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Steph's Packed Lunch

Weekdays at 12.30

KK
KolonelKlink London London
I think Steph's ad libbed questioning and chat is part of the problem, she doesn't really know how to fill dead air very well, that dull exchange about the weather with the caller on the phone-in game being a good example.


I caught this exchange, which went something like:

"What's your name and where are you calling from?"
"I'm (NAME) from London"
"Are you having a good day?"
"It's been fine so far, thanks"
"What's the weather like in London today?"
"Oh it's a bit drizzly"

I've heard more engaging chat from amateur presenters on community radio stations - and I honestly don't mean to be disrespectful of Steph's presenting style; she's a very competent business/consumer affairs journalist but gentle patter isn't her bag. I was also surprised how low-energy she was - just like the promo I saw last week or the week before, it really seemed like her heart wasn't in it and she couldn't wait for 2:10 to roll around.
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
To be fair that's pretty much the exchange you'll get with any caller - exactly the same sort of questions Holly and Phil would ask on Spin to Win. How engaging it is probably is more to do with the caller than the presenter.
Turns out nobody had 2020 vision.
GO
gottago London London
To be fair that's pretty much the exchange you'll get with any caller - exactly the same sort of questions Holly and Phil would ask on Spin to Win. How engaging it is probably is more to do with the caller than the presenter.

All of her chat is on that level though, with the audience, guests and co-presenters, regardless of how good they are. The second she has to go off script it's noticeable every time. It's a surprisingly difficult skill that she's not really been able to develop even after a series and a half.
KolonelKlink and Ittr gave kudos
LL
London Lite Founding member London London
I think Steph's ad libbed questioning and chat is part of the problem, she doesn't really know how to fill dead air very well, that dull exchange about the weather with the caller on the phone-in game being a good example.


I caught this exchange, which went something like:

"What's your name and where are you calling from?"
"I'm (NAME) from London"
"Are you having a good day?"
"It's been fine so far, thanks"
"What's the weather like in London today?"
"Oh it's a bit drizzly"

I've heard more engaging chat from amateur presenters on community radio stations - and I honestly don't mean to be disrespectful of Steph's presenting style; she's a very competent business/consumer affairs journalist but gentle patter isn't her bag. I was also surprised how low-energy she was - just like the promo I saw last week or the week before, it really seemed like her heart wasn't in it and she couldn't wait for 2:10 to roll around.


I heard a call on Darren Proctor's GHR show today which the caller gave absolutely nothing during a competition segment, but the presenter at least tried to make it enthusiastic.
JC
JCB
I presume Steph will have a holiday at some point. It will be interesting to see if they try out someone new (just in case they work out better or could work with Steph) or use one of panellists.


The only way I can see this show taking off is if there's a Graham Norton/Jack Docherty scenario.
SP
Spencer Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
To be fair that's pretty much the exchange you'll get with any caller - exactly the same sort of questions Holly and Phil would ask on Spin to Win. How engaging it is probably is more to do with the caller than the presenter.


Unless you’re calling someone back live on air, and know nothing about them in advance, there’s no reason not to find out at least a few things beforehand to ask the caller about. Asking them what the weather’s like where they are is a classic sign of lack of prep. Almost certainly this is the fault of the producers rather than of Steph.
JO
Johnr
“What would you do with a grand?!”

“Well I’m currently in Tier 3 lockdown so not a lot at the minute!”

Awkward Very Happy ... even more so when the caller ended up winning £0! At least send them a lunchbox as a consolation prize or something!
W1
w1a London London
I agree with a lot of points raised so far, including taking a presenter which is the favourite part of 'soup' and isolating it...it's just not always a success. Pasta is almost certainly the best part of minestrone soup. Take it out of the soup though, and it's just soggy pasta. (Chiles and Bleakley going to Daybreak was really removing the pasta from the soup and thinking...this'll work in stew?...to dramatically over-extend the metaphor.)

Having said that, I think Steph is a talent worth poaching and AFAIK, she rates really well with the kind of people that would watch this show and that Channel 4 would want to attract (working and stay-at-home women, low to middle income - great for advertisers). She was successful on Breakfast because she lit up grey business news and makes it accessible, all whilst having an accent that audiences appreciate hearing (despite those that constantly moaned about it) and being warm on air, in contrast to others.

I do wonder about the strategy of just becoming This Morning+2hrs though, mainly because it's a bit unfocused. This Morning can get away with it because they are established, with very successful presenters (who attract the audience regardless of content) and have probably done everything at least once! Interesting to see the press release for 'Morning Live', which has an 8-week run on BBC One at 9:15am coming up (Kym Marsh and Gethin Jones) - it has an immediate reason to be on: a bumper variety pack of the 9:15 popular factuals that have that slot throughout the year...experts + topical chat = (loosely) daily consumer affairs.

What's the drive for Packed Lunch? Other than Steph's a great, capable presenter...C4 have no live programming until 7pm on weekday, and there's a brand new Leeds office that needs to not look like just an empty office.

What would have been a really ballsy commission for C4 would be to do Packed Lunch at 8am. Start off with an hour, and maybe stretch it to 10am (or start at 7am). There's a massive open goal for a live breakfast show without a news or debate agenda - essentially the Radio 2 Breakfast show on TV. You can read the news before your head leaves the pillow on your phone, so have a show that's focused on lifestyle, interior design, life hacks, personal finance, health, 'what to have for tea', 'where to go on holiday', 'dance routines your kids are looking at on TikTok'. This Morning, but without the celeb/promotional circuit bits - and allow Steph to make each section speak to the kind of audience I mentioned. Channel 4 doesn't have shows you can easily plug on a chat show - they are usually too gritty. Even 60 seconds of Yorkshire countryside shots set to music would be an excellent top of the hour antidote to the others available!

Think sort of Big Breakfast, but for those who watched Big Breakfast in the 90s, and are now knackered by three kids and want a pleasant twenty mins watching TV before going upstairs and working from home all day. The audience is ripe for the taking!!
Last edited by w1a on 14 October 2020 7:03pm - 2 times in total

14 days later

KK
KolonelKlink London London
If anyone’s interested, there’s been a very small improvement in ratings - climbing to the dizzy heights of 0.2m a couple of days last week and again yesterday (although it tends to rate better on Mondays for some reason).
AN
Andrew Founding member Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Just think, if she’d stayed at the BBC there is quite a high chance that she’d now be hosting “Morning Live” to 1.5m viewers
MA
Meridian AM Meridian (South) South Today
Just think, if she’d stayed at the BBC there is quite a high chance that she’d now be hosting “Morning Live” to 1.5m viewers


I presume she lives in the north and finds it easier to work there (hence Packed Lunch in Leeds and Breakfast in Salford).

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