Sian Williams quits BBC Breakfast but says: I won"t defect to ITV


'Hang on to it… only a couple more minutes to go,' BBC Breakfast presenter Sian Williams fails to hold back the tears after 11 years on the sofa

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UPDATED:

12:58 GMT, 15 March 2012

Presenter Sian Williams waved a tearful goodbye to BBC Breakfast after 11 years today.

The broadcaster was seen hosting her final episode ahead of the show's move to Salford.

Williams reportedly vowed not to cry during the show.
The presenter, who wore a bright pink dress under a black jacket, looked determined to keep to her word, smiling and ordering Turnbull not to look at her as emails were read out from well-wishers.

But she then blinked back tears after one guest, former poet laureate Andrew Motion, read her a short poem.

She couldn't hang on to it: Sian Williams dabs away the tears on her final appearance on the BBC Breakfast sofa after 11 years on the morning show

She couldn't hang on to it: Sian Williams dabs away the tears on her final appearance on the BBC Breakfast sofa after 11 years on the morning show

I will miss you: Sian embraces her friend of 20 years Bill Turnbull

I will miss you: Sian embraces her friend of 20 years Bill Turnbull

She paid tribute to Turnbull, the team behind the scenes and viewers after watching clips from her 11 years on the early morning programme.

An emotional Williams said 'Hang on to it Sian, only a couple more minutes to go', before she told Turnbull 'We've been friends for 20 years and you've still been my closest friend.'

She said: 'Thank you to the viewers for being loyal and passionate and caring about the programme and I've had two babies on this sofa – not literally, you know what I mean.

Fond memories: Sian fought back the tears as her colleague read out messages from members of the public

Fond memories: Sian fought back the tears as her colleague read out messages from members of the public

In my blood: Williams denied she plans to move to ITV and said the BBC is in her blood

In my blood: Williams denied she plans to move to ITV and said the BBC is in her blood

'You've been such a wonderful audience, thank you very, very much, I will miss you hugely.'

In one of several features broadcast throughout the programme to mark her last day, viewers were shown footage of a ritual she and co-presenter Bill Turnbull perform 15 seconds before going live on every show, in which both presenters shake out their arms in front of them.

Afterwards, an embarrassed Williams said: 'They must think we're mad. We've been doing it for years and years and now you know.'

Starting out: Sian seen when she started her stint on the show back in 2001

Starting out: Sian seen when she started her stint on the show back in 2001

'Well now you know': During a montage of Sian's time on the show, her pre-show ritual with Bill Turnbull of shaking their arms was revealed

'Well now you know': During a montage of Sian's time on the show, her pre-show ritual with Bill Turnbull of shaking their arms was revealed

Sian has now quashed speculation she plans to jump ship to ITV's rival
breakfast show Daybreak, saying 'the BBC is in my blood.'

The
47-year old presenter quit her early morning job instead of relocating
to the new BBC studios in Salford, citing family reasons.

It
was rumoured ITV bosses planned to lure the mother-of-four away from
the Corporation after axing presenters Adrian Chiles and Christine
Bleakley from their own struggling breakfast show last year.

Long history: the video showed Williams reporting from events all over the world, including the royal Wedding last May

Long history: the video showed Williams reporting from events all over the world, including the royal Wedding last May

Humorous: Sian's sense of fun was exemplified when she tried on Jay Kay's iconic hat during an interview

Humorous: Sian's sense of fun was exemplified when she tried on Jay Kay's iconic hat during an interview

But
Miss Williams – who will host a Radio 4 show and present the BBC's
Olympics coverage – insisted she has no plans to leave the BBC and said
she was 'really happy' with her new roles.

She
told the Daily Mail: 'I'm with the BBC. I'm really looking forward to
doing the Olympics and going back to the news room, and this new gig on
Radio 4. I'm really happy.'

She added: 'The BBC is in my blood.'

Co-presenters: Memories of presenting alongside Harrison Ford when he was promoting his film about a morning news programme, Morning Glory, in January 2011

Co-presenters: Memories of presenting alongside Harrison Ford when he was promoting his film about a morning news programme, Morning Glory, in January 2011

Best moments: Sian's famous grilling of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was recalled

Best moments: Sian's famous grilling of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was recalled

Best moments: Sian's famous grilling of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was recalled

Miss
Williams joined BBC Breakfast in 2001 and has become a familiar face to
the show's 2.5million viewers alongside co-presenter Bill Turnbull, 56.

However,
the presenter – who has two young children with her TV producer husband
Paul Woolwich, 59 and two sons from a previous marriage – refused to
uproot her family for her job.

Last year, it emerged just 55 per cent of BBC staff have agreed to relocate to the BBC's new MediaCity UK site at Salford Quays.

Love-in: An affectionate moment with actor Rob Brydon was played in the montage

Love-in: An affectionate moment with actor Rob Brydon was played in the montage

Celebrities on the sofa: Sian has interviews countless stars, including Steven Spielberg

Celebrities on the sofa: Sian has interviews countless stars, including Steven Spielberg

Miss Williams will join the Rev Richard Coles as the new co-host of BBC Radio 4 show Saturday Live.

The presenter began her career at local BBC radio stations and worked as a Radio 4 producer for seven years.

 Welsh journalist Sian Williams attending The TRIC Awards in London earlier this week

Welsh journalist Sian Williams attending The TRIC Awards in London earlier this week

Her new deal will also see her presenting regular BBC One news bulletins and co-hosting the London 2012 Olympic coverage.

Picking up a gong for Best Newscaster
at the Television, Radio and Industries Club awards on Tuesday,
she said she hoped she would not cry on her final breakfast appearance.

She said: 'I'm really hoping to hold it back. I think it will be stiff upper lip. We have an anti-blubbing strategy.'

Miss Williams said the BBC's move north had been 'difficult' for her colleagues.

She said: 'I think it's been a difficult decision for everybody. Programmes change and evolve. Everything does.

'So in the end, although it might have been a complex decision for quite a few people, the people I have spoken to are settled with it.'

Miss Williams said she will take a family holiday in Wales before starting her new roles.

She added: 'I've got some leave that I've been stacking up so I'll be taking time off with them.

'We're just going to Wales. I'm just going to chill out there for a while in a cottage with all the family.'

The presenter said: 'I think it will take a bit of adjusting to not waking up at 4am.

'Because if you have done it for so long you wake up at four o'clock in the morning even if you are not intending to.

'So I know that for months after this week I'll be waking up at four in the morning.'

Miss
Williams also said her children prefer to watch kids' show CBeebies
than see their mother on television – and change the channel when she is
on.

She
said: 'Apparently there's a battle in the house between whether they
watch their mum on the programme or whether they watch CBeebies.

'And
if I'm completely honest, CBeebies always wins. So getting two small
kids up in the morning and getting them away from any television is what
I'm going to be doing.'

BBC Breakfast presenters past and present (Left to Right) Angela Rippon, Francis Wilson, Chris Hollins, Glyn Christian, Selena Scott, Sue Cook, Sian Williams, Mike Smith and Bill Turnbull celebrating the programme's 25th in 2008

BBC Breakfast presenters past and present (Left to Right) Angela Rippon, Francis Wilson, Chris Hollins, Glyn Christian, Selena Scott, Sue Cook, Sian Williams, Mike Smith and Bill Turnbull celebrating the programme's 25th in 2008