Daytime TV Interviews Judith Woods of Loose Women

Judith Woods sparkled during her interview and talked about a variety of topics including clothing, Loose Women and Jigsaw frocks. Judith’s debut aws “a bit choppy” according to some critics, but very warm and personal to most.

Judith Woods - Loose Women
Judith Woods, centre, with Coleen Nolan and Jamelia. ‘You needed more warmth; at times you were a little bit clipped,’ Judith was told Photo: Ken McKay/ITV

I’d like to begin this account of my debut on live television with a heartfelt apology. Not just for putting my leg on the table (it was in context; still, what was I thinking?) but for all those times I’ve sat at home and muttered the following shameful words.

To whit: “I know that woman on screen is a highly competent news or weather or light entertainment professional and I ought to be keenly listening to what she’s saying, but what on earth is she wearing?”

Because, actually, choosing a frock or a jacket or even a statement necklace for daytime telly is a trauma. A trauma, I tell you!

For, after a decade sitting on the sofa shouting at the TV, I had been given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pit my wits against the queens of daytime television – the ladies of Loose Women.

The brief from the programme-makers I would be joining for a day informed me I should “dress for lunch with the ladies, so smart/casual”. Well, for a communal scamper to Pret à Manger I’d put on a coat. Possibly. Who, these days, has time for any more?

Loose Women, that’s who. So, I bought a Jigsaw frock in the sale, black with a lace collar. It looked pleasingly Audrey Hepburn in the fitting room, but turned out to be The Wrong Dress Entirely, as I discovered after I’d come off air (more of which later). Well, technically I was never on air: my bit was filmed “as live”, which is to say in front of a studio audience, but not the nation.

At this point I should point out that my broadcasting record is, at best, lacklustre. Many years ago, I was a reporter on a BBC2 kids’ consumer show called Short Change, which won a BAFTA, transferred to BBC1 and then, ahem, “let me go” as it was “going in a different direction” (for which read: “cooler”).

Then there was the radio breakfast show in Scotland, where the chemistry between my co-host and me turned out to be nuclear fission rather than fusion. When I observed, on air, that he was “a bloated tick on the belly of broadcasting”, he responded, “Shut up, you silly cow,” and unplugged my microphone. Fair enough, really.

Since then, I’ve steered clear of live broadcasting – apart from Woman’s Hour, which you can do in your onesie if you need to. So the prospect of glamming up for daytime telly was a daunting one.

ITV’s Loose Women, screened every weekday at 12.30pm, has around a million loyal viewers who tune in to see its panel – drawn from a pool of women with lots of life experience and the attitude to match, plus a celebrity guest or two – discuss the serious, frivolous and thought-provoking issues of the day.

When I was at home with each of my young children, I watched the show avidly: it was like having lunch with sparky friends without having to leave the sofa. The idea, then, of appearing on the programme was slightly surreal and nerve-wracking.

When I arrive at the studios on London’s South Bank, I find that, pleasingly, I have been allocated my own dressing room. Sadly, I have not been provided with Krug, white orchids or any of the other items on my backstage rider. But it is nice to have my own loo.

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Judith Woods is a regular writer for the Telegraph. ‘Loose Women’ broadcasts on ITV, weekdays at 12.30pm. Be sure to cathc it!