Steph McGovern speaks out on quitting ‘killer’ BBC Breakfast role: ‘I had enough’

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Steph McGovern, 38, admitted that working on BBC Breakfast was a “killer” as she got up at 3.30am each morning to prepare for the 6am start. The TV presenter said she would often “live out of a suitcase” while travelling around the country filming, and eventually decided she was ready to quit the programme to focus on spending more time at home and her own show.

I was forever living in hotels

Steph McGovern

Steph was asked by famed comedian Suzi Ruffell on her podcast what time she would usually wake up to begin filming early morning show BBC Breakfast.

The presenter responded: “Like half three, as a comedian, you will see the other end of that, so at half three you will be finishing when I’m starting!

Suzi said: “Yeah getting in from a tour show, if you have got something the next day and you have got to be in town for it, you have got to be in London and you’re in Hull, you just sort of get in the car and drive down. It’s totally different working hours.”

Steph continued: “It’s funny the sights you see because you do see people hammered when you’re around at that time, but equally you finish really early. 

“So sometimes I would be done by half nine and be home for ten in my PJs back in bed. So I mean I loved it, it was brilliant but it definitely was a killer, because I did that job for eight years. 

“I spent most of my time travelling around the country. So I was forever living in hotels, and then getting up in the middle of the night and I just thought, ‘I love that programme but I’ve had enough now’.”

However, Steph shared that there was an upside to filming live television, in that sometimes things could “go wrong” and create hilarious on-screen moments for viewers.

She divulged: “The thing about live tele is I love it when things go wrong, not horrendous things obviously, but I remember once I was broadcasting from this shopping centre and this woman with her little neon bobble hat just kept following me around and standing in the background.

“I thought, ‘This is really funny like I’m talking about something really boring here and actually have you in the background’.”

Suzi interjected: “You’re jazzing it up.”

Steph continued: “Yeah and everyone starts noticing it on tele and starts messaging and you just think, yes I’m here to give you information but also I like to make people smile a bit, just to have a bit of a laugh because everything is so bl**dy serious.”

Steph began working for the BBC on the Tomorrow’s World programme as a researcher in current affairs.

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She then went on to become the producer of business news on BBC’s Onesix and ten o’clock news bulletins, working with the then business editor, Robert Peston.

Steph became BBC Breakfast‘s main business presenter in 2010, as well as a regular presenter of the entire show.

In 2019, Steph left BBC Breakfast to begin working on Channel 4 on her own programme.

She had originally been expected to host Steph’s Talks from spring 2020 at Channel 4’s new base in Leeds.

But owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, it meant she began presenting The Steph Show from her front room instead on 30 March 2020.

The show eventually launched in September 2020 as Steph’s Packed Lunch.

Steph’s Packed Lunch airs on Channel 4 weekdays at 12.30pm.

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