The Morning Line fan speaks. Q & A with Anne Brown

The Morning Line fan speaks. Q & A with Anne Brown

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Channel 4's The Morning Line

Morning Line before…

While I watch all television both as a viewer and a television producer, others simply watch it as fans of one show or another.

On Twitter, Anne Brown is the self proclaimed @MorningLineFan 

So, having had my say on how the programme has changed since January, I wanted to speak to one of the 200.000 viewers who watched that show during Royal Ascot. And on most Saturday mornings throughout the year.

Channel 4 racing new look

… and after

Here is my question and answer session with Anne.

VG. How long have you been watching the ML?

AB. Must be for at least 10 years. I didn’t watch before because I didn’t know it existed.

VG. When changes took place in January, were you concerned?

AB. Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed the old format and the changes were so radical they spoilt the programme for me initially.

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VG. Which of the now departed old faces do you miss and why?

AB. Alastair Down for his gentle manner, superb writing and dulcet tones.

Mike Cattermole for his humour, clarity, chemistry with Emma Spencer and non-technical way of providing information

John Francome for his direct approach, animated delivery, knowledge, humour and commentary with Jim McGrath (I appreciate that some of the above applies to C4 Racing as a whole)

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VG. What do you like about the ML now?

AB. The tweeting – in my opinion the tweeter does a fantastic job.

The backdrop and the studio colours. It all looks very dynamic. The jugs of orange juice etc in the old format looked silly and the old format did look dated.

Personal I know, but Jim McGrath seems to have improved. He doesn’t speak with his eyes closed so much.


The jockey interview. The stable interview. The tips (although I think they did that before?) and Mick Fitzgerald

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VG. Is there anything you would change?

AB. Yes. I would:

Replace Graham Cunningham immediately. I feel mean saying this but for me he doesn’t have the right personality for television. I find him lacking in charisma and humour. There’s little variation to his pitch and tone. I find him too technical, it’s like listening to an IT specialist. I actually find him boring. 

Get rid of The Mug’s Game. I find it childish, although the sound effects do make me smile, and it adds nothing to the programme. The old quiz style used to be fun with contestants competing against each other on the leader board.

Get rid of the iPad and bring back a sofa. I find the giant iPad is a barrier and a distraction –  it adds nothing. The sofa was more informal, everybody looked more relaxed and seemed to have more fun.


After today, I’d have Frankie Dettori as a regular – he brought much missed humour and animation.  Ted Walsh added masses when he did a stint.

Ask Brix to give them a tv makeover!  No doubt you’ll laugh but when they’re all sitting around in pale blue shirts that really should have ties, they look boring before it even starts! That’s a distraction in itself.

Include a very quick weekly slot of technical explanation for technical novices like me.

Ask them not to be so technical – to speak in everyday language. I love horse racing but I’m not good on technical stuff and sometimes it’s like listening to another language  (I do appreciate that I may not be their target audience).


At the risk of being shot at dawn, I’d have a brief fashion slot but I know that the majority would hate that and so it wouldn’t be feasible.

And finally: I’d bring back the old theme tune. I absolutely loved it and changing it was like changing the music to Corrie or Eastenders or the News. Sacrilege. 

VG.  Do you watch ML for information re the day of racing, or simply as an entertaining show?

AB. Both.

VG. Who are your favourites on the ML?

AB. I thought Rishi did a superb job of standing in for Nick.  I know Rishi’s  not very popular but I find his presentation clear and varied.  

VG. At the moment it can be more than 20 minutes before the big race of the day is analysed. Does that bother/annoy you?

AB. No.

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VG. Is the ML too male dominated? Which female members of the team would you like to see more often?

AB. I don’t feel it’s too male dominated. I feel it’s too ‘serious’ dominated.  Some real characters are needed – and I don’t mean like John McCririck.

That said, I did enjoy it when Emma Spencer and Alice Plunkett stood in, so maybe it would be good to see them more.

VGDo you base your day around the ML? If it is on, do you always begin your day with Nick Luck and co?

The viewing figures have been poor… just how much would you miss ML were it dropped from C4 schedule?

AB. No, I don’t base my day around it in the summer.  I record it and watch it later if I have time. I do tend to start my day with it in the winter though and love that.

I would feel very sad if it were to be dropped but until they get the right presenters, I think the viewing figures will continue to be poor.

Feel free to leave your comments below.

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