Former Breakfast host Sian Williams quits BBC to front Channel 5 News

Williams is leaving the Corporation to present the commercial broadcaster's flagship news show

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Sian Williams, who co-anchored the BBC’s Breakfast news coverage for a decade, has quit the broadcaster to become the face of Channel 5’s flagship news show.

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Williams will present Channel 5’s daily news programme at 5pm, following in the footsteps of Natasha Kaplinsky, who famously quit the Corporation to join the commercial channel.

According to the broadcaster, Williams will build on the “warmth, authority and innovation’ of the 5 News brand.

The 50-year-old host will replace former GMTV presenter Emma Crosby on the Viacom-owned channel’s bulletins.

Her decision to leave the BBC comes just weeks after another popular face at the corporation, Robert Peston, decided to jump ship to ITV.

Williams, who currently presents BBC1’s weekly discussion show Sunday Morning Live, quit BBC Breakfast because she did not want to move with the show to Salford. But she stayed at the broadcaster to work on other programmes.

Susanna Reid, her replacement as main co-presenter on the Breakfast couch, also quit in 2014 to be the face of ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Williams has presented all the major bulletins at the BBC and has reported from big news events such as the royal wedding along with well-known programmes such as Crimewatch.

While she will front the 5pm bulletin, Matt Barbet will carry on as the host for 5 News Tonight at 6:30pm and The Saturday Show, which broadcasts between 9:30am and 11:30am.

Williams said: “I’ve always admired ITN’s approach to news and 5 News’ output, both domestic and international, is consistently high quality and accessible. With Channel 5 pledging to boost its coverage even further, it’s a terrific opportunity and an exciting challenge to join this talented and impressive team.”

Michelle Chappell, Commissioning Editor of Factual, News and Current Affairs, said: “Sian is one of the UK’s most widely respected news presenters who will add to the wealth of experience, knowledge and insight within the 5 News team.

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“Sian’s ability to deliver the biggest stories of the day with charisma and warmth has made her one of the best known and most versatile broadcasters on British television.”