wed 22/09/2021

The Steph Show, Channel 4 review - magazine show debuts from host's front room | reviews, news & interviews

The Steph Show, Channel 4 review - magazine show debuts from host's front room

The Steph Show, Channel 4 review - magazine show debuts from host's front room

Steph McGovern to the rescue

Steph McGovern has a natural on-screen presence

As we are learning each day during lockdown, necessity is the mother of invention. In Channel 4's case, it is learning how the wonders of modern technology can save a situation: to wit, The Steph Show was meant to come live daily from a shiny new studio in Leeds Docks, but yesterday debuted from host Steph McGovern's front room in North Yorkshire. 

McGovern, despite her self-confessed nerves and an occasional wobble from the technology, played a blinder in what she described as “Yorkshire Big Brother with one contestant” as robotic cameras captured her from various angles in her open-plan living room and kitchen, while the technical crew were self-distancing in her garden and garage.

I must confess that magazine programmes are not usually my cup of tea, but McGovern and her team put together a live hour of upbeat content (“a power hour of positivity”) that only the most curmudgeonly could not enjoy.

There was the usual daytime TV mix of fun and factual. Virtual guests comic Keith Lemon and Strictly Come Dancing's Anton Du Beke provided the light relief, while there was an expert from charity Step Change explaining people's financial rights now that millions have no work or face no job to go back to. A large family from Dundee was on hand to give tips on how to survive living in one house with two bathrooms – although in truth the bad line meant that few were forthcoming.

I suspect that some segments didn't run at the planned length and then the show ended in a bit of a rush with a home exercise segment, which might have offered more comedy value had it been given more time.

There's no question that this works mostly because McGovern is such a natural and hugely likeable on-screen presence, throwing in personal anecdotes and quips with Lemon and Du Beke – although she didn't upbraid them for their heavy-handed puffs for upcoming projects. She's playful, too, asking to speak to Lemon's friend Dan who rang (and nearly caused the link to drop) while the comic was speaking to her. She would have been up for an unplanned moment, but Lemon demurred. (By the way, no cue cards or Autocue are to be seen, the only prompt being what's on McGovern's tablet, so one assumes that her pieces to camera are unscripted – which shows what a pro she is.)

Channel 4's last live daytime show was What's Cooking, in 2013, and it's unlikely that that show could have been rebooted so successfully from the hosts' living rooms, but technology has moved on in leaps and bounds since. Content-wise, however, it's not groundbreaking TV. But McGovern is always watchable and, as the audience start interacting more via social media, this could be huge fun when it hits its stride.

There was the usual daytime TV mix of fun and factual


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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