Gemma Atkinson defends Steph’s Packed Lunch as show brutally axed by Channel 410/20/2023
Gemma Atkinson’s daughter recognises her on TV
Gemma Atkinson stepped in to defend Steph’s Packed Lunch after discovering that Channel 4 had made the “difficult decision” not to renew host Steph McGovern’s contract.
Reminiscing over her own frequent appearances on the show, she lamented to her 1.9 million Instagram followers that she was “sad to hear that @packedlunchc4 is ending this year”.
“Genuinely THE NICEST crew and team to work with and in my opinion a bloody great show!” the 38-year-old added.
“It had everything a daytime show should have. So proud of the whole team and Steph for getting the show to where it was from starting in lockdown in her kitchen. Bravo team!”
She continued: “Thank you for allowing me to play a small part in such a wonderful show and giving me the chance to do live TV so many times. I’ve loved it!”
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Gemma then shared a nostalgic video clip of daughter Mia watching at home and repeatedly pointing to the screen, excitedly exclaiming: “There’s Mummy! That’s Mummy!”
She joked that not only had she enjoyed the show, but so had her child, quipping: “Even when she was 18 months, she had good taste!
“Forever grateful to Steph and the team,” she reminisced.
Last year on the show, Gemma had tearfully told the world of her daughter’s traumatic birth via emergency C-section, which had subsequently left her haemorrhaging blood and close to death.
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She revealed that although she felt Mia was “the best thing that ever happened” to her, she also went through grief, feeling she’d failed as a mum over the birthing difficulties.
It was also while on the show that she confided she was ready to have a baby brother or sister for Mia after her traumatic 2019 birth – and sure enough, son Thiago arrived this summer.
Meanwhile, Packed Lunch, which had regularly featured celebrity guests such as Denise Van Outen and Strictly judge Anton du Beke, as well as a host of showbiz interviews and consumer advice pieces, had been hugely popular among viewers.
It became a rival to ITV’s Loose Women, despite its humble beginnings, broadcasting direct from Steph’s living room due to the pandemic.
The show subsequently moved to a studio in Leeds, and Channel 4 has thanked Steph for “creating a show that kickstarted our growth in the north of England”.
More than three years later, the channel has announced it’s all over, despite stressing in a statement it was “incredibly proud” and “grateful” to Steph for her time on air.
The statement read: “Steph has not only made the nation’s lunchtimes more entertaining and brilliantly reflected the views and preoccupations of the country, but the show has also been an outstanding springboard for developing local talent behind the scenes.
“However, with audience habits changing quicker than ever, we have to make difficult decisions about which programmes to invest in to best drive our digital-first strategy, and we have decided not to recommission Steph’s Packed Lunch when its existing production contract ends in December 2023.”
A spokesperson for Steph’s production companies, Expectation and Can Can, explained that they were “very disappointed” they “don’t get to continue brightening up 12-2 on Channel 4”.
“Leeds didn’t have a live television community four years ago and it’s been a privilege to build a team which boasts some of the brightest, sharpest TV producers in the country,” the statement read.
The show has vowed to reinvest the money currently spent on Steph’s show into another one outside of London, rather than focusing solely on the capital.
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