Love him or loathe him, you can’t deny – Piers Morgan has made some cracking, conversation-starting telly over the past five years.
On Monday, he celebrated his fifth anniversary on Good Morning Britain with co-star Susanna Reid – and a five years it’s been.
From causing controversy with his opinions on veganism, gender neutrality and non-binary stars, to helping raise millions for charitable causes, Piers has been on one hell of a journey.
There’s also been a steady change in the ‘anti-woke’ presenter, who balanced journalism and on-air rows with opinionated rants and fluff pieces in a way that has never been matched.
Here’s a look back at some of the key moments of the years gone by – the good, the bad and the ugly, and a sure fire argument that Susanna deserves some kind of medal.
Piers’ friends in high places
Good Morning Britain producers have literally installed a clanging sound button ripe for pressing because Piers name drops so much.
But to be fair, he has a pretty impressive contacts list – and most journalists would die for it.
Most notable is his friendship with President Donald Trump who apparently called him ‘Champ’ in their phone calls.
In a massive scoop for the show, Piers actually managed to land one of the only UK interviews Trump gave during his entire time in office, playing in full later in the evening with snippets being intercut on GMB.
It’s something that rivals like BBC Breakfast could have only dreamed of.
Piers also hit back at protesters, telling them to ‘go and smoke wacky baccy’ if they didn’t like it.
He’s also talked about going on the lash with Meghan Markle, which may have ended up with her getting together with Prince Harry. He’s since been critical of her after feeling like she ‘dropped’ him.
Just this week, he also revealed that he recruited Stevie Wonder to propose to his now-wife, Celia Walden – which is a smooth move by anyone’s standards.
His partnership with Susanna Reid
Susanna has admitted herself that her patience has been tested by sitting next to Piers every day, but she gives as good as she gets when it comes to her co-star.
Forget breakfast TV, there’s not a presenting duo on television as a whole that will call out and yell at each other as often as these two. Would Ant and Dec be this blunt to one another in front of cameras? Doubt it.
But while most would put on a smiling face and continue presenting, their differing views balance out, even at time if that means being cut to commercial as they clash.
As a result, when they do join forces, which we’ll see in a bit… you better watch out, as they become a tag team that would scare off a WWE wrestler.
Susanna’s even admitted to wanting to punch him but – to date – has managed to keep that urge in check.
Piers’ unique take on feminism
Our head spins sometimes trying to figure out what side Piers is on when it comes to feminism.
He does consider himself a feminist, and joining forces with Susanna, Piers completely tore apart American Mens’ Rights activist Anthony Dream Johnson, who attempted to align himself with the host.
But on more than one occasion he’s taken aim at ‘rabid feminists who don’t like men’ – and what he considers feminism is where we get into tricky territory (and about a million online debates).
In 2019 said ‘radical’ feminists were ‘ruining what it meant to be a real man’, and while he believes in equality, has come under fire for chastising women like Jennifer Aniston, Madonna and Little Mix for posing naked in shoots.
His mouth soon got him in trouble though – and he was left writhing in agony live on air in 2018, when he took a birth simulator to ‘see what all the fuss was all about’ in the name of equality.
Suffice to say, he lost that argument… and we all relished in seeing the host writhe in agony. Now that’s what we call must watch TV.
Piers and gender identity politics
Piers’s views around gender, sexuality and identity has caused a lot of debate over the years – starting in 2018 when he claimed ‘it will one day be illegal to be a male’.
He later got into an argument around children being raised ‘gender neutral’, and mocked Sam Smith for coming out as non-binary.
As things got more out of hand, Piers eventually identified himself as a penguin, only to then have an argument with a man who identified as broccoli.
The absurdity of his declarations actually often work against his argument more than not, and while it’s hardly a comfortable watch it at the very least sparks conversation – especially if you find yourself continuing the debate online and learning in the process.
But while his gender identity politics have seen calls for him to be fired, he’s also been staunchly defensive of the gay community and drew the line at those who seeked to reassign their race.
He’s all up for a debate, but impropriety is a no-no when it comes to Piers, and on the odd occasion that we do align with his views, we’re glad that he’s forthright at shutting down the debate.
Piers vs The Government
The year 2020 will be remembered for a number of reasons – and Piers actually becoming the voice of reason amid the pandemic is certainly one of them.
He took no prisoners when it came to anyone on the programme – especially not government officials laughing in the face of the ever-increasing death toll.
It became must-watch TV, and while rival shows were given blanket statements and non-answers to questions, Piers wasn’t having it – and it made frustrating viewing when, being offered a simply ‘yes or no’ answer, politicians refused to state either way.
The government and those that represented them – health secretary Matt Hancock, care secretary Helen Whately and safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins to name a few – didn’t like it. Rather than giving answers, they shut down, and didn’t talk to him or the other GMB presenters for 202 days.
When Mr Hancock finally returned to GMB in November, Piers didn’t play soft to keep him on side – instead, he ended up having another barney with him live on air as the MP refused to discuss his potential pay rise.
You might not like his methods, but even the biggest Piers skeptic had to applaud his moxie – and one of the few times his pushy line of questioning provided some answers.
He also took aim overseas as well over the years, ending his friendship with Donald Trump and accusing his former pal of ‘political point scoring’ on a number of matters, and criticising his policy.
Trump eventually responded by unfollowing him on Twitter- so you know that it was a serious burn for him.
Helping charitable causes
In 2020 in particular, Piers has been using his platform for good – with the GMB team putting their weight behind great charitable causes.
It’s one thing to raise awareness, but it’s another to put your own money where your mouth is, and again, is never seen by his counterparts on other channels.
Piers and Susanna were one of the first leading the charge behind Sir Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising efforts, donating £10,000 of his own cash as he bonded with the cheeky 100-year-old, who ended up raising over £32million for the NHS in lockdown.
He’s also been a stringent supporter of six-year-old quadruple amputee Harmonie-Rose, a gymnast who fought back against meningitis and is now inspiring others with her fundraising. He donated £1,700 to her campaign and has frequently been celebrating her accomplishments since.
Piers also vowed to take on NHS workers car parking fines out of his own pocket amid the pandemic, and stuck to his word.
Opting out of a music career
Turns out Piers over the years has been trying to stealthily launch a music career – which would explain his judging stint on Britain’s Got Talent.
It’s definitely something to wake you up in the morning, let’s just say that.
He ended 2017 by threatening to release a Christmas album which, to his relief as well as ours, never actually materialised.
In 2018 much to Susanna’s horror, he again tried to show off his singing skills to some of the greatest musicians in the world with a mixed reaction.
After Nicole Scherzinger heard about his singing, he gave an on-air audition for Celebrity X Factor with Live and Let Die by Guns N Roses.
He’s also roped in his family for a version of Bohemian Rhapsody this year, so we’re not out of the woods just yet!
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
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