UK

Ben Shephard: I can only cope with going to This Morning as GMB is not far away

He is leaving Good Morning Britain to become a main presenter of This Morning, taking over with Cat Deeley.

New This Morning host Ben Shephard
The Shooting Star Ball – London New This Morning host Ben Shephard (Lia Toby/PA)

Ben Shephard has given an emotional goodbye to the Good Morning Britain (GMB) team.

The 49-year-old is moving to present This Morning, taking over the daytime ITV programme with Cat Deeley following the departures of long-time sofa hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.

Signing off from GMB for the last time on Friday, Shephard said: “As soon as I get in here, (I know) I’m going to be surrounded by you brilliant, incredible, gorgeous, talented, challenging, chaotic, annoying, fabulous people, that make me better at what I do.

“It’s not lost on me I wouldn’t be able to do it if you weren’t amazing and hadn’t been such fabulous friends, and colleagues, the extended family here at GMB.

“It’s not just us, we just get to do the glorious bit, when it goes right but the team behind the cameras and everybody, thank you to them and thank you to the viewers as well for trusting me to wake you up in the morning.

“I can only cope with this, and I know I’m going over a bit, because I’m not going very far, these guys are going to carry on doing an incredible job. I’m going to get a lie in … but in a couple of weeks I will be able to welcome you back from the school run … with a cup of tea and Cat next door.

“And I know this lot are going to be doing the best show they can for you as well, so thank you, thank you for making this so special.”

Videos were sent in from a host of famous faces on his last day.

Former footballer Chris Kamara, who Shephard worked with on ITV game show Ninja Warrior UK, said his Thursdays and Fridays watching GMB would “never be the same again” and called him “one of the nicest fellas”.

“Without your help and patience I couldn’t have gotten through the podcast that we did together last year,” he said.

“We’ve also had some great times on GMB. How can I forget when you caught me without my pants on when we did a zoom call?”

The programme also featured messages from Shephard’s former GMTV colleagues John Stapleton and Fiona Phillips along with former football manager Harry Redknapp.

“Ben, just wishing you all the very best for your new job,” Phillips, who is married to This Morning editor Martin Frizell said. “So excited for you.”

Stapleton said: “It’s 24 years since you walked into that GMTV newsroom and I remember several people saying to me, ‘watch that lad, he’ll go far’.

Ben Shephard and GMB’s Charlotte Hawkins
National Television Awards 2023 – London Ben Shephard and GMB’s Charlotte Hawkins (Lucy North/PA)

“Well, how right they were but not only that, you turned out to be one of the nicest guys we’ve ever worked with. Congratulations, mate.”

GMB hosts Susanna Reid and Charlotte Hawkins also wished him goodbye on social media.

Earlier in the show, co-host Kate Garraway also introduced fellow GMB presenter Andi Peters whom she described as Shephard’s “oldest friend” to say goodbye.

Peters recalled them working on music and interview programme T4 alongside This Morning star Dermot O’Leary.

Before becoming tearful, Peters presented him with a bobble head version of himself for his new dressing room and wished him “good luck”.

GMB’s entertainment editor Richard Arnold said Shephard’s “DNA is writ large in my broadcasting experience” while paying tribute to him.

Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway
An Evening with Anton du Beke Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway (Ian West/PA)

He also presented him with a blanket featuring images of Shephard’s face, which had appeared on an episode of Coronation Street.

“It’s been wonderful working with you,” Arnold added. “I love you.”

Garraway, who Shephard’s called his “on-screen wife”, also said his departure was “emotional”, adding: “Ben’s still here, he’s still in the ITV family.”

She also said: “I don’t know, I mean I think it’s a worry. I am not going to say too much because it will make me cry.

“You’re an incredible person and an incredible friend. You’re an incredible broadcaster and anyone that works with you loves you.

“But I’m going to miss you – it’s been a very long time. I won’t say any more. But, we know that you’re going to be fantastic and we all know that we’re all still going to be in your life as friends, and everybody watching Good Morning Britain will still be in your life because you have that special bond with everybody.”

Both Deeley and Shephard have previously presented This Morning on separate shows, with Deeley co-hosting alongside Rylan Clark in November last year.

They will present This Morning from Monday to Thursday, beginning next month, with Alison Hammond and O’Leary continuing to host the Friday edition.