Half of BBC Breakfast team shuns move

More than half the team behind the BBC Breakfast Show are to leave their jobs rather than move to Salford when the show transfers production next year.

Among them are presenters Chris Hollins and Sian Williams who said it had been "an enormous pleasure" to present the show for the past 10 years.



She added: "Sadly, family reasons mean I can't move to Salford with the programme next year. My son will be in the middle of A-level exams, another will have just started school and our family also needs to be close to elderly parents in the South East.



"I've been very privileged to spend the past decade on the sofa as the viewers' representative, asking the questions they want answered, whether it's to the Prime Minister or a Hollywood film star, and I'm looking forward to using those skills in fresh challenges elsewhere in the BBC."



Hollins said he had "reluctantly" said no for family reasons.



The BBC announced 54% of the Breakfast team, around 46 people, confirmed they would not take part in the move and will now either apply for redeployment or take redundancy.



It added that Williams and Hollins would continue to be involved with the show, which attracts seven million viewers a day, "for the foreseeable future".



Regular presenters Bill Turnbull and Susanna Reid will continue with the show after its move to MediaCityUK.



Turnbull said the move would be a "challenge" but added: "I am confident the programme can be as successful in its new home as it has been for the past few years in Television Centre."



The move to Salford has been controversial, with Hollins describing it as a "political" decision.



The man in charge of the move has accused critics of dredging up "old stereotypes".



Peter Salmon told the Manchester Evening News the move would inspire a generation of "young northern boys and girls".



He has not been immune from criticism and came under fire when it emerged he would only be renting a flat near the site because he did not want to move his wife, former Coronation Street actress Sarah Lancashire, and young family while his children were still in school.



But he later said he will move permanently when it fits with his children's education.



BBC News director Helen Boaden said the move was an "important step" in the corporation's commitment to expanding its presence outside the capital.



She said said: "I am delighted that so many staff have decided to make the journey with a programme that is one of the great success stories of the past 10 years. I am sure it will go from strength to strength in its new home."



The BBC said a quarter of staff (25%) in its Marketing and Audiences department and a third (33%) of staff from BBC Connect and Create who were approached to move have also agreed to do so.



A BBC News spokesman said: "Sian Williams has been key to the success of Breakfast over the past decade. Although we are sorry she cannot make the move, we respect her reasons and she will continue to be a very important member of BBC News' top team of presenters."

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