Louise Minchin, 53, has officially left BBC Breakfast, after 20 years at the helm of the flagship news programme. Ahead of her departure from the red sofa, she spoke of what really pushed her to make the big decision to leave. Louise revealed she decided she was going to step down from her role as co-host alongside Dan Walker, around six months ago as Britain came out of lockdown and winter.
I find the early morning really difficult and another winter of the dark mornings was not what I wanted to do anymore
But as we head back into the colder months, in a new interview, she admitted she couldn’t face another period of gloomy morning alarm calls.
“I find the early morning really difficult and another winter of the dark mornings was not what I wanted to do anymore,” she shrugged.
“I just thought ‘I can’t face another winter’, because I’ve worked out over the last 20 years there’s about six weeks in the year when I go to work and it’s light, and those are the six weeks that I find the easiest.”
She went on to explain that due to a previous ankle injury, she had to take off around four weeks to recover from surgery.
“I had that period to realise that when I’m not getting up at 3:40am in the morning, I’m doing all sorts of things in the evening that I want to be doing,” she said.
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“Like just watching telly with my family, doing that kind of family stuff.”
She added: “So yeah, I think it was coming out of winter into this period that the decision was made.”
The coronavirus lockdown also helped mess up her sleep pattern, admitting that if she’s left to her own devices at home, then she’ll end up going to bed about midnight and wake up about nine in the morning.
“That’s the natural way my body works,” she said, “I think it made me realise that actually I particularly really struggle with the hours… I have found them really hard.”
Nevertheless, the 53-year-old is going to miss the show dearly, as her passion for the role itself and the great relationships she has with her colleagues were some of the many reasons she stayed put for so long.
“I always loved the programme and I always loved working on it and I like the ethos of the show,” she told The Mirror.
“It’s the cutting edge of journalism but also talking about the things that matter to you.”
Wednesday’s show was, as expected, an emotional one as Louise became overwhelmed while making her final thank yous to her friends at the BBC.
Dan praised his co-host on her final episode, saying: “All of us here will miss you enormously. The programme will never ever be the same without you Louise,” he remarked.
She thanked her co-star for his kind words and asked: “Can I say some thank yous now? Okay, so I’ve written it down in case I forgot.
Louise continued: “Thank you first to Dan. Because of you, I’ve stayed much longer than I actually meant to haven’t I? I mean, really longer.
“We’ve been through tough stories, we’ve been through tough programmes. The one thing that has been absolutely clear, you just said it, you’ve always had my back.
“You’ve made me laugh, you’ve made me roll my eyes, you’ve passed me tissues when I’ve cried,” she said.
“I’ve got some here just in case,” Dan laughed.
“Thank you, I’m feeling okay,” Louise continued, “Also, huge thank you to this amazing, wonderful BBC Breakfast team.
“I have loved working with you. You work incredibly hard all of you, all hours of the day, of the night, every single day of the year to put the programme on.
“You are absolutely amazing, I shall miss you terribly but you will carry on, the programme will carry on and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you.
“Finally, and most importantly, to everyone who is watching, it is really, really thanks to you for watching all of these years.
“You are absolutely at the heart of everything we do. I feel proud, it is a privilege to sit here on the red sofa and report on our shared history.”
She went on: “You have made me feel welcome in your homes, welcome in your hearts and I just feel like I’m a small part of a BBC Breakfast family.
“We’ve talked about family haven’t we? I’m part of that family, I will always be part of that family even if I am not here on the sofa and I cannot thank you enough for your support, your love, your messages.
“It has been an absolute pleasure and I take a great joy with me in my heart as I leap off this sofa into the great unknown. I will keep watching and I will still be with you. Thank you,” she concluded.
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