Naga Munchetty fights back tears as she announces death of former BBC colleague Bill Turnbull

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read

Watch: BBC presenters announce death of Bill Turnbull live on air

BBC Breakfast presenters Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt were visibly emotional as they announced the death of former colleague Bill Turnbull on Thursday morning.

The presenters were on air when news of Turnbull’s death from cancer reached the studio – and the pair were visibly emotional as they told viewers.

A sombre Munchetty read out a statement from Turnbull’s wife Sarah, which read: "Our lovely Billy died yesterday, almost five years after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

"The last week of his life was very special, as the whole family was with him and we shared some wonderful moments.”

Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty were visibly emotional as they broke the news of Bill Turnbull's death. (BBC)
Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty were visibly emotional as they broke the news of Bill Turnbull's death. (BBC)

Stayt continued the rest of the statement to devastated viewers before Munchetty shared the news again to viewers who had just tuned in, saying: “Our friend, our former colleague, breakfast presenter who many of you will be familiar with, Bill Turnbull, who we've just had the news, has died after suffering with prostate cancer.”

Turnbull, 66, was a fixture on BBC Breakfast for 15 years, before bidding farewell to the show in 2016.

He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017, speaking in 2018 about his treatment in a Channel 4 documentary called Staying Alive.

Bill Turnbull died on Wednesday following a battle with prostate cancer. (PA)
Bill Turnbull died on Wednesday following a battle with prostate cancer. (PA)

Turnbull’s family announced that he had “passed away peacefully at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family on Wednesday, 31 August” after a “challenging and committed fight against prostate cancer”.

Munchetty, paying tribute to the former host live on air, said: “I can only say as a team we are in shock this morning, we know what he meant to so many of you viewers.

“I can honestly say after having worked with Bill so closely as Mike (Bushell) you did, Charlie (Stayt), we all did, he cared so much about this programme and the audience.”

Bill Turnbull, with (l-r) Louise Minchin, Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt, was a presenter on BBC Breakfast until 2016. (PA/BBC)
Bill Turnbull with Louise Minchin, Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt, was a presenter on BBC Breakfast until 2016. (PA/BBC)

Addressing viewers at the end of Thursday’s show, Stayt said: “He was a wise head, he didn’t take himself too seriously when he sat here, which is a great combination.”

Munchetty added: “Of course all of us here are sending love and support to Bill’s family, to Sesi his wife, and I think today after we get over the shock of this, we will start remembering the really funny things that Bill did.

Bill Turnbull was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017. (PA)
Bill Turnbull was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017. (PA)

“When I was presenting with him, his energy was amazing, he came into this programme and threw everything at it.

"Every single day, he was funny when we sat here on sofa, he was a brilliant journalist, and he loved this programme and he loved serving you, the audience. So I’m sure you will miss him, and we certainly will too.”

The BBC show will run a special programme in honour of Turnbull on Friday.