The Wright Stuff
|The Wright Stuff|
|Presented by||Matthew Wright
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Running time||115 minutes (inc. adverts)|
|Production company(s)||Anglia Television
Granada Television (2000–2008)
Princess Productions (2008–present)
|Original network||Channel 5|
|Original release||11 September 2000– present|
|Related shows||Live with Gabby, The Vanessa Show|
The Wright Stuff is a British television chat show, hosted by Matthew Wright, and airing on Channel 5 each weekday morning from 9:15 to 11:15am. The series characterises itself as "Britain's brightest daytime show", which "gives ordinary people the chance to talk and comment on everything such as news to the social, emotional and even sexual issues back at home", as well as featuring "showbiz stars and media commentators". The Wright Stuff has been nominated as "Best Daytime Programme" at both the Royal Television Society and the National Television Awards.
The show first aired on 11 September 2000 and was created at Anglia Television who produced it for two years until their takeover by Granada. It is now produced by Princess Productions who also produced The Vanessa Show, Live With Gabby and Sing Date as well as Something For The Weekend, Sunday Brunch, Daily Brunch, It Pays To Watch and The TV Show from the same studio space.
- 1 Studio and production
- 2 Main host and stand-ins
- 3 Live with...
- 4 Co-presenters
- 5 Panellists
- 6 Format
- 7 Commercial break question
- 8 10th birthday
- 9 Theme tune
- 10 Controversies and criticisms
- 11 Popular culture references
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Studio and production
The programme was launched from Anglia TV Studios in Norwich. After the end of the contract with Granada, the programme was later broadcast from MTV Studios in Camden, North London before moving to Princess Production's studios on the third floor of Whiteley's Shopping Centre, Bayswater, London.
Main host and stand-ins
Matthew Wright has hosted the show since it began in 2000. When he goes on holiday or is ill, others fill in for him. Many of the regular panel members have hosted the show since its early stages such as James O'Brien, Janet Ellis, Kate Silverton, Henry Bonsu, Anne Diamond, Vanessa Feltz, Lowri Turner, Matt Allwright, Kaye Adams, Nihal Arthenayke, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Christopher Biggins and Andrew Castle. Occasionally new guest hosts are drafted in, Simon Hardeman, Jane Moore, Anneka Rice, Piers Morgan, Simon Mayo, Richard Bacon, Stephen Nolan, Coleen Nolan, Fiona Phillips, Donal MacIntyre and Penny Smith have hosted. Wright entered I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here in November 2013, leaving Richard Madeley to host the show for a month. Madeley has continued to guest host regularly, most recently, in January 2017.
Launched in June 2011 as The Wright Stuff Extra with Gabby Logan and then as Live With Gabby Logan, Live With... was a daytime magazine format seeking to build on the success of the main discussion show. It contained a mix of topical discussion, DIY, consumer items, relationship issues and medical matters. It was initially presented by former BBC Radio 5 Live presenter, Gabby Logan and aired from 11:10am to 12:10pm immediately after The Wright Stuff. From 26 September 2011, the show was rebranded as Live with Gabby with a new theme tune and titles. On 5 April 2012, the producers tweeted to announce that Logan was leaving Channel 5 because of her commitments to host the 2012 Olympics. The show aired its final edition with Logan as host on 6 April 2012. Its run continued on 10 April as Live with..., with a variety of guest hosts, including Kaye Adams, former TVS Coast To Coast anchor Fern Britton, Atomic Kitten member Jenny Frost and Myleene Klass. The show ended in mid-2012 after it fulfilled the episodes booked by Channel 5.
"Babe in the Booth"
It has been a feature of the show that there is a female co-host (originally a telephone operator) in a booth separated from the main presenter and guest area. This was because one of the original creators, a producer at Anglia TV was a big fan of the American TV comedy Frasier, and the role of Frasier's producer Roz Doyle. Since the redesign of the set in 2010, the booth has gone and the co-host now sits in the audience area. The current female co-host is Storm Huntley.
The following hosts have fulfilled this role since the start of the show:
"Man with the Mic"
A male presenter sits in the audience taking views on the various topics from them. He needs to be across the news stories of the day and co-ordinate live debate between the studio audience, celebrity panellists and viewers at home. His principal role is audience researcher, booker and wrangler, meeting the audience in the morning, preparing them for the show and firing a lively debate amongst them during commercial breaks. The first "Man with the Mic" was Matt Rudge who left to pursue a successful career as a writer and stand-up comic. The second longest-running "Man with the Mic" was Seyi Rhodes, who worked on the show for just over two years. He took over from Rudge in 2003. Rhodes now works as a Foreign Affairs Reporter on the Channel 4 documentary series Unreported World. He was named as one of Channel 4's "next generation of presenting voices" in 2008. Amol Rajan took over from Rhodes, but in turn left to join The Independent newspaper, later becoming its editor in 2013. Eric Johnson took over in September 2007 and held the position the longest. He is now a presenter on Sky News. The current "Man with the Mic" is Alex Davoodi.
Originally, the series had just two regular panelists joining Wright, who were journalists James O'Brien and Kate Silverton, and the series featured a studio audience but did not feature a special guest. After a couple of years on the series, O'Brien and Silverton left and were replaced by a two new panellists every week and a third panelist who would be a special guest for the day. There is always a male and female panel member as well the special guest.
Regular panel members have included TV presenters, journalists, comedians, politicians, actors, singers, entertainers and reality television stars. These have included, as of 2016:
TV critic Ian Hyland from the News of the World used to appear on the show every Monday with a review of the week's TV, taking the space of the guest panellist in the final segment of the show. He left when the show was extended to 90 minutes. Hyland returned in April 2010 in a Friday slot but was replaced by Sunday Mirror columnnist Kevin O'Sullivan later that year. When O'Sullivan is unavailable, the Daily Star's Mike Ward steps in.
The special guest is often on the show to promote something, like a new film, show or book. Guests on the show have included Morgan Spurlock, Michael Barrymore, Jane Asher, Terry Waite, Sarah Brightman, Martin Fry and Ian Smith (the week that Neighbours moved to Five).
The format is based upon the more traditional radio phone-in, featuring well-known guests discussing topical issues, and encouraging contributions from the studio and television audiences, text messages, e-mails and a phone vote. When the show was first broadcast it was 60 minutes but it was then extended to 90 minutes. On 10 January 2011, an extended format lasting 1 hour 45 minutes was launched. The show now starts at 9:15am and ends at 11:15am, and is transmitted as seven parts:
Commercial break question
A feature of the programme is a "multiple choice" or "true or false" quiz question posed before the commercial break, usually based on the next discussion topic. The answer is provided at the start of the next segment. If it's a true or false question, the answer is always "true". If a choice of three is given and the only can be only one, it is always one of the two extreme values (either the highest or lowest). If there is a chance that all three options can be correct, the answer is always "all three".
The programme celebrated its 10th birthday on 9 September 2010 with a special evening edition broadcast at 20:00 on Channel 5.
The programme has had three main theme tunes, the first similar to the original theme for the BBC's Saturday Kitchen Live. The theme tune has been modified on several occasions since the launch during revamps but until 2011 had remained similar to the original theme. In January 2011, a new upbeat theme tune was introduced in a retro jazzy 1960s style.
Controversies and criticisms
In 2002, the show was at the centre of a media scandal when Wright "accidentally" named John Leslie on air as the anonymous rapist mentioned in Ulrika Jonsson's autobiography. Since this time, Wright has been notably reticent about discussing issues that involve "unnamed" celebrities, such as the 2006 "football player and mobile phone" scandal – often remarking "given my previous record on certain issues, I feel more than a little nervous discussing this".
In May 2008, the show came under scrutiny from animal rights group PETA. The group claimed that the fishbowl containing Wright Stuff fish, Brad and Jen, was too small. On the 27 May show, Wright told viewers that the show's resident vet would look into the matter.
On 13 August 2008, Asian entrepreneur James Caan appeared on the programme and mocked Prince Charles wearing a kilt. Caan held up a copy of a UK daily newspaper, which showed the Prince wearing a kilt, and remarked that people should not take him too seriously because he was wearing a "skirt". He apologised later in the show, saying he had not meant to cause offence. Caan also offered to return to the show in future wearing a kilt, though he has yet to fulfil this promise.
On 4 October 2011, a day after the American Amanda Knox was acquitted of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, Wright sparked criticism by opening a discussion on whether viewers would consider "going back to Knox's room after meeting her in a bar". A spokesperson for the show said the debate – which was based on a long-standing media caricature of Knox as "Foxy Knoxy" – had been "handled extremely sensitively". Wright apologised a day later, saying he had "framed the debate in the wrong way".
On 6 December 2011, Wright joked about the murder on 5 December of Liam Aitchison, a 16-year-old boy, on the Scottish island of Lewis. During the show he put on a mock Scottish accent and said "there's been another murder", copying a phrase from detective show Taggart. He apologised for this but said to those organising a complaint to Ofcom that they should "grow up".
On 10 May 2012, it was reported the show was being investigated by Ofcom over a survey on the 26 April edition that asked viewers what the most offensive word is to describe someone with learning difficulties.
On 8 April 2015, the show received a prank call. While discussing a new play based on Jimmy Savile, a caller rang in on the pretence of being outraged by such a production, only to suddenly break into singing a WCW theme "American Males", presumably on the tenuous link that Savile himself had started out as a wrestler.
Popular culture references
In 2003, Wright appeared in the video for "Proper Crimbo" the Christmas single released from the team behind Bo' Selecta. In a spoof of the Michael Jackson video for "Thriller". In the video Wright took the place of the girl in the car while instead of morphing into a wolf the Michael Jackson character morphed into John Leslie who "wanted a word" with Matthew Wright a reference to Wright revealing the John Leslie scandal by mistake on his show.
In 2006, The Wright Stuff featured in the third episode of the second series of Extras. Both Wright and Lowri Turner were discussing the fictional incidents of the characters that had appeared in the press. Wright has since revealed on his show that he receives a small repeat fee every time the episode is shown. The show was also referred to in the BBC Three series Drop Dead Gorgeous, the character of Murray Priestman saying he liked to start his day by watching it.