PM says farewell to GMTV presenter

GMTV veteran Fiona Phillips signed off from the sofa for the final time today, with accolades from celebrities including David Beckham and the Prime Minister.

The presenter bid an emotional farewell to the breakfast programme, which she joined as entertainment correspondent at its launch in 1993.

Phillips, 47, said her departure was "one of the hardest decisions I've ever made", but that she needed to concentrate on her home life.

She finished her final programme by telling viewers: "I will not forget your kindness, thank you."

Today's show included a montage of highlights from her 15-year career.

She was initially based in the United States as GMTV's LA correspondent reporting on everything from the earthquakes to the OJ Simpson trial, before landing the anchor job in 1996.

Philips said: "The moments I've shared with you, people at home, when I had my first baby I was inundated with cards and letters and I just feel that I've been very privileged to be in your living rooms and kitchens and bedrooms, wherever you've been watching us."

Cheryl Cole from Girls Aloud embraced the presenter while bandmate Kimberley Walsh said she was "really chuffed" to be there for Phillips' farewell.

The clearly emotional host said she had been touched by scores of messages sent in by viewers, particularly those who said she had been "like a friend to them".

She said: "I feel very self indulgent but I can't help it."

Various celebrities and public figures recorded messages for the programme, including the Prime Minister, Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard and her long-time crush Donny Osmond.

Hollywood actress Kate Winslet said: "I've loved every occasion that I've had a chance to meet you, now go home and have a wonderful time with your kids."

David and Victoria Beckham sent a letter which read: "Thank you so much for all your support over the years. It's been wonderful watching you on GMTV and you will be sorely missed."

Phillips, who competed somewhat disastrously on Strictly Come Dancing, also received a message from the show's judges.

Head of the panel Len Goodman said: "We told you when you were on Strictly 'don't give up the day job' and now we've heard that you are, we can't believe it."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a greeting: "Congratulations on the support that you've won throughout the country."

Tory leader David Cameron said: "The sofa will never be the same without you. You had a special way of getting to the heart of every story and explaining it in a way that everybody could understand."

Phillips said during the show that she plans to continue working, but added: "I need to be with my children and my Dad and my husband and be nice to him for once!"

Sky News business presenter Emma Crosby will join Kate Garraway, Andrew Castle and Ben Shephard as a co-host on the weekday show.

GMTV also unveiled a new weather presenter, Kirsty McCabe, joining from the BBC.

She will work alongside fellow meteorologist Clare Nasir, with the two broadcasting on alternate weeks.

The presenting changes will coincide with a refresh of the main GMTV set from January 5.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer / Front-End Designer - City of London

£27000 - £33000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End Devel...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Junior PHP Web Developer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Guru Careers: Front End Web Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: Our client help leading creative agencies ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot