considered a small triumph.