Reports claim that the married couple, whose TV partnership has spanned 21 years, will be pursuing other projects sooner rather than later. However it is believed that Judy, now in her 77th year, is eager to retire.
The “mutual decision” follows months of speculation, after ‘Richard and Judy’s New Position’ only managed to attract a dismal 10,000 viewers during its launch episode. The final straw occurred yesterday when official figures showed that only 200 viewers tuned into their afternoon show. Of these it is believed twenty were merely ‘flicking past’ whilst trying to find ‘Passport Patrol’ on Sky Channel 112 whilst approximately eighty viewers in the Croydon area claimed to be stuck on the show due to a faulty freeview box.
Reflecting on the show the couple, who most famously presented ITV’s This Morning, said: “Some you win, some you lose”. They will present their final show on July 3, just a year after they signed to UKTV.
Madeley and Finnegan could have continued fronting the show until December, but a break clause in their contract has allowed them to cease production in the summer. It has been rumoured that the show has found it increasingly difficult to attract big name celebrities. Initially stars such as Paul Daniels and Roland Rivron were eager to participate believing that the hosts would attract a large audience. However in recent weeks guests have been limited to minor celebrities such as Chris Bartram winner of the Kent Senior Table Tennis Championship and Sir Michael Neubert who unsuccessfully stood as the Conservative candidate for Romford in the 1997 General Election.
In a statement, Watch said: “Ratings had not been in line with expectations. We thank the team for their involvement over the last 8 months and wish them all the best in their broadcasting futures though we firmly believe that Judy is now considering retirement”
Madeley said: “When we started we said we wanted to get ahead of the curve, as British television inevitably goes digital. It was a really worthwhile experiment and we don’t regret it at all. We promise our fans that we will be back on TV in the autumn. We are now presently in talks with other media partners about how to continue the hugely successful Book Club beyond the Watch channel”.
Last month, Richard and Judy hosted the Galaxy British Book Awards.
Speaking at the awards, hugging his elderly wife Madeley said that the couple have been offered various different projects in recent weeks: “We have even been asked to take part in a Pro-Celebrity Judo tournament”
Richard continued: “We will be doing some stuff together and most probably some stuff apart.”
Judy added: “I really want to retire now”