ITV defends Piers Morgan’s ‘light-hearted horseplay’ after he punches Susannah Reid live on air.

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The producers of Good Morning Britain have once again faced a social media firestorm when show host Piers Morgan punched his colleague in the stomach for quipping that he was as masculine as a pink tampon applicator.

Executive Producer Simon Williams told reporters that their star presenter was a jocular character who frequently engaged his colleague in ‘friendly banter, both verbal and physical.”

He went on, “They have that kind of chemistry. Piers likes to get people riled up by his tweets and Susannah loves to roll her eyes at the outrageous comments of her old fogey colleague.

“They each have a role. Piers will say something guaranteed to send the PC brigade into a tailspin and she inches away from him in barely concealed disgust before going to her changing room and crying her eyes out.

“Occasionally their sparring of wits turns to friendly slapstick like when he chased her around the studio with a spider or he followed her into the toilet, grabbed her by the throat and told her never to interrupt him again.”

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Mr Williams denied that they encouraged sexist behaviour to create media buzz or that the relationship between the two presenters was symptomatic of entrenched misogyny in broadcasting.

“Nonsense,” he said.

“They are both here on merit. She is here because she is an experienced BBC veteran who has been involved in breakfast broadcasting since the nineties. He is here because he can get 10,000 people to retweet our clips just so they can call him a bellend. So naturally, they are seen as equals.

“Except he’s older so, you know, we pay him more.”