Christine Bleakley is facing separation from her “on screen husband” Adrian Chiles, after the Brummie presenter |revealed he is quitting the BBC for ITV.
Rumours have been mounting for months that Chiles was unhappy with plans to relegate him to the sidelines on a Friday night, with the enigmatic Chris Evans promoted as captain of the show once a week. But yesterday the 43-year-old confirmed that from the end of the month he will be breaking up the warm on-screen partnership he has shared with local girl Christine since 2007.
“It's no secret how disappointed I was by the Controller's decision to change an apparently successful and well-loved show at this stage, but I fully respect her right to do so and sincerely wish her and the brilliant One Show team well with it,” he said.
On last night's edition of The One Show, Bleakley hinted at the news by joking about the “volcanic trouble” that had occurred while the presenters were on holiday. Introducing the show's topics, Chiles said: “We will start with volcano news. You see, we go away and there is volcanic trouble.”
Bleakley responded by saying: “I know, I know — in more ways than one!”
The pair laughed together before continuing with a feature on the travel chaos caused by ash.
Speculation is rife over who will join her for the nightly 7pm show. Chiles had originally been paired with Nadia Sawalha when the programme was piloted in 2006. After a revamp, former Hear’Say singer Myleen Klass replaced Sawalha, only for her to be replaced by Christine when she left to have her first baby.
The much-commented-on ‘chemistry’ between Christine and Adrian is thought to have played a part in the success of the show, but also sparked rumours, which were denied, they were a couple.
Whispers that Chiles was to be edged off the sofa were first heard last year, when it was reported that a BBC proposal included giving the hour-long Friday episodes more of an entertainment focus.
The idea behind the plan was to try and emulate Evans' previous popularity on TFI Friday and start the weekend on BBC1 “with a bang”. Chiles — who supported Christine during her waterskiing over the English Channel for Sports Relief — had previously turned down a £6m long-term deal with ITV when he signed his latest BBC contract, which was said to be worth about £1m.
The BBC had been developing a chat show for him and a panel game and he had been offered a package including four nights on The One Show, The Apprentice: You've Been Fired, Match of the Day 2 and other sporting events.
But after yesterday’s announcement he said it was “no secret” that he was disappointed by changes made to The One Show. From next season he will be fronting the ITV’s Champions League, England's home internationals and away friendlies, as well as the FA Cup.
Chiles will also present GMTV five mornings a week.