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'It's like a positive power hour and it's driven by what I like to call the heroes and heart warmers'

We need some positivity on our telly screens right now and for that look no further than The Steph Show - broadcast live from Steph McGovern's living room. The presenter tells Georgia Humphreys why she decided to let cameras into her house

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Home work: Steph McGovern

Home work: Steph McGovern

The set up in her living room

The set up in her living room

Home work: Steph McGovern

The Steph Show was meant to be made in front of a live audience in a studio in Leeds. But then the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK - and a decision was made to film the new daily programme live from presenter Steph McGovern's Yorkshire home instead.

"I just felt like we either postpone the show, because we've got to keep everyone safe, or we do it from my front room," reasons the Middlesbrough-born journalist, best known for her time as a BBC Breakfast presenter (she announced she was leaving last year).

"If you'd asked me six months ago, 'How would you feel about doing a show from your front room?' I'd have said, 'No way!' But now I'm like, 'Yes way!', because I want to get on air."

It's proved to be a good call. Since the series started airing on Channel 4 on March 30, the response on Twitter seems to be hugely positive.

So far, celebrity guests who have joined her on the show - via digital platforms like Skype - include TV personality Keith Lemon (and his mother), Strictly star Anton du Beke, comedians Matt Lucas and Tom Allen and presenter Stacey Dooley (whose boyfriend, Strictly's Kevin Clifton, made an unexpected appearance during the interview).

We also see McGovern chat to "normal" people across the country about issues we are currently facing.

For example, the first episode featured her finding out how home schooling is going for a Dundee family with 10 children.

Another aim of the feelgood show is to give viewers tips and advice to help them through these uncertain times of self-isolating.

"My premise of it is it's like a positive power hour - which I like saying in my accent as well," quips McGovern, who gave birth to her daughter last November (her first child with her girlfriend, whose identity she protects).

"It's really driven by what I like to call the heroes and heart warmers. They're the people out there doing stuff where you're like, 'Oh my god, they're an ordinary person to the world, yet they're doing really cool stuff, they're helping people or they're doing something to try and bring a bit of light relief to what's going on'.

"I'd like to think within the hour we're going to inspire people a bit as well, to go, 'They're just like me, and they're doing something lovely, I wanna do that'. I want ideas to come from the show, as well as having a laugh and all that."

In the opening moments of the first episode, McGovern, who specialises in economic and business news, showed viewers around the make-shift studio in her front room, which contains cameras but no operators.

On how she was preparing for the show airing, she jokes: "I've never cleaned so much in all my life!"

She was a bit unsure about letting viewers have a glimpse into her home life, she admits.

"I am a very private person in terms of my family and things like that. I don't really talk about who they are or whatever, because I want to protect them, because I'm the media person, and this is my life, on telly."

She adds: "It's one room in my house and it's no different really, I imagine, to anyone else who has got a kitchen and who has got a sofa and a few succulent plants, that I'm struggling to keep alive.

"I don't have some massive, flashy house; hopefully people will see it and go 'Oh, that looks a bit like mine!'"

Did her loved ones think she was crazy for deciding to do The Steph Show in this way?

"They've known I'm crazy all my life," retorts the bubbly star, chuckling.

"Even when I was on maternity leave and this opportunity came along, I was like, 'Right, I'm gonna launch my own show!' And they were like, 'What?! You're on maternity leave!'

"They're not surprised any more, if that makes sense, because I'm always doing things, all the time.

"The pace of my life compared to my family's is at 100 miles an hour and they're used to that.

"They're dead supportive, I'm dead lucky. My family and friends are lush."

She notes how, having been at home on maternity leave the last five months, she has learnt how important it is to keep communicating with people - something which is relevant as the public self-isolate and socially distance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"You've got to keep talking to people while you're looking after a baby, otherwise you're just in this monotonous pattern every day, and not having that human interaction - and I think everybody needs a bit of interaction every day.

"So, I've been ringing my best mates every day, having a chat with them. I mean, we're running out of chat, because nothing's happening."

Discussing the impact of Covid-19 further, she suggests it's "too early to make any assessment on what it might mean for the TV industry".

"I think the TV industry is very good at being creative, so many creative people," she follows.

"I hope it makes just more people feel that they can be creative and maybe make us a bit more experimental, but it's too hard to assess yet what impact it's going to have. I'm not thinking like that at the moment."

But she is a fan of how entertainment - like online gigs - are being streamed on social media.

"It's really great that stuff is being brought into people's homes, that they might not have ever had the chance to see, because there are a lot stuck at home anyway," she says.

"So, it's nice that these comedy gigs are still happening online, or theatre productions; they're trying to do them online as well. I think that's really nice. It feels more inclusive, doesn't it?"

One thing's for sure: we're lucky to have people like McGovern bringing us telly we can all enjoy too.

Watch The Steph Show daily at midday on Channel 4

Belfast Telegraph