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TV & Radio

Christine Bleakley signs for ITV

TV presenter Christine Bleakley is looking forward to working with her "old friend" Adrian Chiles again after it was announced she has signed a deal to move to ITV.

The star will follow her former One Show co-presenter in leaving the BBC before the autumn.

She said today: "I am looking forward to a brand new experience at ITV albeit with an old friend."

ITV announced news of the deal today, which will see her co-host the channel's breakfast show with Chiles.

Bleakley said: "I have had the most wonderful three years at the BBC and The One Show. It has consumed my life in that time and I would not have had it any other way; I have made great friends and met some incredible people.

"It is with regret that this experience is coming to an end. I have been torn between working with Adrian Chiles and remaining at the BBC."

Earlier today, the BBC announced it had withdrawn its offer of a new contract to Bleakley.

A BBC spokesman said they had been in discussions since April when she said she wanted to continue at the helm of the prime time show, despite the loss of her co-host, but the uncertainty over her future was damaging the show.

Bleakley said she understood the corporation's stance and they had been "nothing but supportive".

She said: "I fully understand the BBC had to move more swiftly than I could, and as a result they've managed to help make my mind up for me.

"The BBC, and specifically Jay Hunt and her team, have been nothing but supportive, fair and encouraging since I stepped foot inside there. I will be eternally grateful for everything they have done for me."

Bleakley, who will present other shows as part of her exclusive deal with the channel, will also be reunited with Peter Fincham who gave her her break on The One Show.

Fincham, who left the BBC to become ITV Director of Television, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled that Christine Bleakley is coming to ITV - she's one of television's brightest stars.

"It's great that she'll be reunited with Adrian Chiles and their unique and brilliant partnership will be at the heart of our new-look breakfast show from this autumn. Christine will also become a familiar face to ITV peak-time audiences. We can't wait to get started."

Chiles quit The One Show, which goes out five nights a week at 7pm on BBC1, when it emerged Radio 2 breakfast show host Chris Evans was being brought in to present it on Friday evenings.

Bleakley recently signed a new management deal which means she is now represented by the same company as Chiles.