Dan Walker said hosting a show like BBC Breakfast was a “dream” of his as he closed his final programme.
The corporation’s flagship breakfast show delivered a special programme to send off the broadcaster after six years as he leaves to join Channel 5 to become the lead anchor on 5 News.
The 45-year-old admitted he does not know who would be replacing him but said he hopes they care about the programme, the people they work with, and viewers.
What a wonderful programme to be a part of 😍 https://t.co/9NCnybTVb9
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) May 17, 2022
Walker closed his final show on Tuesday morning sat beside his current co-presenter Sally Nugent and former long-term co-host Louise Minchin, who made a surprise appearance, while surrounded by the show’s production team.
He said: “It’s always been my dream to do a job like this and work with people like you guys, so thank you.
“It’s come around a lot more quickly than I thought. It does feel a bit surreal, the fact that I won’t be sitting on the sofa anymore, that I won’t be sitting next to you after today, that this is my last day.”
Earlier this month, Walker announced his move to Channel 5, where he will present the recently relaunched flagship news bulletin 5 News, as well as “fronting a range of new programming on the channel”.
Tuesday’s BBC Breakfast reflected on some of Walker’s best moments with a video montage and video messages and calls from key people from his career.
Walker watched on as they played footage including snippets from his interview with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, of him dancing in the studio, and members of the public describing him as a “6.7 ray of sunshine on our screens”
The presenter became visibly emotional as they looked back on his friendship with pensioner Tony Foulds and Terrence, who he helped at Christmas in 2019 after finding out he had spent the last 20 Christmases alone.
His Strictly Come Dancing dance partner Nadiya Bychkova video called him during the show to recall the “amazing time” they had together competing in the last season.
The famous faces also offering their best wishes included Strictly’s Anton Du Beke and Shirley Ballas, Match Of The Day pundit Alan Shearer, and Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell who he previously co-hosted The NFL show alongside.
Minchin also thanked him for the support he gave her during their time on the sofa while reflecting on his “real gift” of being able to “give people confidence”.
Following the messages, Walker added: “I’m really thankful that I’ve had so many incredible memories of working on this programme and wonderful moments that this role has given me.
“And we all know that there aren’t many jobs where you get the chance to give a voice to people who don’t have a voice and to tell other people’s stories, and I think that’s what we all love doing more than anything else.
“And it’s been a real privilege to sit here and to present this programme, which we all know means an awful lot to so many people who watch.”
The broadcaster thanked viewers for tuning in and for their “kind messages” and support.
Walker also praised and thanked the production and gallery team for being “amazing and lovely” and “making the show what it is”.
“I think at a time when trust and truth have never been more important, it’s great to work with a team who I know – and I see this every single day – that we do everything and you do everything to make sure that what we do and what we say is fair and accurate and that is so important”, he said.
Walker also paid tribute to his co-presenters, including BBC Breakfast’s weather woman Carol Kirkwood, who he described as the “backbone” of the programme and a “true friend” from the moment he arrived.
The broadcaster turned to Minchin, with whom he fronted the show for many years, recalling the “amazing” time they spent together and the friendship they have formed.
He also praised Nugent for being “brilliant” at the job, revealing he was “so happy” she took over from Minchin in September and that they got to have a “wonderful time together” over the last few months.
Thanks SusannaI’ve got a massive hammer at the ready https://t.co/N2oLwzGT2m
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) May 17, 2022
Walker closed his final moments on the show by saying: “I think we could have gone on to have many years enjoying time together on this sofa but things change, and change can be tough sometimes, but it’s also good.
“You can take this show and you can make it amazing like you’ve already done.
“And I think millions of people enjoy watching you and you’re a very special person and we all know that and I want you to have every success in the years to come.
“And getting up at three can be tough sometimes but I’ve loved that because of you and you and everybody watching as well.
“So keep watching. Thank you very much for a lovely send off. Thank you for having me and see you all soon, guys.”