Dan Walker has announced he is the latest star to leave the BBC following a string of high-profile departures for the broadcaster. The BBC Breakfast presenter said his decision to leave the programme and join Channel 5 was a “really difficult” one, but that his new remit will allow him to make programmes “outside of news”.
The TV presenter, 45, presented Football Focus from 2009 to 2021 and has been a fixture on the corporation’s flagship breakfast show since 2016, and also previously fronted Breakfast with Louise Minchin, who departed in September 2021.
In a video message on Twitter, Walker said it was a "massive decision" because he loves the breakfast show but added it was a rare opportunity and he "can't wait". Here’s what you need to know about why he’s leaving and what’s next for Dan Walker.
When is Dan Walker leaving the BBC?
When Dan Walker announced his departure, he said it would be taking place in the next few weeks. It was later confirmed that his last day on the red sofa will be Tuesday May 17th.
Is Dan Walker leaving BBC Breakfast?
Walker will be taking over as the presenter of 5 News from Dr Sian Williams, who announced her departure earlier this month, and who said in a congratulatory message to Walker on Twitter: “I know what it’s like to move from the @BBCBreakfast sofa to @channel5_tv and you will love it”.
Speaking to his co-host Sally Nugent the morning after announcing his news, and responding to Nugent’s comment that they had been friends for 20 years but only worked on Breakfast together for six months, he said: “I know, but in all honesty you know that, as I explained to you before all the news came out, this has been a really difficult decision for me.
“Probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my career, because I love you to bits and I really love working with you, and thank you, and I love the team at BBC Breakfast, and the six years I’ve had on this sofa have been the best six years of my career by some distance.”
He added: “But I think sometimes opportunities come along and you have to grab them, don’t you?”
Walker’s new remit will see him presenting recently re-launched flagship news bulletin 5 News, as well as “fronting a range of new programming on the channel”, Channel 5 said.
His exit from the BBC follows a string of other high profile names over the last few months, including Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and veteran journalist Andrew Marr.
A BBC source said: “People come, people go, but we have lots of existing talent and new and emerging stars and there is always a natural point where people move on.”
Why is Dan Walker leaving BBC Breakfast?
“I’ve never ever been motivated by money in any job that I’ve ever taken,” Walker continued in his conversation with Nugent. “And even though I love BBC Breakfast, everybody that works on the show, this is a fantastic opportunity to work with a brilliant team at Channel 5 and also go and make some other programmes outside of news.”
The 2020/2021 annual report for the BBC listed Walker’s salary as being between £295,000-£299,999, with programme commitments listed as Football Focus, which he has since left, and also BBC Breakfast programmes. Details of his new salary have not been disclosed.
What have people said about Dan Walker leaving BBC Breakfast?
Walker thanked everyone for “so many lovely messages” after he announced he was leaving, adding that he had told Nugent “I don’t think anybody will care but I’ve had so many lovely messages from BBC Breakfast viewers and loads of other people as well”.
Cait FitzSimons, editor of 5 News, said she looked forward to working with Walker “to build on the success of our new hour-long programme and finding more ways to tell stories that touch viewers’ lives across the nation”.
Additional reporting by PA reporters, Kerri-Ann Roper and Laura Harding.