This Morning viewers were up in arms this morning after journalist Alice Beer said it was ‘flipping hilarious’ watching learner drivers being examined, as she stood outside a test centre.
Driving tests have been suspended throughout the UK since early January, but have restarted again today (April 22) in England and Wales.
Learners are under extra pressure to pass, as a backlog means it could be several months before they get another chance.
More than 450,000 tests have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) figures.
On today’s episode of This Morning, broadcaster Alice Beer headed down to a test centre in Essex to witness the first driving tests take place in months.
“Can I tell you though, if you ever want a morning’s entertainment, forget Netflix, pull up a chair and park it outside a driving test centre,” she said as she stood opposite the main gate to the site.
“Because we’ve had it all this morning – we’ve had the kangarooing, we’ve had somebody nearly clip the gates as they came out on their test.
“We’ve had braking, honestly I can’t tell you, it’s been a white-knuckle ride just watching it, but it is flipping hilarious.
“It’s really good value for money.”
Host Philip Schofield then commented on a learner’s driving as they pulled out of the test site in the background.
“Nice indicating going on behind you there – that’s what you’ve got to remember, don’t forget your indication – well done,” he said.
“So many of them are not indicating, it’s ridiculous,” Alice added.
The team were aware of how much was riding on the learners passing their test, with Philip adding if they failed it could take ‘17 weeks’ before they’d be able to re-sit due to the backlog.
“As if they’re not nervous enough, here we are putting them on national television,” host Rochelle Humes quipped.
Many viewers were seemingly unhappy with the segment, and took to social media to vent their anger.
“Alice laughing at these people trying to learn how to drive.. how hilarious. I wish I could have watched you get your test @_alicebeer to laugh at you!,” one person said on Twitter.
“As if taking your driving test wasn’t bad enough without having Alice Beer and telly cameras standing right in the way as you pull out of the centre,” added a second.
A third commented: “Taking your driving test is bad enough. Imagine turning up and Alice Beer is there.”
While a fourth tweeted: “As if taking a driving test wasn’t stressful enough, having Alice Beer and the tv cameras outside filming you is going to freak them out!”
“Nice to see you are mocking them. Like they ain’t nervous already that you are laughing at them. It isn’t a laughing matter at all,” a fifth person wrote.
The DVSA has said it is offering an additional 2,500 car tests per month by utilising weekends and bank holidays.
Up to 300 new examiners are also being recruited to help reduce the backlog.
The most common reasons for failing include not looking properly at a junction (22%), not using mirrors correctly when changing lane or direction (17%), and not moving off safely (8%).
Host Philip Schofield did eventually wish the learner drivers good luck, saying: “Good luck to everyone who is taking a test today.
“it’s nerve-wracking at the best of times. I passed mine first time though!”
This Morning is broadcast every weekday morning from 10am, and can be watched on catch-up on the ITV Hub.