Alan Yentob has defended the BBC’s decision to withdraw its offer of a new contract to Christine Bleakley – saying it did not want to become a ‘patsy’.
The BBC’s creative director said that a ‘talented’ team of people, including Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, who is set to present The One Show on Fridays, had been waiting for Christine’s decision.
Adrian Chiles quit the teatime BBC One show when it emerged that Evans was being brought in to co-present the slot on Friday evenings.
On Monday Christine, 31, announced she would join her pal Adrian, 43, on a revamped GMTV, after the BBC withdrew its offer of a new contract.
Yentob told Radio 5 Live: “I am disappointed in a way, certainly she’s talented, Christine, and we wanted her to stay, but we had been in these discussions for a very long time.
“Christine’s had every opportunity to say she wanted to stay so we felt that time had run out, that’s why we withdrew the offer.
“The offer had been discussed thoroughly. Christine had said long ago that she wanted to carry on and people were waiting, including Chris Evans, talented people, a team of people.
“In the end the most important thing was her commitment and secondly when you do announce that you haven’t made your mind up and you’re negotiating with someone else as well you feel a bit of a patsy if you are sitting down.
“We stopped and said ‘do you want to come?’ and we didn’t hear so we just felt that was the right decision (to withdraw the offer).
“People will give her every support and we wish her luck in ITV.”