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Edgy dabs

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Edgy dabs are like the cancer of real life – Stoner Stanley

Edgy Wax asked to fill morning TV gap

Since the defection of Judy Finnigan, morning television has been missing a matriarch. As Finnigan’s replacements founder on the rocks of viewer apathy, the BBC is to parachute an unlikely replacement into the breach: Ruby Wax.

The irreverent US comedian is to front an hour-long morning programme on BBC1 from January – billed as being a “survival guide to the 21st century”. It is hoped she will bring some of her trademark edgy style to the usually bland mix of lifestyle and celebrity formats of daytime television.

Jane Lush, the BBC’s head of daytime TV, who has spearheaded such successes as The Weakest Link quiz and the soap opera Doctors, said that Wax would not be asked to tone down her act too much.

“Everyone else pigeonholes daytime. I try not to think there are any boundaries,” she said. “I like to think we can genuinely surprise people, and not think daytime audiences are different to other times. People are people.”

Ms Lush wants Wax to remain as true to her style as possible within the boundaries of taste and decency. “There is no reason to tone anything down. Different is good. Bland is bad. Ruby is a star. We will do whatever is appropriate, but the whole point is we want Ruby. We don’t want bland Ruby. We think she will be a treat for viewers.”

The start of Wax’s show will open a battle with ITV1’s troubled This Morning. ITV executives privately admit that This Morning is on the skids: some believe it will be dropped when it comes to the end of its run next summer.

This Morning has struggled since losing its presenters Richard Madeley and Finnigan. They left in July to launch an afternoon programme on Channel 4.

A revamped This Morning was first fronted by the 1960s icon Twiggy, but she was not a success and was dropped a few weeks later. The present team – Fern Britton, Colleen Nolan and John Leslie – have an audience of about 1m, but it is almost half that of their predecessors, whose transfer to Channel 4 has not got off to a particularly good start either.

Wax’s show, which will be filmed in front of an audience, will have a different theme each day. The show is being made by Princess Productions, the company behind Mel and Sue’s Light Lunch and headed by Sebastian Scott, the launch editor of the Channel 4’s Big Breakfast.

The presenter – best known for her frank late-night discussion shows and her mocking interviews with international figures such as Imelda Marcos and Hugh Hefner – put herself forward for the new slot.

<p>As Judy Finnigan's replacements founder on the rocks of viewer apathy, the BBC is to parachute an unlikely replacement into the breach: Ruby Wax. </p>