PRIME Minister Boris Johnson cleverly won a battle in the decades-long political feud with the fake smiley faces of ITV Breakfast this week.
For casual viewers of breakfast telly, the PM’s sassy ‘Who’s Lorraine?’ remark may have seemed like a gaffe, but Politicalite can today reveal the decades-long feud behind his smirk.
Breakfast telly in Britain has always been biased and political. After initially bombing in the ratings in the early 1980s, ITV’s old 6.00 am to 9.25 am TV-am franchise was saved by a free-market Aussie, after ex-BBC Establishment heavyweights dubbed the ‘famous five’ bombed in the breakfast battle for ratings.
TV-am was panned by critics for its hard news, faced technical strikes and was left with next to no funds.
The network was saved by the Australian media tycoon Bruce Gyngell who re-designed its dark sets, fixed its news service and fired leftie striking staff.
This was the early days of the Battle for Britain’s Breakfast, and it’s a real storm in a teacup.
After turning around its fortunes, TV-am lost its broadcast licence in 1991 after a Tory shake-up of ITV franchising, with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher personally apologising to the Aussie boss of TV-am for the balls-up.
Brits were then introduced to long-running leftie linked ‘Good Morning Television’ or GMTV for short, and that was a favourite of ‘call me Tony’ Prime Minister Blair.
It’s light-weight showbiz focused drivel in the late 1990s and 2000s distracted the nation from Tony Blair’s failures.
Yet the working-class Liverpudlian presenter turned Tory MP Esther McVey was an enigma in a sea of lefties when she worked at GMTV in the late 1990s.
The long-running feud between pro-Labour ITV breakfast and the Conservatives was highlighted ahead of the Tory leadership race in 2019 when leftie Lorraine Kelly was rude to her former colleague.
The sassy tax-avoiding scot coldly snapped back at a question from former Mirror editor turned Talk TV host Piers Morgan when he asked if he remembered Esther from her breakfast telly days after she was grilled by Piers and Susanna on Good Morning Britain ahead of the 2019 Tory leadership race.
“Do you remember Esther McVey from her GMTV days?” said Piers and Susanna.
Leftie Lorraine coldly replied: “Yep. Yes I do.” and said she “didn’t know her”
“Right, coming up after half-past eight…” snapped Lorraine.
Piers pressed again, Lorraine cracked and revealed: “Sadly, no. She said: “I don’t remember, love, I don’t remember at all, it was an awfully long time ago.”
This was proof of a long-rumoured feud with leftie GMTV bosses, presenters and right-wing McVey.
Lorraine claimed she could not “remember” the ins and outs, but the hacks sure did.
Just like she forgot about being an ITV employee, and claimed she was an ‘actress’ playing the role of an ‘actress’ with an on-air persona in the entertainment industry and that all parts of her ITV show were “a performance”, in a £1.2 million tax battle with HMRC.
Esther however, was far less coy and spilt the tea after Leftie Lorraine’s nasty snipes.
She told The Sun that admitting she was a Tory at GMTV was “the worst mistake she ever made.”
She continued pouring, of course, Tories always have the tea… “GMTV was like a cabal of lefties.”
Fiona Phillips, wife of then GMTV editor Martin Frizell was replaced by Esther in 1999 whilst on maternity leave.
Phillips, a long-time Labour supporter and Blair bootlicker scooped dozens of soft-sofa interviews with Blair between 1997 and 2007.
She was even offered a peerage and a job as a health minister by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Ever the classy bird, McVey told Frizell edited This Morning regular Ian Dale when he asked: “What on earth did you do to Lorraine Kelly?”
“I don’t know! I had a very fun time at GMTV.” McVey replied.
So there you have it, Boris Johnson threw some VERY sassy shade at Lorraine, to defend the honour of one of his MPs.
A true Gentleman.