It must be exciting to be involved with the launch of a new show?
Susanna: “I’ve had a fabulous two decades at the BBC but ITV offered me a fantastic opportunity – it was an offer I couldn’t turn down. It’s not often in your career you get the chance to build something new that’s really exciting and so engaging. I like to challenge myself and do things that are different. And I’m looking forward to working with Ben, Charlotte and Sean. There’s a positive feeling about this. I’m not joining a ship that has already set sail. We are all doing this together.”
And how about you, Ben, it’s been four years since you sat on the breakfast sofa (Ben quit GMTV to host shows for Sky Sports)…
Ben: “I’ve loved doing the sports programmes, but there is something really special about breakfast television. I love the fact that so many different people came in when I did GMTV – whether it was politicians, businessmen, pop stars, families or someone needing a transplant. It’s exciting to think you have inspired someone to talk on the sofa. I’ve also missed the interaction with viewers and when a big story breaks. From a professional point of view, there’s nothing like doing live television so when the opportunity came along to be part of a new programme, I wanted to do it.”
Unfortunately Daybreak didn’t do as well as hoped in the ratings. How is Good Morning Britain going to try and win back viewers?
Susanna: “Our responsibility is to create a brilliant programme, and our aim is to grow the audience. We’re aiming to create something a little bit different and taking a lot of the lessons learned from what has gone on before to create something people will love.”
Ben: “The launch of a successful show always takes time. I’ve done a lot of physical challenges in the past like running seven marathons back to back. It’s not about winning first, but about getting all of us across the finishing line together. It’s the same with this show. We are a team.”
Susanna: “When you’ve done Strictly live on a Saturday night in front of millions, never can I be that nervous again. I loved doing the show and I’ve carried on dancing since finishing.”
Ben: “No, I’ve always pushed myself, whether it’s a physical challenge or a job, and launching something new is going to be a challenge.
How are you feeling about more super-early starts?
Susanna: “I don’t dread the early morning alarm clock as I am so used to it! Plus – I feel very lucky – it means I get to do the school run when a lot of working mums don’t get home until bedtime. Of course I will bring this side of me to Good Morning Britain, but I think as a journalist, you bring all of your experience. At the age of 43, I’ve got three children and been a journalist for more than 20 years – and so I do hope I know a few things about quite a lot of stuff!”
Ben: “My alarm clock is where I left it – it’s the other side of the room, which means I’ve got to get out of bed to switch it off! I do like to keep myself very fit. It’s about being disciplined and now I am returning to breakfast television, I’ll be more disciplined than ever. It’s all about finding the time and so I might cycle to the studio. It’s 14 miles away. After work, I can run home. It’s a great release.”
Finally, any dream interviewees?
Susanna: “Michelle Obama. She’s married to the most powerful man in the world. She’s independent and strong but it would be fascinating to see what makes her tick, how she deals with it all and what she would have done had she not been married to the President of the United States.”
Ben: “All the big party leaders would be great. George Osborne would be good after the budget. But for me, people don’t have to be high profile. It’s about telling a story that could change someone’s life somewhere down the line.”