Creative Brand Communications

Richard & Judy and UKTV Call Time On Chat Show.

richard-judy-new-set1LONDON: Friday 8th May 2009, Richard & Judy and UKTV have mutually decided to call time on their chat show, as the husband and wife team celebrate a TV partnership spanning 21 years.

One year after signing with the brand new TV channel, Richard & Judy will present the final edition of the show on 3rd July 2009, at the end of its current series.

Richard & Judy had the opportunity to continue with the show until December, however a break clause in the contract allowed them, the broadcaster and the production company to cease production in the summer.

Ratings had not been in line with expectations and new audience research has prompted Watch to re-focus its direction towards family skewed entertainment and away from topical discussion based output.

Since its launch in October last year, success with non-topical shows such as Torchwood, Wipeout USA, Doctor Who and blockbuster films has made Watch bigger in Pay TV than Film4, Virgin 1, Sky News, Discovery and Comedy Central.

Since switching to UKTV, Richard & Judy have welcomed a host of high profile guests onto their sofa, including Hollywood stars Samuel L Jackson, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and Mickey Rourke. In addition to hosting a regular daily show at 6pm every weekday, they also fronted the Galaxy British Book Awards.

On their time at Watch, Richard & Judy reflected; “Some you win, some you lose. It’s a shame we couldn’t get this one to fly because both we and our brilliant young production team were genuinely proud of the show and the guests it attracted. But it became obvious that it wasn’t the right fit with a brand new pay-for-view digital channel. Many of our former viewers have told us they simply couldn’t find us there. When we started we said we wanted to get ahead of the curve, as British television inevitably goes digital. Looks like we were a bit too far ahead of the curve! Perhaps a bridge too far too soon, despite UKTV’s strong support. But TV is all about taking risks and that means sometimes you fail. It was a really worthwhile experiment and we don’t regret it at all. Now we’re both going on to other projects, together and separately.”

Matthew Littleford, Controller at UKTV said,” I’d like to personally thank Richard and Judy for all their hard work, professionalism and that indefinable R&J magic that they consistently brought to UKTV. We’ve been incredibly lucky enough to have the King and Queen of British telly on UKTV and together with Amanda and Simon Ross at Cactus TV, they created a show I remain incredibly proud of. The calibre of the guests that have sat on the sofa has been as strong as ever and it is testament to the professionalism of the entire team at Cactus TV that the quality of the show has never waned. We wish them the best of luck in the future, and look forward to giving them a fitting send off.”

One of the most successful brand extensions of the Richard & Judy partnership has been the phenomenally popular Book Club, which has boosted book sales and propelled unknown authors to commercial and critical acclaim, and led to Cactus MD Amanda Ross being consistently named the most influential person in publishing in book page polls. In its most recent series, the initiative shifted almost 1 million copies, and amongst others, elevated author Kate Atkinson to number one with her book, When Will There Be Good News?. The current run achieved No.1 slots for four out of the ten books featured.

Cactus TV hopes that the Book Club will continue beyond UKTV, and are currently in discussions with media partners about its future.

Richard & Judy will continue to present the show as planned into the summer, hosting a new series of the Summer Read from Wednesday 15th May.

Cactus TV, who have produced Richard & Judy’s shows since they left ITV in 2001, continue to produce a range of shows, including Saturday Kitchen for BBC One, Hairy Bikers for BBC Two, Rachel Allen: Bake and the popular ITV Crime Thriller season.

For further information, please contact Justin Jeffreys at Taylor Herring PR on [email protected]

Notes To Editors

Richard Madeley began his career as a local journalist in Essex. At 19, he joined BBC Cumbria as a news producer and presenter before joining Border Television as a reporter/presenter in 1978. In 1980 Richard moved to Yorkshire Television where he reported and presented on regional Yorkshire Television programmes before moving on to Granada TV in 1982.

Judy Finnigan began her career as a TV researcher for Granada TV in 1971 after graduating from Bristol University with English and Drama BA Hons. Following a year’s working holiday in America, Judy returned to the television industry in 1974 to take her first on-screen job as Anglia Television’s first female reporter. She rejoined Granada in 1980 and worked on a range of live programmes including Granada Reports, which she co-presented with Richard.

In October 1988, Richard and Judy recorded their first episode of This Morning from the Albert Dock in Liverpool. They went on to present the programme for 13 years and established themselves as Britain’s favourite TV couple. Whilst on ITV, their much-loved presenting helped the programme scoop the coveted award for Most Popular Daytime Programme at the National Television Awards in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. Other collaborative successes for the couple include Get A Life, Tonight and the British Soap Awards. Individually, Judy presented the Granada TV Coronation Street Specials, two series of the Judy Finnigan Debate and the primetime consumer show We Can Work it Out, whilst Richard presented the adult series of Connections, Runway and the extremely popular Eye of the Storm.

In 2001, Richard and Judy left ITV to present Richard & Judy for Channel 4, weeknights 5pm-6pm. The show combined news-reactive items, light informal features and celebrity interviews. In January 2006 Richard and Judy agreed to further extend their contract with Channel 4 until the end of 2008, and to share their teatime slot with Paul O’Grady, each presenting their magazine shows for half of the year. Richard and Judy are also responsible for a revolution in the nation’s reading habits, following the phenomenal success of their literary programme strands, particularly Book Club and Summer Read which both launched in 2004. To date Book Club has sold over 10 million books and generated over £60 million in book sales. Its featured titles are known to increase sales by as much as 3,000 per cent overnight. Book Club has turned at least eight authors into multi-millionaires.

In autumn 2006, Richard and Judy made a cameo appearance in Extras with Ricky Gervais on BBC2, and in early 2007, Richard presented Fortune: Million Pound Giveaway on ITV. After seven successful years at Channel Four, Richard and Judy are now hosting a topical prime-time chat show on the brand new digital channel, Watch, every weekday at 6pm.

Richard and Judy have been married to each other for over 20 years, and live in North London. They have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Chloe, who co-presented Big Brother’s Big Mouth for a week in August 2007; Judy also has twin sons from her first marriage.

Richard Madeley has recently written a book, Fathers and Sons, which charts the extraordinary tale of Richard’s family history. Spanning four generations, Father and Sons is a deeply personal insight into a story of betrayal and forgiveness, and was officially released through Simon & Schuster.


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