Sian: ‘I won’t need to go to bed at 7.30 any more’

Breakfast presenter Sian Williams reveals some secrets about her new series, National Treasures Live, and why she’s leaving the BBC1 morning show…

You’re co-hosting the new five-part series National Treasures Live with history enthusiast Dan Snow. What can viewers look forward to?

“Sometimes history can sound a bit dry and dusty, but we want to show it’s anything but. Each episode Dan and I will be live at a different historic location in Britain, ranging from heritage sites and restorations to archaeological digs. In the first week we’re exploring Dover Castle in Kent. As well as looking magnificent, it has a web of fascinating secret underground tunnels underneath it, which were used as a hospital and barracks in World War Two.”

You’ve also got some famous faces sharing their passion for history. Can you tell us who?

“I know that comedians Lenny Henry and Ruby Wax, actors Larry Lamb (EastEnders) and Sheila Hancock, and Masterchef’s Greg Wallace are involved. Sheila’s doing a piece about women spies in World War Two. And it will be interesting to see Greg cooking up some wartime rationing recipes, including squirrel stew. I will be mentioning that I’m vegetarian, however!”

You’re best known for presenting BBC Breakfast with Bill Turnbull. Will it feel strange co-hosting with Dan instead?

“Dan’s really good fun and so enthusiastic. He’s also extremely tall and good-looking, although I’m not saying that Bill isn’t!”

Is it true you’ll be leaving Breakfast when the BBC relocates to Salford?

“Family reasons mean I can’t move with the show next year. My son will be in the middle of his A-levels and our elderly relatives live in the South East. It will have been 10 years since I first sat on the Breakfast sofa, but I’m looking forward to trying other things. It also means I won’t have to go to bed at 7.30pm every evening any more!”

Do you have a favourite moment from your time on Breakfast?

“I should say meeting politicians shouldn’t I? I’ve interviewed three Prime Ministers. But you know what? It was Hollywood star Will Smith. Will was such a charmer. He arrived two hours early and introduced himself to everyone in the studio, and I got to touch his ears! He has very soft ears if you’re interested!”

*National Treasures Live screens at 7.30pm on Wednesday, August 10 on BBC1