Matt Baker tipped for One Show as Jason Manford quits
Strictly Come Dancing star Matt Baker has become favourite to take over as The One Show host after Jason Manford quit over his online "flirting" with fans.
Comic Manford, 29, handed in his notice to BBC1 bosses last night, just four months after taking the coveted position after an admission of "saucy" contacts with women over the internet.
Now Countryfile host Baker - currently a contestant on the dance competition - has been ranked as the bookies' favourite to take over the role.
Manford, whose wife is heavily pregnant, said in a statement: "I have decided after careful consideration to step down from The One Show to concentrate on my family and tour commitments."
The BBC said: "We have got nothing to say except that we accept Jason's decision."
Corporation bosses were already unhappy about revelations regarding his text messages to a female fan.
Speaking to The Sun, Manford admitted he had "flirted" with 10 or 12 people online which "went over the line with a few".
He also said he had talked to girls on Skype - a live online video link - while on tour.
The comic told the newspaper: "There were 10 or 12 people flirting and then with a few it went over the line.
"We would start off flirty, then innuendo and then a bit saucy. They were moments I thought 'I shouldn't be saying that'.
"I went on Skype with a few girls. They also sent pictures on Twitter. It all happened on tour.
"It was just nice to have some interaction I suppose. But the next morning I would wake up and think 'F***. Oh my God'."
The 7pm BBC1 flagship show is not due to be screened tonight because of the Children in Need charity telethon.
His resignation is believed to have immediate effect.
Bookmaker William Hill has placed Baker as evens favourite to take over. However, the former Blue Peter host could be tied up with his Strictly commitments for another month.
He has also signed up to take part in the ballroom contest's live tour which begins in mid-January and continues for four weeks.
Chris Evans - who presents the Friday edition of The One Show - is also hotly fancied, but it would be a heavy burden in addition to his daily Radio 2 breakfast show.
Hills puts Adrian Chiles, who quit the show earlier this year and defected to ITV1, at 14-1 for a return.
Manford said in his interview: "I don't drink, I don't do drugs, so it's not like I've got those to blame. I have my own stupidity to blame. I've never felt so low."
Referring to his wife Catherine, he added: "We have had a serious sit-down about it and agreed that what we've got is worth fighting for. She's fine and we're fine."
He said he felt he had let his family down and, after showing his wife the Twitter messages, she was "disappointed".
BBC bosses are expected to hold talks over the coming days to discuss the situation and find a replacement to co-host the show alongside Welsh presenter Alex Jones.
Manford, from Salford in Lancashire, apologised to fans and his family at the beginning of the month after he was accused of exchanging a series of Twitter messages with a female fan.
It was alleged that he shared private messages with Debra McNamee, 22, after she contacted him through the social networking site.
Manford, who married his actress wife in 2007 and has twin one-year-old daughters, took over presenting The One Show from Chiles in July. He is an avid user of Twitter and has more than 200,000 followers. However, he has now vowed to stop using his account.
The comic, who last presented The One Show on Wednesday night, is due to play two sold-out shows at Newcastle City Hall tonight and tomorrow.
Fans have posted comments on his decision to leave the show on Twitter.
Fiona2608 tweeted: "I know jason manford is in the wrong, majorly. But he always seemed like such a nice guy. Makes it even more sad really."
And tonyrudak said: "I suspect he's gone back to doing what he does best. A TV presenter he isn't."
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