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Bill Turnbull’s best moments as the presenter dies aged 66

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TV presenter and journalist Bill Turnbull has died aged 66 after a ‘challenging and committed fight against prostate cancer’, his family said today.

His relatives said the former BBC Breakfast host died ‘peacefully’ at home in Suffolk yesterday – following his cancer diagnosis in November 2017.

Turnbull, who appeared on the programme from 2001 until 2016, revealed he was suffering from the condition in March 2018 and detailed his treatment in a Channel 4 documentary called Staying Alive.

In October last year he announced he was taking a leave of absence from his show on Classic FM for health reasons.

Across a four-decade career, he presented from the front line of British and foreign politics, as well as hosting an array of lighter gameshows and religious programmes. 

During his 15 years on the BBC morning programme, the nation had woken up to Turnbull’s calm, reassuring manner – and some heartwarming and hilarious moments.

Elsewhere, in 2005, he competed as a contestant in the third series of Strictly Come Dancing. Partnered with Karen Hardy, he was the seventh celebrity voted off the show. 

Here, FEMAIL takes a look back at his funniest and most heartwarming moments… 

BILL’S STRICTLY COME DANCING APPEARANCE

Bill partnered Karen Hardy on the third series of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2005 and the pair lasted seven weeks on the programme

During one humorous moment on the show, a judge declared there was no passion in one of Bill and Karen's (pictured together) dances

During one humorous moment on the show, a judge declared there was no passion in one of Bill and Karen’s (pictured together) dances

Bill partnered Karen Hardy on the third series of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2005 and the pair lasted seven weeks on the programme.

The BBC One show paid tribute to the late presenter. The show’s official Twitter account said: ‘Sending heartfelt condolences to Bill Turnbull’s family and friends.

‘A truly brilliant broadcaster turned ballroom dancer when he joined us on series three of Strictly.’

During one humorous moment on the show, a judge declared there was no passion in one of his dances.

A shocked Bill replied: ‘No passion? Did you see the beginning of the dance? Did you see it?’

Backstage he continued: ‘I can’t, I mean I know it wasn’t the best I’ve danced it, the steps were all there, the routine was there.

‘What are they on? What are they on? I really don’t know what they want, I really don’t know what they want. I’m cross.’

A clip of the dance was then shown the following Monday on BBC Breakfast, much to Bill’s disapproval.

BILL OPENED UP ABOUT HIS CANCER DIAGNOSIS ON GREAT CELEBRITY BAKE OFF

When appearing on the Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer in 2018, Bill left viewers in tears after opening up about his 'heartbreaking' cancer diagnosis

When appearing on the Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer in 2018, Bill left viewers in tears after opening up about his ‘heartbreaking’ cancer diagnosis

Great British Bake Off: Stand Up To Cancer 2018: Roisin Conaty, Harry Hill, Bill Turnbull and Martin Kemp

Great British Bake Off: Stand Up To Cancer 2018: Roisin Conaty, Harry Hill, Bill Turnbull and Martin Kemp

When appearing on the Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer in 2018, Bill left viewers in tears after opening up about his ‘heartbreaking’ cancer diagnosis.

The presenter became emotional as he described the moment he had to tell his children that he was suffering from advanced prostate cancer.

‘I remember my daughter came and I said, “Well, I’ve got to tell you – I’ve got cancer”. And I had to tell my sons on the phone… we all cried,’ he admitted. 

The presenter added: ‘If it was to all end tomorrow I would not feel hard done by because I’ve had an amazing life.’ 

‘I’ve been incredibly lucky and if one thing comes out of this it’s that actually if you know you’re time is limited you appreciate so much more the world around you and particularly the love of my family,’ he said.

After his doctor told him he had cancer, he recalled: ‘I thought now I’ve got to deal with the future of having much less of a future than I thought I had.

‘And then this, like, dark cloud comes down. So, it’s a very difficult moment and those first few days after diagnosis are really horrible. Probably the worst days of my life.’

BILL MADE EMOTIONAL FAREWELL TO BBC BREAKFAST AFTER 15 YEARS

Bill Turnbull and Louise Minchin presenting his final edition of BBC Breakfast in February 2016

Bill Turnbull and Louise Minchin presenting his final edition of BBC Breakfast in February 2016

The much-loved presenter waved goodbye to the programme which he had presented for the last 15 years

The much-loved presenter waved goodbye to the programme which he had presented for the last 15 years

In February 2016, Bill made an emotional farewell to BBC Breakfast viewers on his final show. 

The much-loved presenter waved goodbye to the programme which he had presented for the last 15 years.

Susanna Reid led the tributes wishing the broadcaster well in the future, telling her old colleague that she felt ‘privileged to have shared sofa time’ with him, after the pair spent 10 years working together from 2004 to 2014.

In emotional scenes, Bill was visibly moved as praise from everyone from then Prime Minister David Cameron to James Corden flooded in, along with well-wishers who took to Twitter to bid him goodbye.

Closing the programme, an emotional Bill said: ‘I’ve always believed it’s a privilege to broadcast anywhere on the airwaves; to present this programme though has been a special honour.

‘I’ve had a wonderful time with my colleagues who’ve had a lot to put up with over the years. Above all though, thank you for letting me into your home in the morning, whether it’s in the kitchen, or the living room, or, as I’m often told, the bedroom. 

‘Whether you’ve been with us for the past 15 years or just this morning, I hope you’ve found it worthwhile. It certainly has been for me.’ 

BILL EMOTIONALLY URGED MEN TO GET PROSTATE EXAMS AMID HIS TERMINAL CANCER BATTLE

In November 2020, a candid Bill urged men to go for prostate exams following his battle with terminal cancer in an emotional interview

In November 2020, a candid Bill urged men to go for prostate exams following his battle with terminal cancer in an emotional interview 

In November 2020, a candid Bill urged men to go for prostate exams following his battle with terminal cancer in an emotional interview.

The broadcaster spoke to Gethin Jones and Kym Marsh on BBC Morning Live, where he admitted he had experienced symptoms for months before his diagnosis.  

He said: ‘I didn’t get checked which is why I’m in the situation I’m in now. And we were working out the other day; the first symptoms were maybe six months, eight months before I got diagnosed, with aches and pains that didn’t go away.

‘And actually there were other warning signs in the previous years as well that I should have paid attention to.’ 

‘Men don’t want to go to the doctors, as simple as that. I didn’t want to go to the doctor. Now I’m going to the doctor all the time. They all know me on a first name basis.’  

Symptoms of prostate cancer include a painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation, frequent urination, particularly at night, difficulty stopping or starting urination, sudden erectile dysfunction or blood in urine or semen.

The star urged viewers to visit the doctor for a prostate exam, saying: ‘If you’re worried about your dad, or your husband or your uncle… for heaven’s sake. Tell them to go and get checked. 

‘It doesn’t hurt anybody and it can save you so much grief later in the day. 

‘I’ve had so many people get in touch and say “yeah I got checked, I got diagnosed and we caught it early, and as a result, the future is a lot brighter” but if you don’t do that, then it’s a different picture.’ 

GMB TURNED INTO CHAOS AFTER BILL LOST HIS EARPIECE LIVE

In February 2020, the Good Morning Britain studio was turned upside down in a bid to find presenter Bill Turnbull's earpiece

In February 2020, the Good Morning Britain studio was turned upside down in a bid to find presenter Bill Turnbull’s earpiece 

He managed to lose his earpiece during one of the ad breaks, with the whole crew forced to look for it

He managed to lose his earpiece during one of the ad breaks, with the whole crew forced to look for it 

In February 2020, the Good Morning Britain studio was turned upside down in a bid to find presenter Bill’s earpiece.

Bill, who was standing in for then regular host Piers Morgan, delighted viewers with his return to their screens after leaving BBC Breakfast in 2016.

But he was having ‘one of those Wednesdays’, revealing that along with his earpiece,  he had also lost his contact lenses, before joking his false teeth had disappeared ahead of the programme.

To make matters worse, he managed to lose his earpiece during one of the ad breaks, with the whole GMB crew forced to search for it before they came back on air.

His co-host Susanna, who previously worked with him on the BBC Breakfast show, told the audience: ‘You know they call Wednesday hump day? Bill is really having one of those Wednesdays. You’d forgotten to put your teeth in and you were having trouble reading.’

Bill chimed in: ‘I hadn’t got my contact lenses in, so I was having to wear glasses, then the earpiece popped out during the break.’

The programme then re-played footage from during the advert break – with Benny Hill music as the backdrop – when dozens of crew members drafted in to help find the earpiece.

Susanna added: ‘If you think we staged this, we absolutely did not. This is what just happened during the break.’

During the clip, Bill joked to one producer: ‘Keep your hands to yourself! Delving into my pockets like that.’ He then told viewers: ‘People at home, please look around the back of the telly.’

But suddenly an ‘eagle-eyed’ member of the team called Ian came rushing in saying: ‘I’ve just seen it, it’s under your script.’

The small earpiece, the size of a 5p coin, had become lodged between two of Bill’s scripts on his desk.

He asked in amazement: ‘How did it get there?’, before adding: ‘Here, have it back!’ and pretending to throw it to the producer.

BILL APPEARED TO SAY ‘C***’ ON LIVE TV

Bill was left red-faced after appearing to say 'c***' on live television when presenting the BBC morning show in July 2015

Bill was left red-faced after appearing to say ‘c***’ on live television when presenting the BBC morning show in July 2015

Bill was left red-faced after appearing to say ‘c***’ on live television when presenting the BBC morning show in July 2015.

Speaking on the topic of health problems, Bill read out information sent in by a viewer but as he neared the end of his sentence, appeared to stumble over his words.

The Guildford-born broadcaster appeared to say ‘c***’ instead of ‘client’ while referring to reaction to a public health story.

He read: ‘He’s been a barber for 32 years. He’s spotted cancer on two customers. “I regularly speak to clients on illness and pass the knowledge on to other c***s… er clients as well”.’

After realising he possibly made a slip-up, Bill could be seen nervously smiling at the camera, while his colleague continued speaking. 

In a statement, the BBC said he had ‘unintentionally stumbled’ over his words. It was one of his most memorable moments on BBC Breakfast.

BILL STUNNED VIEWERS WHEN TEASING WEATHER FORECASTER OVER HER FIGURE-HUGGING DRESS 

In 2014, Bill enjoyed an innuendo-filled exchange with Carol Kirkwood when he told her there seemed to be 'a lot of interest' in her isobars, as she presented the weather on BBC Breakfast

In 2014, Bill enjoyed an innuendo-filled exchange with Carol Kirkwood when he told her there seemed to be ‘a lot of interest’ in her isobars, as she presented the weather on BBC Breakfast

In 2014, Bill enjoyed an innuendo-filled exchange with Carol Kirkwood when he told her there seemed to be ‘a lot of interest’ in her isobars, as she presented the weather on BBC Breakfast.

The journalist appeared to turn on the flirtatious charm as he then asked the weather presenter, dressed in a figure-hugging red dress, if her isobars were ‘tightly packed.’

She then seemed to indulge Bill, as she responded giggling and told him they were ‘getting a good squeeze.’

Carol had been presenting the weather and asked viewers to take note of the isobars on the weather map, which indicated unseasonably mild temperatures are on the way. 

The exchange led to a number of comments on Twitter, praising the weather presenter’s appearance Others also noted the innuendo-ridden conversation between the pair. 

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