Ben Shepard jokes that he 'never enjoyed' getting up for GMB as he quits show for This Morning

Ben Shephard has hosted Good Morning Britain with former GMTV co-star Kate Garraway since 2014 credit:Bang Showbiz
Ben Shephard has hosted Good Morning Britain with former GMTV co-star Kate Garraway since 2014 credit:Bang Showbiz

Ben Shephard admitted that he "never enjoyed" getting up early for 'Good Morning Britain' as he paid tribute to his colleagues on his last day.

The 49-year-old journalist has been a regular host of the ITV1 breakfast show - which airs from 6am until 9am on weekdays - since its inception in 2014 alongside Kate Garraway and before that hosted GMTV with her for a number of years but left his post on Friday (23.02.24) to take a couple of weeks off before he begins presenting 'This Morning' alongside Cat Deeley in March.

Speaking live on Friday's show, he said: "A friend of mine text me last night saying 'Enjoy your setting alarm for stupid o'clock for the last time' and I thought I actually might. I didn't. It's horrible. The alarm going off has never been anything I've enjoyed but what I have known is that as soon as I get in here I'm going to be surrounded by you brilliant, incredible, gorgeous, talented, challenging, chaotic, annoying, fabulous people who make me better what I do.

"It's not lost on me that I wouldn't be able to do if you lot weren't amazing and hadn't been such fabulous friends and brilliant colleagues. "

The 'Tipping Point' star was joined by a host of his colleagues as he said goodbyes, including the likes of Kate, Susanna Reid as well as long-serving competition presenter Andi Peters.

Ben concluded his goodbye speech by thanking those behind the scenes for running the show and looked forward to "welcoming" viewers back when he starts to host the mid-morning magazine show in the studio next door in a few weeks.

He said: "The extended family here at 'GMB', it's not just us...we just get to do the glorious bit when it goes right but the team behind the cameras and everybody, thank you. And thank you to the viewers for trusting me to wake you up in the morning. I can only cope with this because I know I'm not going very far. These guys are going to do an incredible job, I'm gonna get a lie-in! But in a couple of weeks I will be able to welcome you back from the school run with a cup of tea with Cat next door.

"I know this lot are still going to do the best show they possible can, so thank you for making it so special."

Ben and Cat will be seen from Monday to Thursday on the ITV Daytime show, while Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary will continue in their roles as Friday presenters and holiday cover.

Ben said: "This really feels like a very special moment for Cat and I to be part of the next chapter of 'This Morning'.

"It's an honour to be trusted with the reigns, join Alison and Dermot and all the team that work on and off screen and do such a great job. For the last ten years, I've been waking up with our ITV daytime audience on GMB and I now look forward to spending time with Cat, welcoming the viewers home after the school run or from their early morning routines, with a cup of tea and a mix of everything that makes 'This Morning' so loved."

Cat - who began her career on children's television alongside Ant and Dec and went on to host 'Stars in Their Eyes' before finding further success in the US - is thrilled to be joining the "national institution" and vowed to "take care" of it as well.

She said: "'This Morning 'is a national institution. Whenever it's on, it's like having your friends over - funny, smart, silly, heartfelt, informative and joyful - like all the greatest friendships! 'This Morning' is and always will be the viewer's show.

"Ben and I both know how much people love it, and with the help of an amazing team of people, we're going to do our best to take care of it."

Towards the end of last year, Cat stepped in for a trial run of a week of shows alongside 'Good Morning Britain' host Ben.

The show had been searching for a pair to take on the coveted TV jobs following the departures of long-running hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.