Dan Walker was getting the emotions brewing as he gave a farewell speech on BBC Breakfast. The presenter hosted the early morning news programme on BBC One for the last time on Tuesday.
He announced his exit from the show after six years early last month but only confirmed when his last show would be a matter of weeks ago. Dan has now waved goodbye to his BBC role to make his way to host Channel 5’s revamped 5 News as he replaces Sian Williams.
When he made his initial announcement on April 4 with a video message posted on social media, the 45-year-old said “it’s been a massive decision” for him to leave BBC Breakfast which he appeared to prove during his last stint on the show today (May 17).
While much of the show was as normal, the closing part was dedicated to Dan with him being shown his BBC Breakfast best bits before being reunited with Louise Minchin who he spent much of his time on the show with. Dan’s exit comes seven months after his former co-host spent her last day hosting the programme, 20 years after first joining.
Surprising Dan on the famous red sofa, Louise said: “It’s very emotional to be here and I know that lots of people watching will be very, very sad that you’re leaving because you have touched the hearts of the nation over the last six years.”
The programme’s tribute to also featured an appearance from his Strictly Come Daning partner Nadiya Bychkova via video link and Dan was reunited, albeit via video link again, with a woman who gate-crashed his broadcast when he appeared live from Rio during the 2016 Olympics. Maria then appeared on the programme via video link from Lisbon with her husband and their little girl.
Towards the end of the show, Dan made a heartfelt speech as his time on BBC Breakfast came to a close. “It’s come around a lot more quickly than I thought,” he said as the BBC crew gathered behind the sofa to join his farewell. “It does feel a bit surreal, I think, the fact that I won’t be sitting on this sofa anymore, the fact that I won’t be sitting next to you after today,” he said, looking towards his co-star Sally Nugent.
“I think when you’re in this situation, you do look back at the things you’ve done and the stories that you’ve covered, the people that you’ve met. I’m really thankful that I’ve had so many incredible memories of working on this programme and the wonderful moments that this role has given me. It’s been a real privilege to sit here and to present this programme which we all know means an awful lot to so many people who watch.”
Turning towards the camera to address viewers, he said: “Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for all the comments and the kind messages and the many lovely words over the years. Thank you for the support in loads of different things, including the dancing, and I think it’s safe to say that I, and all of us, never ever take any of that for granted, the fact that people watch this programme and they enjoy it and they feel that it’s a part of their lives.”
But he pushed Sally further when he paid her a gushing tribute. “You are brilliant at what you do,” Dan said as he turned to face his co-host of six months. “And everybody behind us and everybody watching knows that. I was so happy when you got this job and the chance to sit here a do this job and there’s nobody better who could have done it.”
He went on: “We’ve had a wonderful time together and I think we could have gone on to have many years enjoying time together on this sofa but things change and change can be tough sometimes but it’s also good,” Sally then chipped in with a laugh: “Okay, thank you, Daniel.”
Dan added: “You can take this show and make it amazing like you’ve already done and I think many people, millions of people, enjoy watching you. You are a very special person and I wish you every success for the years to come,” as he finished his mini tribute Louise could be seen getting emotional as Sally clutched her chest and held back the tears.