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Baker favourite to replace Manford

Strictly Come Dancing star Matt Baker has become favourite to take over as The One Show host after Jason Manford quit over his online "flirting" with fans.

Comic Manford, 29, handed in his notice to BBC1 bosses on Thursday night, just four months after taking the coveted position after admitting "saucy" contacts with women over the internet.

Now Countryfile host Baker - currently a contestant on the dance competition - has been ranked as the bookies' favourite to take over the role.

And Baker will be stepping in to replace Manford next week, which will further speculation that he will be the frontrunner as a permanent replacement.

He will share duties with the show's Friday presenter Chris Evans next week as the BBC works out short-term replacements for the presenter following Manford's decision to quit. Baker will front the show on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, while Evans will stand in on Thursday, in addition to his regular Friday role.

Manford, whose wife is heavily pregnant, said in a statement: "I have decided after careful consideration to step down from The One Show to concentrate on my family and tour commitments."

The BBC said: "We have got nothing to say except that we accept Jason's decision." Corporation bosses were already unhappy about revelations regarding his text messages to a female fan.

Speaking to The Sun, Manford admitted he had "flirted" with 10 or 12 people online which "went over the line with a few". He also said he had talked to girls on Skype - a live online video link - while on tour.

The 7pm BBC1 flagship show was not due to be screened on Friday because of the Children in Need charity telethon. The resignation is believed to have immediate effect.

BBC bosses are expected to hold talks over the coming days to discuss the situation and find a replacement to co-host the show alongside Welsh presenter Alex Jones.

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