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Dan Walker is leaving the BBC “in the next few weeks” to become the new host of Channel 5 News.

The TV presenter said it was a difficult decision to walk away from the BBC and its morning show BBC Breakfast, which he has presented since 2016.

He said: “I’m really excited, but this has also been a massive decision for me, because I love Breakfast, I love working alongside Sally [Nugent], and I love the team there.

“But Channel 5 came with big ambitions, big plans, and I don’t think opportunities like this come around very often, and I can’t wait.”

The terms of Walker’s new deal to front Channel 5 News were not immediately clear.

However, Walker teased that as part of the deal he would “not only get to present the news, but also host a whole range of new programmes right across the channel.”

He replaces Sian Williams, herself a former BBC presenter poached by ITN to host Channel 5 News, who is stepping down from the role after six years.

He said: “What an honour to step into the shoes of Sian Williams. I know how popular she is both with the team and the audience, so all I can say is I will do my very best to maintain her incredibly high standards.”

In a message to Walker, Williams said: “I know what it’s like to move from the BBC Breakfast sofa to the Channel 5 newsroom, I absolutely loved it and I think you will too. Have fun, and good luck.”

Walker is one of the BBC’s best-known presenters, previously hosting Football Focus from 2009 to 2021 and also working across Radio 5 Live. Last year he competed on Strictly Come Dancing, placing fifth.

Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis and the BBC’s North America editor, Jon Sopel, both left the BBC together in February to launch a new podcast on audio rival Global. Andrew Marr has also walked away from the BBC after 21 years to host a radio show on LBC, also owned by Global, which is thought to have made lucrative pay offers to tempt the BBC stars.

The radio hosts Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode ended their long-running BBC film review show last week, only to announce a new film and television review podcast, set to be launched worldwide through Sony Music.

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