Susanna Reid has described the abuse she has received online as “toxic and horrible” but said Good Morning Britain has a “serious responsibility” to its viewers during the coronavirus crisis.
The TV star, who presents the ITV show with Piers Morgan, said she tries to be as well-prepared as possible and compares live broadcasting to her time on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013, when she came second with professional partner Kevin Clifton.
She told the Mail On Sunday’s You magazine: “The abuse is so toxic and horrible, but you can’t be afraid of what people are going to say about you.
“Obviously there are moments when I’m upset or I beat myself up about getting something wrong – and there are things that frighten me – but we do a good job and we enjoy what we do. I have moments of self-doubt, but I’ve been doing this a long time now.”
She added: “If you go out on the dancefloor on Saturday night thinking about the bit in your 30 seconds that you’ve never quite got on top of, then you’re going to make mistakes.
“You need to think: ‘I’ve done the prep, let’s just go out and perform.’”
Discussing her working relationship with Morgan, she said: “Piers is someone who is good to work with. He is stimulating and can be a challenge and difficult, but he also pushes all the same buttons in me that he does people we interview.
“We have had a serious responsibility during Covid, because you want to make sure people are kept up to date with everything, but also you want people to feel hopeful. You want to spark debate.
“So it’s not just a neutral, deadpan way of presenting the news. It’s fully engaged.
“You’ve got to be prepared to make loads of mistakes and not be crushed by them.
“You’ve just got to go: ‘I got that wrong. Apologies, I didn’t mean to say that.’
“If you’re a step ahead of it all, the audience is really confident in you.”
Reid said she was not concerned about turning 50 last month, saying: “Age is not an issue any more.
“There is no longer a cut-off point for women in my job. Fifty used to be a looming date on the horizon where you thought: ‘How much longer might I last?’ I don’t think that’s the case now.
“Sophie Raworth rang me yesterday to wish me happy birthday. I went to school with her little sister.
“There’s Emily Maitlis and Fiona Bruce and Kirsty Wark. It isn’t an issue, so it doesn’t hold fear.
She added: “I don’t feel like I’m in a battle. I’ve always joked that ageing is a blessing and I genuinely feel it. Especially over the past year, when things have been so dreadful.”
However Reid said she is facing the prospect of all her children leaving home, which is “really hard”.
Her oldest son Sam, 18, left for university last year and she is aware Finn, 16, and Jack, 15, will soon follow.
She said: “Like all of them, he’s been at home a lot since starting university. We discussed whether he should defer for a year but I thought: ‘He’s ready to go.’
“I did obviously cry when we dropped him off. And it’s an emotional time. The thing I found even more emotional was realising he’s on a string of three. When he goes, the next one goes, then the next one.
“I thought: ‘This is the start of three or four years with all my ducklings leaving, then there’s going to be the empty nest.’ I find that really hard.”