Be warned. This review contains excessive (yet unavoidable) use of the word ‘Sunday’.
At a time when Saturday mornings are filled with sports, black and white films and repeats, the public are crying out for a brand-new weekend morning show. You know, something interactive, madcap and fun for the kids – something reminiscent of, say, Live & Kicking, SMTV: Live, Tiswas or even – God help us – Dick & Dom. Well, ITV seem to be trying to fill that gaping chasm with Sunday Side Up and, to a much lesser extent, Sunday Scoop. Well, they might be a day late and not survive more than one (perhaps two) series on Saturday mornings, but I guess they’re welcome on an idle Sunday.
Sitting down, pen and paper in hand, this morning, ready to watch these two shows, I fully expected to be more taken with Side Up than Scoop. However, to my surprise, it was the other way around. I much preferred the homely and relaxed feel of Sunday Scoop to Sunday Side Up – where there were awkward silences aplenty (note no cheering or applause when coming in and out of the ad breaks and ‘stings’, despite there being a Big Breakfast-esque throng of crew visible on the set) and a general feeling of ‘Guys, we should have rehearsed this more’.
Stephen Mulhern was at the helm of Sunday Side Up and, to be fair, he did make a decent fist of it. Even when he was handed mediocre games to play (which were seemingly ‘inspired’ by Catchphrase, The Saturday Show, TV Burp and the ‘You Say We Pay’ segment of Richard & Judy) and guests with merchandise to plug or a work diary to be filled, he managed to soldier on with an eye roll and a wise crack. I can only hope that Bruce Forsyth was watching, so that he could learn that that is how you read an autocue gag – and get a laugh.
Without the brilliant-as-ever ad-libs of its host, I don’t think I would have stuck around for the duration of Sunday Side Up, though. The fun that they all thought was obvious was actually lacking, meaning that the show limped through its sixty minute slot, instead of sailing through.
Of course, as Stephen quite rightly pointed out, this was only the first episode and teething problems were inevitable. It’s somewhat hard to ignore those teething problems, however, when they involve the show itself being dry and clunky. There was nothing there to make it seem new and fun and exciting. Sorry.
Sunday Scoop, on the other hand, was much more enjoyable and easier to watch, mainly because I didn’t feel on edge in case anything went wrong (well, apart from Nadia Sawalha coming close to burning the Sunday dinner (or “lunch” if you’re in the south, I suppose) that she was apparently cooking throughout the show).
Sunday Scoop sees returning Loose Women, Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams present a mixture of news, chat and cookery alongside a guest presenter (this week Peter Andre) and a celebrity guest or two, and unlike its sister-show feels very casual and comfortable to watch, as its hosts flit between the kitchen and the sofa, as if they’re inviting you round for a bite to eat rather than presenting a TV programme. Like Lorraine – but on a Sunday.
I mean, don’t get me wrong: there were some little annoyances in this final hour of ITV’s new Sunday line-up. For instance, Kaye and Nadia’s every word to each other had the subtext of ‘We’re friends, it’s banter, it’s fine!’ and the, albeit rather satisfying, end to the show, which saw the presenters and guests all sit round and have a natter while tucking in to a Sunday roast, did include clips of two of the topics of conversation (The Escape Artist and Philomena) which were all too readily available, meaning that the chat didn’t seem quite as spontaneous as they all wanted us to think it was. But then hey, come on, what TV programme isn’t meticulously orchestrated nowadays – eh, X Factor producers?
So, overall, it appears that ITV have served up quite an entertaining two hours of weekend morning fun here. I suppose there is an argument for it making more sense to just bring back This Morning Sunday (perhaps with Stephen and Nadia as hosts..?) but for the time being these will do. Hopefully Sunday Side Up will manage to quickly iron out those few problems and we’ll be able to look forward to at least another nine weeks of entertaining gossip and games.
Image credits: Thanks to ITV Studios and Nicky Johnson, ©ITV
Sunday Side Up and Sunday Scoop are on…you guessed it, Sundays, at 10:30 and 11:30am, respectively, on ITV
What did you think of Sunday Side Up and Sunday Scoop? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer.
You can also see what’s coming up on TV in the coming week on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.