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It’s the women who are a bit scared of saying what they think that don’t last.
So I’d say the vital ingredient is honesty,’ says 50-year-old Carol, as she sits down with three of her colleagues to give YOU a unique insight into the making of the award-winning ITV daytime television show.
‘There have been a couple of occasions where people – I won’t name names, but the two people aren’t here – have revealed things on the show that they know full well were only for the back room.’ The subjects that arouse the most varied and passionate opinions are the ones that will make it through to the programme.
The show may sometimes look like a clash of egos, but Lynda insists that they wouldn’t have the freedom for open discussion if they didn’t like each other.
We meet half an hour after the four have come off air, still wearing the clothes that they wore on today’s programme.
Running on the adrenalin of live TV, they are as ‘gobby’ (as Lisa puts it) off air as they are on, and, having been at the London Television Studios since 8.30am (it’s now gone 2pm), they are hungry and may be in danger of becoming a little fractious.
Such is the programme’s success and frenetic pace – on air five days a week, every week, apart from short breaks at Christmas and in summer – that it’s taken us two years to find a date when four of the nine regular panellists could be in the same place at the same time.
Along with Carol we have assembled Kate Thornton, 37, Lisa Maxwell, 46, and Lynda Bellingham, 61, for a joint interview that is as opinionated and occasionally shocking as you might expect from four Loose Women (or, as they prefer to refer to each other, ‘Loose Ladies’).
These characteristics – all in glorious abundance in today’s panel of Loose Women regulars – are what makes ITV’s lunchtime chat show still hugely popular after more than a decade. Carol Mc Giffin is trying to identify the single most important characteristic common to all successful Loose Women.I talk about Beau all the time, but I wouldn’t want her to see it, any more than I would have wanted her to see me in The Bill.We are on air at lunchtime but it’s an adult conversation.’Carol is proud that she is the only member of the panel never to have cried on air (the closest she got was shortly after her mother died and she is, she says, ‘the hard-nosed bitch’ of the show).In the 11 years the former TV producer (and ex-wife of Chris Evans) has been a panellist on the programme that is now a national lunchtime institution, she has seen a lot of them come and go.‘I think for me the most important thing is to be true to myself. I don’t care about appealing to everyone, or saying something safe for fear of offending someone in the audience.