Ex-BBC Breakfast hosts now – cancer, near-death experience and stalker hell

Millions of Brits have tuned in to watch our favourite TV presenters on BBC Breakfast for more than two decades – but many don't realise the traumas they've gone through off-screen.

We’ve seen a slew of stars sit in the morning hot seat, each one bringing their own unique spin and personality to the coveted role.

Having said goodbye to several beloved hosts over the years, we’ve witnessed these veteran broadcasters face a series of successes from publishing a book and returning to education, to a series of tragedies including battling cancer and a terrifying court ordeal with a stalker.

Let’s take a look at where some of the UK's most memorable former BBC Breakfast stars are now…

Susanna Reid

Fiery Susanna Reid was a co-presenter of BBC Breakfast from 2003 until 2014 alongside beloved former host, Bill Turnbull.

Shortly after, Reid made a move over to ITV to front rival breakfast programme Good Morning Britain, where she has co-hosted alongside a string of presenters including Piers Morgan and Ben Shephard

The 51-year-old star has since appeared on a special episode of Tipping Point and in 2017 co-presented Save Money: Good Food alongside Matt Tebbutt.

Fans may also remember Susanna finishing as a runner-up on the eleventh series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2013.

The star also made a surprising appearance on numerous popular British shows including a cameo in TV soap Hollyoaks where she presented a "breaking news" segment warning viewers of the tornado-like storm that was set to rock the village.

In July 2020, Reid appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox alongside her friend, barrister and TV Judge Robert Rinder, who recently swapped the courtroom for the TV studio after making his debut as the newest presenter of Good Morning Britain.

Susanna recently made headlines after opening up about a terrifying near death experience 25 years ago when a man slashed her top and attempted to mug her with a knife.

"I had just taken a load of cash out of a cash machine to go out for a night out. And a young lad came up to me and got my bag off me.

"And as he ran away, I ran after him. And in fact, he dropped my bag, he took the money.

"But I looked down at the bag, and at my coat. And there was a knife slash across my body, through my clothes and through my bag," she revealed.

Bill Turnbull

The beloved star joined the BBC Breakfast team in 2001 and presented alongside a slew of stars including Sian Williams and Susanna Reid.

It was announced in September 2015 that Turnbull would be leaving the breakfast show in 2016 after 15 years in the role.

Since his departure the 65-year-old veteran broadcaster began narrating the CBBC sketch comedy series Class Dismissed and began presenting the daytime BBC One quiz show Think Tank.

In July 2016, Turnbull narrated another CBBC mockumentary comedy series based on Paignton Zoo called The Zoo.

Turnbull shocked viewers when he announced in 2018 that he was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer the previous year.

After joining Classic FM as a radio presenter in 2016, he announced he would be stepping down from the role due to "health reasons".

He took to Twitter to share the news, writing: "With great regret I am taking a leave of absence from my show @classicfm, for health reasons. The road has been a bit bumpy recently, and I need to take some time to focus on getting better."

Louise Minchin

Loveable Louise Minchin was a regular anchor on the BBC One breakfast show from 2012, appearing alongside this year's Strictly Come Dancing star Dan Walker.

In June, the 53-year-old announced live on air that she would be leaving BBC Breakfast.

"It will be this year 20 years since I first presented this programme,” said Louise at the time. “I have loved being a part of it, but there is a but. You know about the but. I have decided it is time that I stop setting my alarm for 3.40am."

The star made her last appearance in September 2021.

Fans have since seen Minchin appearing as a contestant on the 21st series of I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and watched her undertake a series of gory challenges alongside fellow celebrities including Naught Boy and Snoochie Shy.

It’s not all been smooth sailing for the TV star, who faced a terrifying ordeal when she was targeted by a stalker.

Accused Carl Davies pleaded guilty to stalking by sending intimidating comments to Louise and her adult daughter on Instagram, in July 2020.

He was ordered not to mention either women or encourage others to do so on social media, or contact them directly or indirectly.

Davies was also ordered not to go to the Cheshire village where Louise lives.

He will be sentenced on December 15.

Previously, a hearing was told the presenter lived in a “constant state of anxiety”.

Sian Williams

A beloved face of the BBC show, Williams joined BBC Breakfast in 2001 and left her role in 2012 after an 11-year stint.

Since leaving the hosting hot seat, the 57-year-old has presented Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4 and ventured outside of news and current affairs by hosting a slew of popular telly shows including The One Show, Big Welsh Challenge and City Hospital.

The star embarked on a two-year stint presenting Saturday Morning Live in 2014 and went on to become the new main presenter of 5 News in 2015.

Williams regularly appears on ITV alongside health guru Ranj Singh to co-present ITV’s Save Money: Good Health.

In a shocking announcement in 2016, Williams revealed she had undergone a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, a week after her 50th birthday.

She said she had always thought she was healthy as she "did all the right things”.

The star revealed: “I was a green tea drinker, a salmon eater, a runner."

She said her main fear was not seeing her two youngest children grow up.

In 2016, Williams wrote a critically acclaimed book on dealing with adversity, titled Rise: Surviving and Thriving after Trauma.

The star decided to then further her education in 2018 when she began studying for a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at City, University of London.

BBC Breakfast airs each day from 6am on BBC1

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