Susanna Reid pays tribute to late friend and co-star Bill Turnbull: 'He was a rare breed'

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·4-min read

Watch: Susanna Reid pays emotional tribute to Bill Turnbull on Good Morning Britain

Susanna Reid has paid an emotional tribute to her late friend and co-star Bill Turnbull, calling him a "rare breed" and saying that she felt "robbed" of time with him.

The journalist interrupted her summer break from hosting ITV breakfast news show Good Morning Britain to share her thoughts about him on Friday.

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Former BBC Breakfast presenter Turnbull passed away on Wednesday aged 66, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018.

Susanna Reid pays emotional tribute to Bill Turnbull on Good Morning Britain
Susanna Reid pays emotional tribute to Bill Turnbull on Good Morning Britain. (ITV)

Reid co-hosted BBC Breakfast with Turnbull before she moved over to ITV in 2014 and the pair also worked together on Good Morning Britain when he made a number of guest host appearances on the show.

Joining Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard to reflect on Turnbull's life on Friday, Reid described him as "a rare breed skilled at interviewing prime ministers and pop stars on the same sofa in a no nonsense style".

Bill Turnbull and Susanna Reid in their BBC Breakfast co-hosting days. (BBC)
Bill Turnbull and Susanna Reid in their BBC Breakfast co-hosting days. (BBC)

She added: “He threw himself into [work] and was a stickler for it when he was doing it. But for him the most important thing in his life was home, was family, was his wife Sesi and his children, was his dogs, his bees. Everything for Bill was in perspective.”

Reid spoke about the success Turnbull had in encouraging more men to go to the doctor for symptoms of prostate cancer.

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She said: “He very much lived with his cancer, didn't he? He lived every moment that he could. I think we all feel robbed that there was only five years between the diagnosis and losing him. I especially feel for Sesi, his wife and his children and his family today.

Bill Turnbull returned to live TV to host Good Morning Britain with Susanna Reid.  (ITV)
Bill Turnbull guest hosted Good Morning Britain with Susanna Reid a number of times. (ITV)

“I know that there are viewers who will be watching right now, who will have seen him talk about his cancer, seen him talk about that reluctance of men in particular to go to the doctor and will have heard him talking about those symptoms, and whose lives will undoubtedly have been saved because of what he said.”

In her visit to Good Morning Britain, Reid also narrated tribute footage to her friend and said: “It’s interesting listening to that tribute, because I can hear in my voice I was absolutely knocked sideways yesterday by the loss of Bill. I'm so glad that all that humour is in the tribute to him there because he was such a funny person to be around. He was so much fun to be with, and I don't want to sound sombre talking about him, because he had such a sense of humour.”

(left to right) Charlie Stayt, Carol Kirkwood, Bill Turnbull, Simon Jack, Louise Minchin and Chris Hollins with the award for 'Best TV Daytime Programme' at the TRIC (Television and Radio Industries Club) Annual Awards, at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.   (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Charlie Stayt, Carol Kirkwood, Bill Turnbull, Simon Jack, Louise Minchin and Chris Hollins at the TRIC Awards in 2015. (PA Images)

Many of Turnbull's other co-stars have also spoken of their admiration for him, with some - including Reid - appearing for a BBC Breakfast tribute to him on Friday.

Louise Minchin said: "He always was kind with his time. So for example, when I took the decision to leave BBC Breakfast, the first person, one of the first people, I talked about making that decision was Bill, and you know, he was ill at the time, but he took time out of his day to have a long conversation with me about that."

Reid added during the BBC Breakfast tribute: “He mentored everybody on the programme, he was like the father of BBC Breakfast.

“He taught me everything, he taught so many of us everything about journalism, about television and about being a decent person in this industry… he was kind, compassionate and wise and a great friend, and I loved every minute of being with him, and we are really going to miss him.”

Watch: Bill Turnbull: BBC Breakfast pays tribute to late presenter's one-liners