Uncomfortable viewing on the sofa

It was a serious and tragic subject.  Missing and murdered children.  Good Morning Britain “went big” on a story about the launch of a new phone app which alerts the public to a missing child in their area.  The National Crime Agency says that children vanish every five minutes in the UK and this app can help provide crucial information in the early stages of an inquiry.  Good Morning Britain had clips from the McCanns, the parents of murdered April Jones and Hugh Grant, who is patron of the Missing People Charity, all saying that this app could help.  Then Suzanna Reid interviewed on the sofa the mum and aunt of Sandy Davidson who was three when he disappeared nearly 40 years ago and has never been traced.  As Sandy’s mum Margaret understandably became upset as she told her story,  Suzanna Reid leant across and grabbed her hand.  I’m sure it was a genuine reflex reaction – one mother moved by another’s story – but it made very uncomfortable and awkward viewing.  It didn’t help that in the previous section of the coverage Suzanna had been nonchalantly holding her Good Morning Britain coffee mug as she introduced another missing child story.  It’s a small thing, but the prominence of branded coffee mugs on morning television really annoys me.  We know it’s breakfast time and we know which channel we are watching.  Surely the presenters aren’t so hooked on caffeine that they can’t wait for their fix?  This morning’s grab – more than the irritating coffee mugs – encapsulates the problem with GMB and Breakfast TV in general.  It doesn’t know whether it’s a  news programme or a piece of infotainment with a bit of news – and occasional “news specials”, like this morning – tagged on to make it look more heavyweight. Journalists interview people involved in tragedies and big stories every single day.  For me there needs to be respectful distance – both physically and in tone.  I switched over and caught the end of an interview between Bill Hamilton (he’s also very keen on a slurp of coffee during an interview) and  George Osborne, during which The Chancellor announced the introduction of an elected mayor in Manchester.  In a morning of physical contact with interviewees, I half expected Bill (or Billy as only weather presenter Carol Kirkwood calls  him) to high five Mr Osborne and congratulate him on the move – because the BBC now loves Manchester.  To conclude my early morning viewing I watched the first of a series of reports by Billy’s co-presenter Louise Minchin about cycling.  Today’s story showed Louise and Olympic medallist and champion for cycling Chris Boardman riding around Manchester and pointing out how unsuitable it was for cyclists.  Viewers were told you are far more likely to get injured or killed riding a bike than travelling in a car and, having experienced the lack of road sense by cyclists near where I live, that is no surprise.  Chris Boardman was not wearing a helmet when he was shown cycling in Manchester.  He has his reasons (although I don’t quite get the logic) as outlined below, but I’m amazed the health and safety people at the BBC allowed filming to go ahead.  But then I suppose they allow hot liquid on set these days.