Celebrities, sport stars and former BBC colleagues have paid tribute to TV star Louise Minchin as she co-presented her last BBC Breakfast show on BBC One.
Her co-host Dan Walker described her as a “ferocious campaigner, a brilliant journalist, and a really good friend” during her 20 years on the show.
Before her final sign-off on Wednesday, Minchin was surprised by a crowd of colleagues wearing masks of her face.
She expressed gratitude to the viewers for making her “feel welcome in your homes and hearts.”
As she arrived for her final day at the BBC’s Salford studios, she revealed that her BBC pass had not worked.
Minchin was applauded into the newsroom as she began her last shift, which included a surprise appearance from Judge Robert Rinder.
Rinder described her as a “resilient and powerful bad-ass” who had become “part of the tapestry of people’s lives”.
The pair took part in a Sport Relief trek across the Namibian desert last year and later reunited to run a virtual London marathon.
Dame Darcey Bussell and actor Stephen Graham were among the celebrities who paid tribute to her during a montage of her career highlights.
Dame Sarah Storey, Rebecca Adlington, and Adam Peaty were among the athletes who expressed their gratitude.
Former and current BBC Breakfast hosts, including Naga Munchetty and Bill Turnbull, congratulated their colleague.
“It’s always been an absolute joy doing BBC Breakfast with you,” Charlie Stayt said, while Munchetty called Minchin “brilliant,” adding, “And I think you’re going to keep being brilliant away from here.”
Bill Turnbull, her former BBC co-presenter, concluded a moving tribute by saying Minchin is “most of all a warm, sunny person who will always be my friend.”
Turnbull, who departed BBC Breakfast himself in 2016, said she was “a warm and sunny person who’ll always be my friend”.
Minchin fought back tears throughout her final performance but kept her cool during her farewell address.
As she prepared to “leap off this sofa into the great unknown,” she said the show’s viewers were “at the heart of everything we do.”
“Goodbye, have a wonderful day, and I’ll see you somewhere on the other side,” she said from a makeshift open-air studio outside the BBC’s Salford headquarters.
She had previously tweeted a final “sofa selfie” with Walker, thanking her followers for “all your love, support, and messages.”
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Minchin began presenting the BBC One morning show in 2001 and rose to become one of its lead presenters in 2012, when production was relocated to Salford.
She has covered major global news stories such as the last three general elections, Brexit, and the Covid-19 pandemic during her tenure.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror this week, the presenter said her decision to leave had been “a long time in coming”.
She expressed her desire for “shared experiences” with her husband David and their daughters Mia and Scarlett.
“I find the early mornings extremely difficult, and another winter of dark mornings was not what I wanted to do,” she told the newspaper.
She also revealed that having an ankle operation in December made her appreciate “family stuff” she had previously missed out on.