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WITH Holly Willoughby sensationally quitting This Morning after 14 years in the role, producers have been scrambling to find a replacement.
Plenty of famous names were thrown into the ring: existing presenters Alison Hammond, Josie Gibson and Rochelle Humes, and most recently, Abbey Clancy.
But according to body language expert Judi James, Storm Huntley is the right woman to fill “Disney Princess Holly’s” shoes.
The 36-year-old co-host of Channel 5's Jeremy Vine is now odds-on at 1-2 with bookmaker Coral to become the next permanent presenter on This Morning.
“Storm’s body language and her presenting style has evolved in an upward trajectory over the years, gradually but steadily unfurling a talent for sole hosting,” Judi says.
“She has an appetite for a debate with strong opinions of her own, and an ability to take control in front of the cameras without looking bossy or pushy.”
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According to Judi, Storm’s keenness to “roll up her sleeves to get stuck into a debate that Holly might have been eager to diffuse” is a big selling point of her presenting style.
“She would bring in a new age of viewers who expect to see a woman taking the lead and being assertive,” the expert explains.
Bishopbriggs-born Storm started her professional journey doing unpaid work experience for BBC Scotland, where she later found work as a researcher.
She then moved to STV Glasgow in 2014 as a weather presenter, and a year later landed work on CBeebies.
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Since 2015, Storm has worked on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine, which replaced The Wright Stuff in 2018, co-hosting the morning show’s live phone-in debates.
“The air of purity and innocence has now gone from This Morning,” Judi says.
“When Disney Princess Holly quit under the most horrible circumstances it should be the cue for a massive re-branding.
“Using women like Storm who are able to tackle subjects head-on and keep us glued to the TV, rather than sticking to the tired ‘women as a sidekick’ or ‘women as your cuddly hug of a sister’ format.”
Holly, 42, quit her permanent This Morning presenting role after 14 years earlier this month, citing that she had to "make the decision for her family".
Judi claims that Storm’s body language shows she won’t adopt Holly’s “truly scrumptious style of presenting” or be “relentlessly warm and nice”.
“Storm’s dance routine with Jeremy Vine suggests a totally different energy and dynamic,” she explains.
“Legs akimbo, she rips into the dance with no apparent desire to look elegant.
“She can clearly release her inner hen night at the drop of a hat, just as she is also able to release her serious side as she takes on controversial subjects.”
Judi added that Storm’s lack of “desire to be likeable” will resonate with This Morning viewers.
“Her one-to-ones straight to camera reveal facial expressions and micro-gestures that hint at an inner fire and steel,” she says.
“Her eyes pin the camera and her raised brows suggest dominance and confidence.
“Her lower jaw juts as she speaks, which is a sign of stubbornness and even a keenness for a lively debate.
“She can chair a panel with authority, almost rolling up her sleeves to get stuck into a debate that Holly might have been eager to diffuse.”
In her newsy slot on Jeremy Vine every morning, Storm’s facial expressions make her an open book, according to Judi.
The presenter’s Instagram account is very family orientated, featuring her husband, singer Kerr Okan, and their one-year-old son, Otis.
“In terms of a new dynamic, Storm looks as though she would bring edge and a sense of excitement to a format that is normally more like a comfortable warm foot spa,” Judi says.
“She could make you want to watch at a more active level, rather than as background while you’re sorting the washing out of the tumble-drier.
“But only if producers change the format to allow her more challenging and edgy presence alongside her capacity for humour.
“She would bring in a new age of viewers who expect to see a woman taking the lead and being assertive.”
Bookies tipped the wife of ex-footballer Peter Crouch, Abbey Clancey, to replace Holly yesterday.
But the 37-year-old’s odds dropped 1-6 as Storm overtook the model as a fan favourite.
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“Abbey’s style might suit Loose Women more,” Judi says.
“And it might be time for a proper, professional presenter with a history of experience in a wide range of shows, including tackling some of the more serious issues straight on to camera, like Storm.”
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