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Bill Turnbull says goodbye to viewers after 15 years on BBC Breakfast sofa

Published 26/02/2016

BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull is leaving the show
BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull is leaving the show

BBC Breakfast's Bill Turnbull said a final goodbye to viewers as he thanked them for "letting me into your home".

The 60-year-old is leaving after 15 years on the sofa to spend more time with his family - and his bees.

Closing Friday's programme, Turnbull said: "I've always believed it's a privilege to broadcast anywhere on the airwaves; to present this programme though has been a special honour.

"I've had a wonderful time with my colleagues who've had a lot to put up with over the years. Above all though, thank you for letting me into your home in the morning, whether it's in the kitchen, or the living room, or, as I'm often told, the bedroom.

"Whether you've been with us for the past 15 years or just this morning, I hope you've found it worthwhile. It certainly has been for me."

Celebrity fans including David Cameron, Frank Skinner and Miranda Hart sent farewell video messages to the presenter.

The Prime Minister said: "Bill, throughout your career you have brought us the news from around the world , from war zones to the White House, but for the last 15 years we've been used to seeing you present from one iconic location - the BBC B reakfast sofa.

"Now the day has come for you to swap that sofa for a bed and those long-awaited lie-ins. So on behalf of all the people who are used to starting their day with you, thank you."

Dermot O'Leary said he would miss "that grumpy face of yours", while Chris Evans said: "Bill Turnbull at breakfast is no more, a nation weeps."

Actor James Corden sent a message from LA, joking, "Bill, you beautiful specimen of a man. For so much of my life, you were my morning glory and I will miss waking up with you every day, but you're still going to be there when I fall asleep."

Tributes were also paid by Turnbull's former "TV wives" Sian Williams and Susanna Reid.

Williams said: "You are wonderful to work with and you're a kind and loyal friend so thank you for that", while Reid added: "From interviews which didn't always go to plan to swapping Strictly tips, I feel privileged to have shared special sofa time with you."

In the studio, the BBC Breakfast team of Mike Bushell, Sally Nugent, Naga Munchetty, Carol Kirkwood and Stephanie McGovern joined Turnbull and co-anchor Louise Minchin on the sofa to reminisce on his career.

Turnbull revealed his most memorable moments from his breakfast career, remembering "nearly getting into a fight with a ventriloquist's dummy called Bob" and wearing a sweater made of dog hair.

"It was all right, it was just very warm and I couldn't get the stuff off me for weeks," he recalled.

As well as reading out letters from viewers, Kirkwood delivered a poem she had written "in five minutes last night".

She added: "He's such a dear friend. I love you to death and it's been such a pleasure, Billy. You're just a wonderful human being."

Minchin confirmed that the first round of drinks would be on Kirkwood as she came closest to tears.

The team presented Turnbull with a fondant replica of him on a cake shaped like the famous red sofa before gathering for a group hug as the final credits rolled.

Turnbull will not be off screens for too long as he returns to BBC One soon as host of new daytime quiz show Think Tank.

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