Even by Christmas I think producers were willing to give Sharron enough holidays to make Piers Morgan look like a workaholic.
Did Sharron get a last day (and the briefest of farewells) or did she just go on holiday never to return?
She did have a last day, but it was only announced a few days before and I don't suppose many people saw it as it was on 2nd May, the day after the election. I certainly didn't see it. As you say, she was off a hell of a lot, I remember reading she did live miles away, but there was one episode very early on when she was absent at the last minute and Rick had to do the whole show by himself, that got in the papers. There was also the one I mentioned to Ian Jones for Morning Glory, Down Your Doorstep was at the Cheltenham Festival and Sharron was there but didn't actually do anything other than say hello.
I'd guess a day or two considering the house wasn't ready even a few hours before. Then I think the following day they used a handheld run-in.
What they should have done is opened with one of the break stings and sorted the titles later.
Well, indeed, they didn't need to have any opening titles at all. Actually the original titles weren't all that as I remember someone writing in to point out the cup of coffee at the end of them was completely mouldy.