TypeBreakfast television
United Kingdom
HeadquartersThe London Studios, London
OwnerITV plc
Launch date
1 January 1993; 31 years ago (1993-01-01)
Dissolved3 September 2010; 13 years ago (2010-09-03)
Picture format
Replaced byITV Breakfast

GMTV (an initialism for Good Morning Television), now legally known as ITV Breakfast Broadcasting Limited, was the name of the national ITV breakfast television contractor/licensee,[1] broadcasting in the United Kingdom from 1 January 1993 to 3 September 2010. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of ITV plc in November 2009.[2] Shortly after, ITV plc announced the programme would end. The final edition of GMTV was broadcast on 3 September 2010.

GMTV transmitted daily from 6 am with GMTV's weekday breakfast magazine programme GMTV broadcasting until 8:25 (9:25 on Friday), followed by GMTV with Lorraine (Monday to Thursday), until the regional ITV franchises took over at 9:25 am. In later years, the switchover was practically seamless and the station was 'surrounded' in the most part by ITV Network continuity on either side of transmission. Consequently, most viewers perceived GMTV simply as a programme on ITV; however, until the complete buyout by ITV plc., it was essentially an independent broadcaster with its own news-gathering operation, sales and management teams and in-house production team. GMTV also broadcast its own children's programmes, independent from CITV until Boohbah was cross-promoted on both sides, with different credits for each.



GMTV won the licence for the breakfast Channel 3 franchise from 1993, outbidding the previous licence holder, TV-am, in the 1991 franchise round for £34 million.[3] The station was backed by LWT, STV, Disney, and the Guardian Media Group. GMTV promised a 'cheerful morning and with more information' - termed the 'F-factor'. A new children's news bulletin was to be broadcast at 7:20 am every morning, while at 8:50 am during the week, a new female-led format was also planned.[4] Carlton bought a 20% stake in the consortium in November 1991.[5] GMTV was originally intended to be called 'Sunrise Television',[6] but as Sky News' breakfast programming also went by that name (and did so until 2019), Sky protested, resulting in the change of name.[7]

In May 1992, GMTV was criticised after unveiling its plans for a more family orientated format with business and city news being dropped. Director of Programmes Lis Howell stated:

The structure of the programme will be fundamentally different from TV-am. It will be a rolling programme, with two presenters in which the news will be long or as short as the news dictates. It's in a sense a news programme but it's a very soft news agenda, although if there is a big story we will ditch everything and cover it better than TV-am would have.

GMTV also turned down an offer from David Frost to continue with his Sunday morning programme, instead choosing to introduce a new leisure programme about family matters, as it believed 'TV-am flung its audience away on Sundays'.[8]


See also: List of GMTV programmes

The first edition of GMTV was broadcast on 1 January 1993, presented by Eamonn Holmes and Anne Davies. Its main weekday presenters at its launch were Fiona Armstrong and Michael Wilson (Monday to Thursday), broadcast from Studio 5 at The London Studios on the South Bank.

Within six weeks of broadcasting, the station had lost 2 million viewers. Mark Lawson of The Independent dubbed the new franchise 'Grinning Morons Television'.[9] Greg Dyke was appointed chairman of the GMTV board and tasked with overhauling the station format, which included 'more popular journalism'. His role was primarily to bring new and imaginative ideas to the station without taking on full day-to-day running.[10] Within three days, Howell had resigned; Dyke had refused to endorse any of her programming strategy for GMTV. Her replacement was Peter McHugh.[11][12]

On 8 February,[13] following continued poor ratings, Wilson had moved to present a new 'news-focused' slot from 6 to 7am (which in 1994 became the "Reuters News Hour"). Armstrong continued to co-present with Holmes until 12 March,[14] Armstrong was replaced by Lorraine Kelly, with her former position as presenter of the post 9am slot Top of the Morning taken up by Fern Britton.

On 19 April, GMTV was revamped, including a new set that mimicked that of TV-am.[15][16] Sally Meen become the new weather presenter while Penny Smith became the main newsreader, joining from Sky News.[17]

Within the first six months, GMTV had reported £10 million losses which was double that it initially budgeted for.[18] In early September, GMTV approached the Independent Television Commission (ITC) regarding the possibility of decreasing its quota of news. Just two months earlier, the ITC had criticised the company for being 'too entertainment-led', expressing concerns about other programme areas. The ITC said: 'They [GMTV] will have to put forward a strong case for changing the licence based on the viewers' preferences.'[19] The request was denied, and by the end of its first year on air, the ITC had issued GMTV a formal warning for its 'unsatisfactory performance'.[20]

A final warning was given in May 1994; GMTV would face a fine of £2 million unless standards improved. The ITC acknowledged that considerable improvements had taken place up to the start of that year, but its news bulletins continued to be 'unsatisfactory, and initially too short to cover depth or authority', adding: 'its current affairs and children's material did not meet the aspirations... in terms of quality or production.' As part of the package to rectify the issues, American children's television series Barney & Friends was introduced, in addition to the "Reuters News Hour" and an upmarket Sunday morning programme.[21] By 1994, GMTV had achieved high enough standards to avoid the fine[22] and for the first time, had made a profit.[23]

In July 1994, Anthea Turner joined GMTV to present - along with Mr. Motivator - the summer holiday feature Fun in the Sun, before being paired up with Holmes to present the main programme shortly afterwards.[24] Turner left the station on 24 December 1996, after a dramatic falling out between the pair, which finally resulted in Holmes publicly calling her 'Princess Tippy Toes'. However, management denied she was 'squeezed out', with Turner claiming she had left on her own accord. Fiona Phillips took over her role on 6 January 1997.[25][26]

In 1998, GMTV returned into the red, with losses of £12 million and a turnover of £80 million [27] In November of that year, GMTV finally received a windfall: the ITC reduced the amount the station had to pay to the treasury from £50 million to £20 million - the most dramatic reduction of all the licenses. The ITC believed this would allow GMTV the money to invest in more programming.[28]

GMTV continued to strengthen its output, receiving further praise from the ITC in its Annual Performance Review of 1999: 'The overall programme quality improved...with more feature items and greater breadth of coverage, better journalistic and technical resources.' This led to increased audience share for GMTV among adult viewers; the weekend output for children was also strengthened. The ITC praised GMTV's greater emphasis on overseas coverage and access to key figures in the news, particularly for live interviews.

Social action programming was particularly successful. There were signs of improvement in the information content of the magazine programme for older children, Diggit (previously criticised by the ITC). The ITC proposed improvements in two areas to be made priorities for the year ahead: '... In Sunday programming for adults, where there is scope for better background and analysis to key political stories alongside the major interviews, and in information content in programming for school age children.'[29]


During 1999, the STV Group held talks into buying out the other shareholders in GMTV, with Disney believed to be keen on the idea.[30] By September, an agreement had been reached to acquire Guardian Media Group's 15% stake for £20 million, but both Carlton and Granada objected to the deal.[31] Guardian Media Group concluded in selling off its 15% stake in GMTV for £18 million in January 2000, with all three companies receiving 5% - allowing the four remaining stakeholders to have an equal 25% stake in the company.[29][32]

In October 2003, STV made public its interest in acquiring Carlton and Granada's stakes in GMTV. Andrew Flanagan, chief executive, was quoted as saying: 'We would be interested in buying GMTV. You need a trigger to try to do something and that's what we have tried to engineer.' STV believed having a controlling stake in GMTV would allow an effective command against the newly formed ITV sales department.[33] In September 2004, ITV plc purchased STV Group's 25% in the company for £31 million[34] after being given the go ahead from the Office of Fair Trading - despite advertisers' fears it could give ITV influence over pricing. SMG said: '[We] are pulling out of GMTV because it did not want to hold a minority interest in someone else's media business.'[35]

In 2005, Holmes left the station.[36][37] It was later exposed he was deeply unhappy with the 'dumbing down and commercialisation', which resulted in him hating his bosses.[38]

Phone-in scandal

Further information: 2007 British premium-rate phone-in scandal

In April 2007, BBC One's programme Panorama made claims that Opera - a company dealing with GMTV's phone-in competitions - were finalising shortlists of potential winners 'long before' lines closed, which resulted in viewers wasting an estimated £10 million a year since April 2003 on entering premium rate phone competitions. Paul Corley, managing director of GMTV, said: 'I'd just like to apologise for everything that's gone on. GMTV had trusted Opera, but, the fact is it appears two or three people at this telecoms company were taking it upon themselves to do this even without the knowledge of the management.[39] This contradicted claims made by Panorama that in 2003, sales director Mark Nuttall at Opera had discovered the situation and sent an e-mail to staff, saying: 'Make sure they never find out you are picking the winners early.'[40] Two senior executives resigned: Controller of Enterprises Kate Fleming, and Managing Director Paul Corley.[41]

On 24 September that year, Opera was fined £250,000, while GMTV was fined £2 million by Ofcom, who stated: 'the breaches constituted a substantial breakdown in the fundamental relationship of trust between a public service broadcaster and its viewers. The breaches were extremely serious as they involved longstanding and systematic failures in the conduct of broadcast competitions.'[42] GMTV pledged to refund a total of £35 million to all viewers affected.[citation needed]

A month later, the Serious Fraud Office took the decision to review the evidence from Ofcom into the phone-in scandal. An SFO spokeswoman said: 'Following media reports and some complaints received from the general public about GMTV's use of premium rate telephone services, we are in touch with Ofcom although no SFO investigation is under way...furthermore, the SFO will await the outcome of Ofcom's investigation into ITV's use of premium rate telephone services as highlighted in the Deloitte report.'[43] On 10 March 2008, the Serious Fraud Office decided not to investigate the phone-in scandal, stating it did not meet its criteria for an investigation.[44]


A major overhaul of GMTV output took place during the summer of 2008 - resulting in part from the loss of viewers to new competition from other digital channels, and to counter criticism that its output had become too lightweight. Red Bee Media was brought in as a consultant, with a view to refreshing the station's on-screen look, which had changed very little since 1993. ITV and Disney agreed a £4.5 million investment to modernise the production of the programme, including new equipment such as Avid editing suites.[45] This then led to the relaunch of GMTV on 5 January 2009, introducing Emma Crosby and Kirsty McCabe, who themselves replaced Fiona Phillips and Andrea McLean.

In July 2008, it was announced that McLean would quit working on GMTV to focus on her role on Loose Women, to share the permanent host job with Jackie Brambles. On 31 December that year, McLean left GMTV after 11 years as a weather presenter.

Phillips left GMTV on 18 December that same year, after 12 years as its main presenter. She told viewers that leaving was 'one of the hardest decisions I've ever made'.[46]

ITV plc ownership

This section is in list format but may read better as prose. You can help by converting this section, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (April 2014)

ITV plc attempted to buy out Disney's stake in GMTV, following its gaining of 75% control, in order to secure 24-hours control of Channel 3 in England and Wales; it eventually paid £18m for the remaining 25% on 25 November 2009.[47]

As a result, many changes were made shortly after:

See also


  1. ^ "Channel 3 (ITV, STV and UTV)". Ofcom. 11 January 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  2. ^ ITV buys remaining 25 pct stake in GMTV Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Reuters report on Interactive Investor, 26 November 2009
  3. ^ Winners and Losers. The Times, Thursday, 17 October 1991; pg. 4
  4. ^ Sunrise offers good cheer and more information. The Times (London, England), Thursday, 17 October 1991
  5. ^ Sunrise brings in Carlton to conclude breakfast TV deal. Georgina Herny Madia Editor The Guardian ; 23 November 1991
  6. ^ "GMTV | Album | Ident". Archived from the original on 28 January 2012.
  7. ^ "GMTV | Nevermind | Ident". Archived from the original on 28 November 2011.
  8. ^ TV-am successor offers 'soft news' Georgian Henry Media Editor The Guardian; 20 May 1992
  9. ^ Mark Lawson (6 January 1993). "TELEVISION / Beginning with the worst of intentions: In the first of a new weekly column Mark Lawson watches the early offerings from the new franchise holders and finds the omens for television's future depressing - Arts & Entertainment". The Independent. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  10. ^ GMTV brings in new chief to halt slide. Andrew Culf Media Correspondent The Guardian (1959–2003); 20 February 1993;
  11. ^ Programmes director quits beleaguered GMTV. Andrew Gulf Media Correspondent The Guardian (1959–2003); 23 February 1993;
  12. ^ GMTV brings in new chief to halt slide. Andrew Culf Media Correspondent The Guardian; P5 February 20, 1993;
  13. ^ GMTV banking on reshuffle on the sofa and Nintendo cartoon to boost ratings Andrew Culf Media Correspondent The Guardian (1959–2003); 5 February 1993
  14. ^ Fiona Armstrong quits GMTV to spend more time with family: Andrew Culf Media Correspondent: The Guardian; 16 March 1993
  15. ^ MARTIN WROE , Media Correspondent (20 April 1993). "GMTV tries new recipe for breakfast success - UK - News". The Independent. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  16. ^ Breakfast battle hots up. Fiddick, Peter The Guardian P12; 12 April 1993;
  17. ^ Fresh faces on GMTV. The Times, Friday, 2 April 1993;
  18. ^ LWT share deal could create 15 management millionaires. Martin Flanagan. The Times, Friday, 30 July 1993;
  19. ^ Struggling GMTV aims to cut news. Alexandra Frean Media Correspondent. The Times, Friday, 3 September 1993
  20. ^ TV watchdog condemns quality of programmes. Alexandra Frean, Media Correspondent. The Times, Friday, 27 May 1994
  21. ^ Dinosaur follows rat as 'poor' GMTV tries to avoid £2m fine. Culf, Andrew The Guardian (1959–2003); 27 May 1994;
  22. ^ Quality rise by GMTV removes threat of fine Andrew Culf Media Correspondent The Guardian (1959–2003); 16 September 1994;
  23. ^ GMTV seeks to expand as it moves towards profit for first time. Andrew Culf Media Correspondent. The Guardian (1959–2003); 15 December 1994;
  24. ^ Pulsing pectorals add to toned upTV station's buoyant breakfast mood. Culf, Andrew. The Guardian; 22 June 1994;
  25. ^ Eamonn Holmes absent from the GMTV sofa. The Times , Friday, 3 January 1997
  26. ^ Cue for truce in TV spat: GMTV presenter apologises over newspaper report. Culf, Andrew. The Guardian; 3 January 1997;
  27. ^ Scottish Media likely to sell 20% stake in GMTV. Raymond Snoddy, Media Editor. The Times, Tuesday, 21 July 1998;
  28. ^ Loss-making GMTV wins £30m licence fee windfall. Raymond Snoddy Media Editor. The Times, Thursday, 26 November 1998
  29. ^ a b "GMTV | Media | MediaGuardian". Guardian. 7 September 2000. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  30. ^ "Scottish Media seeks GMTV stock - Business - News". The Independent. 3 September 1999. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  31. ^ "SMG bid for GMTV stake could be blocked | News | Broadcast". 10 September 1999. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  32. ^ "TRIO SHARE GMTV STAKE | News | Broadcast". 7 January 2000. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  33. ^ "Carlton and Granada urged to sell off stake in GMTV - Brand Republic News". 10 October 2003. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  34. ^ ITV buys GMTV stake from SMG Chris Tryhorn Media Guardian, 10 May 2004
  35. ^ "ITV gets go-ahead on GMTV shares | News | Broadcast". 23 September 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  36. ^ "Entertainment | Holmes bids farewell to GMTV sofa". BBC News. 27 April 2005. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  37. ^ Jason Deans, broadcasting editor (22 February 2005). "Eamonn Holmes quits GMTV | Media | MediaGuardian". Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2013. ((cite news)): |author= has generic name (help)
  38. ^ "I've made up with Anthea but hate bosses at GMTV; EAMONN HOLMES EXCLUSIVE. - Free Online Library".
  39. ^ Smit, Martina (24 April 2007). "Phone-in firm sorry over GMTV scandal". Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  40. ^ "Entertainment | Viewers 'lose millions' to GMTV". BBC News. 23 April 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  41. ^ "Entertainment | GMTV's phone-in boss steps down". BBC News. 31 July 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  42. ^ "Entertainment | GMTV hit with £2m phone-in fine". BBC News. 26 September 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  43. ^ Pierce, Andrew (19 October 2007). "Fraud office reviews GMTV phone-in scandal". Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  44. ^ Leigh Holmwood (10 March 2008). "GMTV escapes fraud investigation over phone-in scandal | Media |". Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  45. ^ Maggie Brown (8 September 2008). "GMTV format to be overhauled | Media |". Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  46. ^ "Entertainment | Tearful GMTV goodbye for Phillips". BBC News. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  47. ^ Robinson, James (26 November 2009). "ITV takes full control of breakfast TV broadcaster GMTV". Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  48. ^ GMTV editor Martin Frizell to leave breakfast TV broadcaster Daily Record, 11 December 2009
  49. ^ Editor Martin Frizell leaving GMTV The Guardian, 11 December 2009
  50. ^ GMTV stars Penny Smith and John Stapleton leave the sofa in cut backs Daily Mirror, 4 March 2010
  51. ^ Children's TV presenters lose their jobs as GMTV bosses continue to wield the axe Mirror, 6 March 2010
  52. ^ "Eamonn Holmes and Kate Thornton to present GMTV - Showbiz - London Evening Standard". 13 April 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  53. ^ "Eamonn Holmes returning to GMTV | TV | Entertainment | STV". Entertainment. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  54. ^ Conlan, Tara (19 April 2010). "Adrian Chiles quits BBC for ITV". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  55. ^ GMTV presenter Ben Shephard to quit the show Mirror, 30 June 2010
  56. ^ Ian Rumsey made GMTV editor The Guardian, 7 May 2010
  57. ^ After a decade on the sofa, Andrew Castle bows out of GMTV ITV Press Centre, 10 June 2010
  58. ^ Kanter, Jake (10 June 2010). "£1.5m shake-up sees GMTV name dropped". Broadcast. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  59. ^ "£1.5m shake-up for GMTV". The Independent. 11 June 2010.
  60. ^ Midgley, Neil (20 June 2010). "CChristine Bleakley joins ITV after BBC sacking". GMTV. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  61. ^ ITV unveils new breakfast show Belfast Telegraph, 9 July 2010
  62. ^ Daybreaking News![permanent dead link] GMTV, 20 July 2010
  63. ^ Richard Arnold, Carla Romano depart GMTV Digital Spy, 20 July 2010
ITV national franchise Preceded byTV-am Breakfast television 1 January 1993 – 3 September 2010 Succeeded byITV Breakfast