Louise Minchin really struggled with BBC Breakfast hours before exit I found them hard

BBC Breakfast: Louise Minchin thanks everyone on her last day

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Louise Minchin, 53, has said that taking time off work for an operation was her wake up call to end her time as host of BBC Breakfast. Keen to say goodbye to her painful 3.40am alarms, her final show took place earlier this month.

The BBC One presenter made her decision to leave the show around six months ago, as Britain came out of winter, realising she couldn’t face another cold, gloomy period of early starts at the end of 2021. 

She said: “I find the early morning really difficult and another winter of the dark mornings was not what I wanted to do anymore.

“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.”

In December, Louise took a few weeks off for an ankle operation, which gave her the opportunity to see what she was really missing out on – things as simple as watching television with her family. 

“Also because of Covid we had holidays at home and if I’m left to my own devices in my own home, I actually go to bed about midnight and wake up about nine in the morning,” Louise told the Mirror.

“That’s the natural way my body works. So I think it made me realise that actually I particularly really struggle with the hours… I have found them really hard.”

The TV host shared that she is excited to settle into a more regular routine, as it will give her the chance to focus on her running, watching Sunday night dramas with her beloved husband David, and even take her kids on school runs, which she has never been able to do. 

She said: “This has been a decision a long time in coming. It involved lots of in-depth discussion with friends and family.”

“My children are pleased for us as a family, I think, because I always used to say to them, ‘Oh, do you remember before I did BBC Breakfast?’

“And they’d say, ‘Not really.’ And then I realised that, actually, my daughters are 20 and 17, so of course they don’t remember life before BBC Breakfast.”

The presenter has been looking forward to spending more time with her daughters Mia and Scarlett, joking that she will now be their “super taxi”. 

As the face of BBC Breakfast for almost 2 decades, Louise admitted there is some sadness in moving on, but she felt like it was the right time to leave.

She cites the love for her job and fantastic relationships with colleagues like co-host Dan Walker and long-term floor manager Tracey Higgins as some of the reasons why she stayed so long. 

Louise became a regular fixture on the BBC after her first shift on Christmas Eve 2001, and hasn’t looked back since. 

The presenter said: “I always loved the programme and I always loved working on it and I like the ethos of the show – it’s the cutting edge of journalism but also talking about the things that matter to you.”

Louise struck up a fantastic TV partnership with Bill Turnbull for around five years until he left and was replaced by the cheeky and fun Dan Walker in 2016. 

She shared BBC sofa duties with Dan, 44, from Monday to Wednesday before her co-star was whisked away into the dazzling world of Strictly this September. 

“Dan does make me laugh,” she admitted. “The last five-and-a-half years with him have been really full of joy, even though we’ve worked through tough times, we’ve worked through tough stories, we’ve worked through tough programmes.”

Louise also revealed that leaving BBC Breakfast would give her a chance to focus on her sporting ambitions, with a target of completing next year’s London Marathon. 

She proved her athletic ability when she qualified as a member of the 2015 Great Britain Age-Group Triathlon Team, and when she completed the grueling Norseman Xtreme Triathlon in 2019, which involved a two-and-a-half mile swim, a 112-mile cycle ride and a marathon.

Louise is a household name and it is therefore unsurprising that she is tipped to front several television shows, although she is keeping her cards close to her chest for now. 

There has even been speculation that the BBC fan-favourite is wanted for this year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! on ITV, though this is yet to be confirmed.

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