Chiles quits BBC to hostITV World Cup coverage
BBC presenter jumps ship in a ‘fit of pique’ to become ITV’s ‘Mr Football’
Adrian Chiles, one of the BBC's highest-profile presenters, has stunned the corporation by quitting in a "fit of pique" to join ITV, where he will take a seat on the GMTV sofa and front their World Cup coverage. After the Beeb's divorce with Jonathan Ross the loss of another big name is a blow to the broadcaster. But Chiles made it clear in a statement that he was irked about his recent treatment and said his departure came at an "awkward period" in his relationship with the organisation. Earlier this month the BBC announced that Chiles was being replaced as host of The One Show on a Friday by Chris Evans. But evidently the decision to remove him from the show he has fronted since its inception four years ago was too much. In a statement, Chiles, who also presents Match of the Day 2, made it clear why he had left. "I would have been happy to stay at the BBC doing the same shows on the same terms, especially The One Show," he said. "It's no secret how disappointed I was by the controller's decision to change an apparently successful and well-loved show at this stage, but I fully respect her right to do so." He added: "The chance to front ITV's football coverage and GMTV would have proved an irresistible opportunity at the best of times. But, coming as it did at an awkward period for me at the BBC, it made the decision to leave not quite as hard as it might have been." One BBC insider said it appeared that Chiles had quit "in a fit of pique". Chiles will earn £1m a year at ITV and will present GMTV five mornings a week in addition to becoming the broadcaster's main football presenter. He will also host a factual entertainment series, which will air in 2011. The man who lured Chiles away from the BBC is Peter Fincham, the former controller of BBC1, who oversaw the launch of The One Show. He is now director of television at ITV. It is thought he had been hoping to attract Chiles over to the the channel for some time and struck as soon as it emerged that the presenter was unhappy about the changes to The One Show. In 2008 Chiles was named as the 'most-watched man on television' and his Brummie tones – he’s well known for his support of West Brom - are likely to become even more ubiquitous as he takes over from Steve Rider as the face of ITV's football coverage, starting this summer.