Good morn­ing and good­night from Bill

Jour­nal­ist Bill Turnbull is leav­ing his role as an­chor of the BBC Break­fast news pro­gramme. MARK JEF­FRIES talks to the Buck­ing­hamshire res­i­dent about his fu­ture plans.

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BBC Break­fast an­chor (and Bucks bee­keeper) Bill Turnbull is leav­ing the show af­ter 15 years – ad­mit­ting he wants to spend more time with his wife and his ‘ne­glected’ bees.

Sadly, it ap­pears that the avid Wy­combe Wan­der­ers fan, who has sev­eral bee­hives in Jordans, will also be leav­ing Bucks to set­tle in Suf­folk.

The 59-year-old will walk away from the Beeb early in 2016, in a move which will sad­den mil­lions of view­ers who wake up with him broad­cast­ing the latest news on the pop­u­lar show.

Turnbull con­firmed the news on the show yesterday (Wed­nes­day). He said: “I agreed to come north for two years and it went so well I agreed to do another two years.

“That is com­ing to an end – by that time I will have been do­ing the show for nearly 15 years, which is more than enough for me and the au­di­ence.

“So it is a good time to call it a day and do some­thing else. It was a long-term de­ci­sion.

“I could see this com­ing up and it was al­ways the plan. I’ll leave early next year.

“There is some sad­ness, but no re­grets.”

The pre­sen­ter said there was no ‘one mo­ment’ which had made him con­vinced now was the right time to go. But fa­ther-of-three Bill ad­mit­ted his 3am alarm call was partly to blame for his de­ci­sion to quit.

He said: “The early starts you never get used to. You get hard­ened to it and I have done it thou­sands of times, but it still never gets any eas­ier.

“Do­ing that in com­bi­na­tion with more than three hours of cur­rent af­fairs a day is tir­ing. There are no two ways about it.

“I have no­ticed the past few weeks I am wak­ing up at half past four or five ev­ery sin­gle day when I am not on.

“Nor­mally I get up at half past three. When the alarm doesn’t go off I still wake up at four or five and that is be­cause it is in­grained. I will have to train my­self out of it.

“My wife is con­sulted in all the big de­ci­sions and she is per­fectly happy.

“We will man­age to get rid of the 9.30pm cur­few, which will be nice. It will be fun.”

Bill, who will con­tinue to work on TV and ra­dio, ad­mits he wants to en­joy his life away from BBC break­fast with wife Sarah, with plans for 2016 in­clud­ing mov­ing house and be­ing re­united with his beloved bees.

Bill said: “I have been ne­glect­ing my bees for far too long. They are on a farm – they were go­ing to come up here to the Lakes where we live, but it was too windy.

“They are in Buck­ing­hamshire. I don’t see them very of­ten but they don’t seem to mind!

“I haven’t been able to keep chick­ens for a few years, so all these things will take up time.

“We are go­ing to move to Suf­folk with a bit of luck – it is where we have got fam­ily and friends. We have got to know Suf­folk quite well in the last year and we like it so we are plan­ning to move there.”

Bill first joined BBC Break­fast as a re­porter in

SAY­ING GOOD­BYE: BBC Break­fast an­chor Bill Turnbull, who has bee­hives in Jordans, is leav­ing the show; (be­low left) Bill with co-pre­sen­ters and crew from BBC Break­fast; (be­low right) Bill vis­it­ing Jordans School in 2014 1988, with his first seg­ment be­ing on wild flow­ers.

How­ever, he went on to cover more mem­o­rable sto­ries in­clud­ing the Locker­bie dis­as­ter and the Ro­ma­nian Revo­lu­tion of 1989.

He be­came a host in 2001 and ad­mits he will strug­gle to hold back the tears when he says good­bye to the show which has seen him con­duct thou­sands of in­ter­views and an­chor the show with more than a dozen fe­male co-hosts, in­clud­ing Sian Wil­liams and Su­sanna Reid.

He said: “Cer­tainly I am not look­ing for­ward to the last day be­cause it will be a very emo­tional oc­ca­sion. I am al­ready try­ing to work out an anti-blub­bing de­fence be­cause that would be re­ally aw­ful to spill tears, but I know it will be a big day.”

Asked for his high­lights, Bill picked out pre­sent­ing the show from the Olympic Park dur­ing Lon­don 2012 and also in­ter­view­ing Bobby Charl­ton with the World Cup on the desk be­tween them.

Aside from sport, the Wy­combe Wan­der­ers fan also has en­joyed the mu­si­cal seg­ments on the show.

He said: “The ones I re­mem­ber are peo­ple I re­ally ad­mire – David Byrne from Talk­ing Heads, Eric Bur­don (from The An­i­mals) – I even got to touch Jimi Hen­drix’s guitar.”

Bill will not be drawn on who should re­place him as the main an­chor on the sofa, but he is con­vinced he is leav­ing the show in good shape, ahead of ITV ri­val Good Morn­ing Bri­tain.

He said: “I can’t re­mem­ber the ex­act view­ing fig­ures when I joined in 2001, but it is now nearly dou­ble what it was.

“At the time we were lag­ging be­hind the com­pe­ti­tion, now we are ahead.

“I think the pro­gramme is go­ing from strength to strength.”

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