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Dan Walker quits the BBC: Breakfast host is leaving after six years to present Channel 5 news

Dan Walker quits the BBC: Breakfast host is leaving after six years to present Channel 5 news 2

Dan Walker is the latest on-air star to ditch the BBC as he announced he was joining Channel 5 News.

The Breakfast presenter revealed on Monday he was leaving the Corporation after six years to be lead anchor at the ITN channel.

The 45-year-old said he ‘can’t wait to get stuck into the daily news show’, adding ‘I love their ideas and creativity’.

Walker will walk away from his £295,000-295,999 a year role at the BBC, which saw him covering news and sports programmes.

He follows a string of huge names to ditch the Beeb recently – including Jon Sopel, Emily Maitlis and Andrew Marr – which has sparked fears of a mass exodus of talent.

His former Breakfast co-star Louise Minchin also left last year as she looked to spent more quality time with her family.

Dan Walker is the latest on-air star to ditch the BBC as he announced he was joining Channel 5 News. He is pictured on BBC Breakfast

Dan Walker is the latest on-air star to ditch the BBC as he announced he was joining Channel 5 News. He is pictured on BBC Breakfast

Claudia-Liza Vanderpuije

Sian Williams

Walker will be joining Claudia-Liza Vanderpuije (left) and replacing Sian Williams (right)

The minister’s son who doesn’t work Sundays … who is Dan Walker?

Dan Walker is the son of a minister and was born in Crawley, Sussex.

He was educated in the town before heading north to Sheffield, where he got a BA in history and MA in journalism from the university.

His news career started at Hallam FM in the Steel City before he moved to Manchester’s Key 103 radio.

But he dipped his toe in TV with Grenada then North West Tonight at the BBC. He was also able to keep his love of sport alive, covering Football Focus from 2009, as well as multi football tournaments and other sports.

But he became a household name for many when he joined Breakfast in 2016, taking over from Bill Turnbull.

He had cohosted it with Louise Minchin from Monday to Wednesday until last year when she stepped down.

Walker is married to Sarah, who he met at university and with whom he has three children. He is a practising Christian and does not work on Sundays.

The journalist shared a video on Twitter announcing the news on Monday afternoon, saying: ‘I have a little bit of news for you.

‘In the next few weeks I’m going to be leaving BBC Breakfast and moving to 5News and to Channel 5.

‘I’m really excited but this has also been a massive decision for me because I love BBC Breakfast. I love working alongside Sally and I love the team there.

‘But Channel 5 came with big ambitions, with big plans and I don’t think opportunities like this come around very often and I can’t wait.

‘I’ve also had the incredible privilege of working on some iconic programmes over the last few years, both at the BBC and elsewhere.

‘What I love about this deal is I not only get to present the news but also host a whole range of new programmes right across the channel.

‘And what an honour to step into the shoes of Sian Williams. I know how popular she is with both the team and the audience.

He said: ‘All I can say is I will do my very best to maintain her incredibly high standards.’

Walker added in a statement: ‘I can’t wait to get stuck into the daily news show, but I am also excited about making some great new TV for Channel 5.

‘I love their ideas and creativity and it’s rare to get an opportunity like this where paths and ambitions meet. The chance to do something different was too good to turn down.’

Outgoing Williams also sent a ‘warm welcome’ to the presenter, but it was poste don Twitter in horrendous quality and the voice of the producer could be heard.

She said: ‘Dan Walker, welcome to your new home. I know what it’s like to move from the BBC Breakfast sofa to the Channel 5 newsroom.’

She added: ‘I absolutely loved it and I think you will too. Have fun and good luck.’

The Breakfast presenter revealed on Monday he was leaving the Corporation after six years to be the ITN channel's lead anchor. He is pictured with Nadiya Bychkova at a fundraiser last month

The Breakfast presenter revealed on Monday he was leaving the Corporation after six years to be the ITN channel’s lead anchor. He is pictured with Nadiya Bychkova at a fundraiser last month

Walker is married to Sarah, who he met at university and with whom he has three children. He is a practising Christian and does not work on Sundays

Walker is married to Sarah, who he met at university and with whom he has three children. He is a practising Christian and does not work on Sundays

Williams will step down from 5News – where she has been since 2016 – but will stay with the channel for other shows.

Walker will be the face of the revamped 5pm current affairs programme alongside Claudia-Liza Vanderpuije.

But he will also have scope to cover non-news programmes for the channel, which he also did for the BBC with shows such as Football Focus.

Walker is the son of a minister and was born in Crawley, Sussex, and as a practising Christian he does not work on Sundays.

He was educated in the town before heading north to Sheffield, where he got a BA in history and MA in journalism from the university.

His news career started at Hallam FM in the Steel City before he moved to Manchester’s Key 103 radio.

But he first dipped his toe in television with Grenada then North West Tonight at the BBC.

He was also able to keep his love of sport alive, covering Football Focus from 2009, as well as multi football tournaments and other sports.

But he became a household name for many when he joined Breakfast in 2016, taking over from Bill Turnbull.

He had co-hosted it with Louise Minchin from Monday to Wednesday until last year when she stepped down.

Walker is married to Sarah, who he met at university and with whom he has three children. He is a practising Christian and does not work on Sundays.

Editor of 5 News Cait FitzSimons said: ‘I’m hugely excited about Dan’s decision to join 5 News.

‘We pride ourselves on the deep connection we have with our viewers across the country, and this is a key strength of Dan’s, helping secure his place as one of Britain’s best and most popular broadcasters.

‘I look forward to working with him to build on the success of our new hour-long programme and finding more ways to tell stories that touch viewers’ lives across the nation.’

Daniel Pearl, Commissioning Editor, Unscripted, at Channel 5, said: ‘We’re delighted that Dan Walker is joining the fantastic team at 5 News, as an anchor he will be instrumental in the success of Channel 5’s News output as it continues to grow and evolve.’

Director of Content for Paramount UK Ben Frow added: ‘Dan Walker joining the Channel shows that Channel 5 attracts leading talent.

‘Dan is a renowned broadcaster and we’re looking forward to seeing him not just fronting 5 News but bringing his experience to programming across Channel 5 as we continue to develop and grow our output.’

It comes amid a rapid ‘brain drain’ from the BBC in the last few months as a string of on-air talent has left for its rivals.

BBC veterans Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel left the BBC for Global, the owners of LBC, to front a new show and a podcast

BBC veterans Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel left the BBC for Global, the owners of LBC, to front a new show and a podcast

Earlier this year Andrew Marr also left to present new radio shows on LBC and Classic FM

Earlier this year Andrew Marr also left to present new radio shows on LBC and Classic FM

Maitlis, Sopel and Marr jumped ship for LBC in a golden handcuffs deal expected to earn them huge pay rises.

The journalists caused disarray at Broadcasting House after deciding to join Global, which is also home to Nick Ferrari, Shelagh Fogarty and James O’Brien.

Maitlis, who hosted Newsnight, had a series of impartiality complaints against her because of her tweets and on-air comments about the pandemic.

Marr is said to have admitted he was prompted to leave the BBC because of his desire to speak freely on major issues, including climate change and politics.

Leading presenters Andrew Neil and Simon McCoy have also left the BBC in the past year.

The deal, for a new show and podcast, is likely to lead to a salary uplift for Sopel and Maitlis, who earn at least £235,000 and £325,000 respectively at the BBC.

An LBC insider told MailOnline Maitlis will now be on ‘at least’ £400,000-a-year, with Mr Sopel likely to be through the £300,000-a-year barrier.

But they warned it ‘could be more’ because of the number of projects they will work on together.

Leaving the BBC will also allow them to pursue more cash from speaking events and private functions worth another £50,000 annually.

Another insider said: ‘I think it’s the potent appeal of money and freedom to be more expressive in their personal views than the BBC allows’.

The deal will see them front a major new podcast for Global Player, as well as hosting a show together on LBC and providing commentary and analysis for lbc.co.uk.

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