Penny Smith tearful farewell to GMTV sofa
Penny Smith bid a tearful farewell to her GMTV job today as she bowed out after 17 years on the sofa.
The star was treated to clips of her best bits, and was reunited with her former singing partner Curtis Stigers, who serenaded her with his hit You're All That Matters To Me.
Smith and Stigers were previously paired up for the BBC show Just The Two Of Us.
As Stigers sang to her, Smith used a tissue to wipe away tears, saying: "I was doing so well. I've got extra eyelashes on and everything."
Smith, 51, joined the breakfast television show in April 1993 and has also written novels and produced yoga videos.
Her post-GMTV projects include a BBC Radio 2 opera show and her third novel.
She was presented with a cake depicting herself and John Stapleton, who has been her co-host, as well as flowers and a portrait of herself.
Colleagues praised Smith's "rapier-like wit" and described her as a "mentor".
Stapleton, who is in Cumbria covering the shootings in his new special correspondent role, told Smith via video link: "At least Penny can say that working with John Stapleton was a piece of cake.
"Penny, I'll miss you terribly, I'll miss you stomping into the studio carrying another ridiculous pair of shoes because the heels are far too high for you to walk in.
"And plonking yourself down on the sofa next to me with at least three seconds to spare, so the first shot the viewers see is of me yanking my jacket from underneath your bottom.
"I'll miss you telling me off for making a mess in the sink in the make-up department.
"I'll miss you tidying up both me and the studio.
"And I'll also miss expecting the unexpected, because I think that is the key to working with you.
"You never know what is coming next when you're working with Penny Smith. You've been a fabulous partner, absolutely fabulous partner.
"The one thing I won't miss of course is your company, because as well as being on-screen partners we're off-screen partners as well, and that will continue.
"You're a great journalist, you have a rapier-like wit and an effervescent personality and you've brought something very, very special indeed to GMTV.
"All the best, darling."
In the studio, presenter Andrew Castle agreed: "And so say all of us, she's a huge loss to this programme, no doubt."
Other well-known GMTV faces sent video messages to Smith.
Kate Garraway told how she and Smith had once gone on a shopping trip.
She said: "I was dragged out at the early hours of Saturday morning, with a hangover, which was my fault, taken all the way to Notting Hill, dragged round endless super-trendy shops where she forced me to buy stuff.
"I was so starving, I said: 'Please can we just stop for a break?'
"She took me to a little cafe and gave me Brussels sprouts."
Ben Shephard, who is also set to quit the show, told Smith: "We will miss you so much, you've been a great friend.
"You've been a great mentor as well in so many things - on and off camera - which I can't really talk about.
"Best of luck for the future."
Lorraine Kelly described Smith as a "force of nature".
She said: "I'm going to miss you so, so much. I'm going to miss your crazy jokes, all the fun that we have in the make-up room.
"You have the body of a 20-year-old, you look absolutely brilliant, fantastic pair of legs."
GMTV is undergoing a revamp and there have been months of speculation over the future of its presenters.
Former The One Show host Adrian Chiles is joining the line-up as part of his new deal with ITV.
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