Dan Walker leaves BBC amid string of high-profile departures

The TV star is moving to Channel 5.

Dan Walker has announced he is the latest star to leave the BBC following a string of high-profile departures for the broadcaster.

The TV star, who has hosted BBC Breakfast since 2016, is leaving to join 5 News at Channel 5, replacing Sian Williams.

In a video message on Twitter, Walker said it was a “massive decision” because he loves the breakfast show but added it was a rare opportunity and he “can’t wait”.

Jon Sopel and Emily Maitlis joins Global
Jon Sopel and Emily Maitlis after they announced they are leaving the BBC to join media group Global (Global/PA)

The announcement marks the latest departure for the BBC following the loss of Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis and former North American editor Jon Sopel.

In February, the pair announced they will be hosting a new podcast for Global Player, a radio show together on LBC, and provide commentary and analysis for the station’s website.

Maitlis joined the BBC in 2001 and has presented Newsnight since 2006, winning a Royal Television Society award for her interview with Prince Andrew in 2019, while Sopel joined the broadcaster in 1983.

Similarly in November last year, veteran journalist Andrew Marr announced he was moving to Global after 21 years at the BBC.

Marr joined the corporation in May 2000 as political editor and later spent 16 years at the helm of his own Sunday morning show.

The 62-year-old said he was moving to Global as it offered him a “new freedom” to do “fast-paced, very regular political journalism on LBC with no filter”.

In February 2020, former deputy political editor John Pienaar announced he was leaving the BBC to join Times Radio after nearly three decades.

Later that year, the Andrew Neil Show was one of the casualties of the BBC cuts, following the broadcaster’s 2016 announcement that it needed to save £800 million, with around £80 million of that figure coming from news.

Neil later announced he was to be the face and chairman of GB News, signalling the end of his relationship with the BBC, where he has been one of the most respected political interviewers.

The former Sunday Times editor has since stepped down from GB News and announced he will be hosting a new Sunday night political show for Channel 4.

A BBC source said: “People come, people go, but we have lots of existing talent and new and emerging stars and there is always a natural point where people move on.”

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