BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin addresses why she quit as she admits it was ‘stressful’

Louise Minchin has shared that she found working for BBC Breakfast “hard” and “stressful”, but insisted that she “really misses the team.” The British journalist left the programme in September 2021 after almost twenty years.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Louise opened up about how she “never got used” to the early wake-up hours and surviving on little sleep. She also shared that exercise was a great way for her to release the pressure.

She said: “There’s no doubt that being on air for three and a quarter hours every day is mentally a big pressure. I found that all the training and everything was a brilliant way of kind of releasing that pressure.

“I would go for a swim or run whatever it was, and it would mean that I could sort of decompress. So, actually training alongside BBC Breakfast was brilliant and I had a kind of routine.”

Louise also said she found it “stressful” trying to concentrate on BBC Breakfast when surviving on little sleep. The programme airs from 6am until 9am each morning, with some presenters sharing that they wake up at a punishing 3:15am.

She said: “What the stress was having to concentrate for three and a quarter hours when you’ve got so many things going on. News stories are changing all the time doing 12 different interviews on 12 different subjects.

“You know, there’s that pressure. There are six million people watching. […] Dan and I both found them [early wake-ups] really hard. We had sort of different approaches. I mean, he survived on very little sleep.

“I knew that the only way that I could get through it was to try and sleep. I had to be incredibly disciplined about that. One of the reasons I eventually gave up was because I talked to a sleep scientist who talked to me. He said, ‘Louise if you weren’t presenting BBC Breakfast, what time would you naturally wake up?’

“And I said 9:15am – which is when the programme ends! I’ve already done my whole working day and he just said to me, ‘Well, you are struggling with biology.’ I personally never got used to it, even after 20 years.”

When asked if she misses BBC Breakfast, it was a no brainer. She said: “I really miss the team. I really miss, you know, Sally [Nugent] and John [Kay] and Dan and Carol [Kirkwood]. And the wider team as well the breakfast team.”

Louise’s co-host Dan Walker also shared that he struggled with sleep deprivation before he departed the show last year. Last month whilst on This Morning, he candidly spoke about how “emotional” it got waking up at 3am.

He said: “By Wednesday, I was, like, full zombie mode, and also you get really emotional. I was at the end of the show, you’re like in the toilet just crying about anything. Not every day. I think when you are sleep-deprived, you get a little bit emotional.”

Dan also detailed that he now wakes up at 5:30am for his current job on Classic FM, which he described as a lie-in. Last year, Dan announced that he would be quitting BBC Breakfast after six years and would be joining Channel 5’s new bulletin.

Louise has recently teamed up with Intrepid Travel to encourage women to pursue their own travel dreams in light of a lack of representation in the travel TV space.

Their findings found only 13% of women say they regularly see themselves represented in travel or adventure shows, but a third (33%) say they feel more adventurous than ever.

When it comes to who’s fronting travel TV programmes, of the 84 travel related TV shows currently available to stream across the two biggest UK channels, only 18 had a female presenter (21%). The most commonly named and recognised presenters were Bear Grylls, Simon Reeve and David Attenborough in a survey. 

Speaking about the campaign, Louise said: “I think it’s really important as a woman to see other women represented in having adventures, you know, wherever it is in the world and you can have an adventure in the UK as well.”

Louise’s story will be part of Intrepid Travel’s free AdventurHER Exhibition highlighting the incredible stories of female adventurers from around the world. The exhibition is open 19th – 21st April in Camden Passage, Angel, London.

Via

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