Daybreak dumped 'lightweight' Bleakley because 'she lacked gravitas to cover major news'


By Sara Nathan

Christine Bleakley was axed from Daybreak because she lacked the ‘gravitas’ to cover major news events, it was claimed yesterday.

ITV chiefs wanted to replace the 32-year-old but retain co-host Adrian Chiles.

But Chiles insisted he would not stay on the breakfast programme without his long-time sidekick. As a result, both are set to leave within weeks.

All smiles: Christine Bleakley was cheery as she promoted Boris Johnson's Ride to Work scheme, despite being axed from Daybreak

A source told the Daily Mail: ‘Christine is a lovely girl – but she is much more suited to light entertainment.

‘She does not have the gravitas when it comes to big news. When it comes to big stories and breaking news, it needs to be handled by trained news journalists, who happen to have a warmth to them. The public know this, they need to trust their presenters.’

Chiles hit out last night at the manner in which news of their fate emerged.

She won't be cycling to Daybreak! Christine Bleakley promoting 'Ride To Work' scheme in London today, luckily she has a job from January

'Lacked gravitas': Daybreak bosses are thought to have said Christine Bleakley could not deliver hard-hitting breaking news stories

He said: ‘I’m angry, upset and acutely embarrassed. Myself and Christine were told we would be going in the New Year but we were assured we could go with our dignity intact.

‘That’s obviously not happened. Dark forces have leaked it for their own ends and I am mightily unhappy about it.’

Yesterday it was revealed that Eamonn Holmes, who currently hosts the Sky News breakfast show, and Natasha Kaplinsky, who works for ITV news, have been approached to see if they would be interested in taking over on Daybreak.

Miss Bleakley, who defected to ITV from the BBC in June 2010 to join her former One Show co-star Chiles, is a year and a half into an exclusive £1million-a-year three-year deal with the channel.

Replacements? Natasha Kaplinsky and Eamonn Holmes have been approached to see if they would be interested in taking over on Daybreak

She was announced as the new presenter of Dancing on Ice last week, and will take over from Holly Willoughby in January.

Chiles, 44, will concentrate on fronting ITV’s football coverage and will host another series of his Sunday night chat show next year. He is also half-way through his £6million golden handcuffs deal.

Daybreak has been pulling in half the ratings of BBC Breakfast, which regularly gets two million viewers.

Nothing about the show’s future will be made official until new editor David Kermode arrives in the new year.

Last night, an ITV spokesman refused to comment.

Axed: Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are set to leave Daybreak within weeks