Belfast Telegraph

The final Daybreak for Christine Bleakley as her sofa reign comes to an end

By Maureen Coleman

Co Down star Christine Bleakley bows out of her job as presenter of ITV's ill-fated breakfast show Daybreak today — just 14 months after the show was first aired.

It had been expected that the 32-year-old and her co-host Adrian Chiles would stay on as anchors until the New Year, but after news broke of their joint axing the date of their departure was brought forward.

But it's not all bad news for Bleakley, who is set to |take over from Holly Willoughby as the new face of Dancing On Ice, alongside Philip Schofield. Chiles, meanwhile, will continue with his football commentary.

In fact, since news of their departure broke, Bleakley has been photographed looking anything but downcast and has said in interviews that she can't wait to reclaim her social life.

While falling ratings marred her time on the Daybreak sofa, there were plenty of highlights and happier memories for Bleakley during her time on the show.

Back in the summer, she took part in a live link-up from the washrooms of a Los Angeles restaurant to reveal to her colleagues that footballer boyfriend Frank Lampard had popped the question.

She said: “It wasn't very glamorous, it wasn't very fancy — I know maybe some people might expect that.

“It was very personal, very private actually and we were just having a gorgeous lunch by the beach and he simply popped the question. It was completely out of the blue.”

Her fiancé obviously wasn't put off his proposal by the sight of Bleakley in a huge, bubblegum pink meringue wedding dress, which she was persuaded to try on for a |segment on Daybreak about the hit TV show My Big Fat |Gypsy Wedding.

In one of her most-talked about features on Daybreak, Bleakley donned the enormous pink frock in homage to the Channel 4 show.

With actor Trevor Eve stepping in as the “father-of-the-bride”, Bleakley emerged into the Daybreak studio to peals of laughter from the rest of the team.

Realising that the tabloids would have a field day with the photographs, she quipped: “My other half's currently running a mile.”

In another item on the show, the dare-devil presenter, who once water-skied the English Channel to raise money for Sport Relief, tried her hand at wing-walking.

The stunt was organised to coincide with the launch of the 3D film Rio and saw Bleakley take to the skies in a move she later described as “completely insane and exhilarating”.

Another feature saw the former Bloomfield Collegiate pupil squeeze into her old uniform to return to her school to meet pupils and staff.

Viewers saw Bleakley address the school assembly, join the choir, examine her own artwork and take up netball again.

One of the biggest highlights of her 14-month tenure was her triumph at the Cosmopolitan Women of the Year awards, when she was presented with the gong for Ultimate Presenter.

Background

Christine Bleakley was born in February 1979 in Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry to mother Mina and father Frederick, a musician, and grew up in Newtownards. She has a younger sister, Nicola. Christine began her career at Belfast Citybeat as a newsreader and presenter, working alongside Stephen Nolan.

She then moved into television with BBC Northern Ireland. Outside Northern Ireland, she co-hosted the BBC Two talent show Let Me Entertain You and in 2007 became the co-host of The One Show. In 2010 Bleakley left to join ITV1 as the co-host of Daybreak following Adrian Chiles' departure from the BBC to ITV.

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