Susanna Reid My Week: My big Christmas birthday, the sparkle of Strictly — and my anniversary with Shouty

Susanna Reid
·3-min read
 (Dave Benett)
(Dave Benett)

It’s prep day for Monday’s show — picking over the interviews on The Andrew Marr Show, reading the papers and scrutinising briefs on our guests. But I’m distracted by the arrival of Christmas decorations on Instagram. I feel Grinchy. Mine usually don’t appear until after my birthday next week. I understand the need to light some candles in the gloom, but I’m trying to eke out the anticipation. The birthday is a big one too — I’ll be 50 and before Covid, planned a blow out in Ibiza. This year had other ideas and now the celebrations will be muted. However, one anniversary we’ve been marking over the past week is the fifth year of my partnership with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain. We have a combative relationship so the producer gave us Punch and Judy dolls. My thoughts hark back to 2015 when my editor told me Piers was going to be partnering me on the ITV breakfast sofa and asked him, in unbroadcastable terms, if he had lost his mind. Since then we’ve had record ratings, received two Bafta nominations, and over the weekend Piers won GQ Magazine’s TV personality of the year. “Well done Shouty,” I text him. “Thanks Pouty,” he replies, using nicknames a viewer once labelled us as an insult. They’ve stuck. One thing working with Piers has given me is a very thick skin.

I arrive at work at 4.30am to discover that Christmas has hit the studio. My “no Christmas til after my birthday” resolve cracks and I order a tree. One of our team, Ranvir Singh, is wowing on Strictly Come Dancing. It brings back memories of 2013 when I was part of the show. This morning, the winner of that year is a guest —Abbey Clancy. What was her secret? “I never stopped enjoying it,” she says. That’s my advice for Ranvir too. It’s a brief moment of sparkle. Enjoy every second.

After ministers boycotted our programme for 201 days, the departure of Dominic Cummings from No 10 means we are now seeing one daily. This morning is the first appearance of Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove since April when he praised the show for holding the Government to account. That was the last we saw of him. Today we are challenging him on the Scotch Egg Rule. Tier 2 pubs are allowed to serve alcohol with a substantial meal but does a scotch egg qualify? He says no. Within a few hours he has changed his mind.

One of the thrills of my job is that we break news to viewers. This morning we shared that the UK approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Health Secretary Matt Hancock agreed to take the vaccine live on air if it would help encourage uptake. The Christmas tree gets covered in decorations when I get home.

I have been doing the edits on a disturbing documentary about a notorious female prisoner on death row — Darlie Routier. But my heart is lifted when I receive a gift from one of my favourite people. Henry Fraser was paralysed from the shoulders down aged 17. He has emerged as a talented mouth artist and his book Hand to Mouth lifts the soul. Being a journalist means encountering those who may be the worst of humanity, and those who are very definitely the best.

Susanna co-presents Good Morning Britain on ITV, Monday to Thursday. Death Row’s Women with Susanna Reid will be on ITV at 9pm, December 10