BBC presenter Simon McCoy announces he is leaving for GB News after 17 years

BBC broadcaster Simon McCoy – best known as Britain’s grumpiest and most sarcastic news presenter – is joining GB News after 18 years at the corporation, it was revealed today.

The 59-year-old, famed for his dry sense of humour on live TV especially when it comes to delivering news about the Royal Family, had to confirm his departure after his floor manager wished him luck on his last day. 

Mr McCoy, who joined the BBC in 2004, presented the News at One for the last time this afternoon and has been showered with praise by colleagues and viewers on social media, who shared clips of his funniest moments. 

He signed off with a smile, telling BBC 1 viewers: ‘From me, it’s good afternoon – and goodbye’.

GB News, the broadcaster run by former BBC presenter Andrew Neil, announced Mr McCoy would be joining them just as he started his last show at 1pm. He is arguably the biggest name to join the new broadcaster along with Sky News stalwart Colin Brazier and new MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton, formerly of The Sun and talkRADIO. The channel will launch in freeview later this year amid claims they are trying to woo Piers Morgan after he left ITV.

John McAndrew, director of news and programmes at GB News, said: ‘Simon’s journalistic integrity, warmth and personality is a perfect fit for what we’re doing. He’s a brilliant journalist with an exceptional ability to relate to people in an upbeat way so we’re keen to get him out from behind a desk and talking to people from all parts of the United Kingdom.’

Mr McCoy, a twice married father-of-one famed for his dry delivery an on-air jokes, began his career as a press agency, joined ITV and then Sky News before moving to the BBC 18 years ago. He has recently found love with Eighties pin-up Emma Samms, who starred in US drama Dynasty, and friends say he will soon become her fourth husband, and she will be his third wife.

The veteran journalist has made several infamous gags and on-air gaffes, including the famous moment he started a news report by holding a packet of A4 photocopier paper he thought was his iPad. Once he was so desperately annoyed by a news report on a dog surfing competition, he sighed his way through the report. 

McCoy is also known for his sarcastic commentary of royal events, including urging BBC viewers to ‘clear their diaries’ for the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child Louis, adding that people should ‘get the time off – because that’s what I’m doing’. He also couldn’t stop giggling when Kate’s sister Pippa had her first child.

On another occasion the journalist reported that the Queen had been forced to cancel garden parties at Buckingham Palace, saying with sass: ‘It may affect you, but it doesn’t affect me.’  Once he cried with laughter during a feature on a pianist who played for monkeys in Thailand.

At the end of last year he made viewers laugh when he said that the BBC had made a ‘special’ best of 2020 film for them to enjoy.  He had brief pause and a trademark sigh he looked down the camera and said ‘exactly’ when no film appeared because it had been such a miserable 12 months because of Covid-19.

His exit was revealed by his colleague, Niall Jackson, sparking a frenzy online with people sharing their favourite McCoy moments. The presenter replied to many thanking them for their best wishes and saying he was leaving ‘after 18 years.. Last day today’.

Mr Jackson had tweeted this morning: ‘If you think he’s a handful on-screen, imagine what he’s like off it? Only got to floor manager 4 years of his 17+ at BBC News so was nice to do his final week’.

BBC News presenter Simon McCoy has announced he is leaving the corporation after 18 years - but has not said where he is going

BBC News presenter Simon McCoy has announced he is leaving the corporation after 18 years – but has not said where he is going

McCoy has been known for his on-air gaffes, including when picked up a ream of a A4 paper instead of his iPad by mistake. He carried on with a straight face in a clip that made headlines around the globe

McCoy has been known for his on-air gaffes, including when picked up a ream of a A4 paper instead of his iPad by mistake. He carried on with a straight face in a clip that made headlines around the globe

McCoy has found love with Eighties pin-up Emma Samms (pictured together)¿ and friends say he will soon become her fourth husband

Emma, 59, was one of the biggest television stars of the Eighties, playing fiery heiress Fallon Carrington Colby in Dynasty after making her name in General Hospital

McCoy has found love with Eighties pin-up Emma Samms (pictured together)— and friends say he will soon become her fourth husband. Simon is believed to have been married twice himself

In 2019 Mr McCoy, 58, separated from his wife, the television presenter Victoria Graham, 46 (pictured together)

In 2019 Mr McCoy, 58, separated from his wife, the television presenter Victoria Graham, 46 (pictured together)

BBC broadcaster Simon McCoy is the latest big name to join TV news disruptor GB News 

Andrew Neil will lead new 24-hour news channel to rival BBC and Sky aiming to reach those who feel ‘unheard’ by the media. He will present a show four nights a week.

And it has brought in big names ahead of its launch, including new signing Mr McCoy, Sky News anchor Colin Brazier and new MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton, formerly of The Sun and talkRADIO.

There are rumours they are fighting to bring in Piers Morgan after he quit ITV because if his criticism of Meghan Markle.

The broadcaster will be the face and chairman of GB News, announcing its birth last year while also signalling the end of his relationship with the BBC, where he has been one of the most respected political interviewers. 

It had been due to launch on Freeview this month, but has now been delayed until later of the year.

Political interviewer and former Sunday Times editor Mr Neil recently dismissed speculation that he was in the running to be the next BBC chairman, saying on Twitter that he has ‘no interest in the job’.

At a time when the BBC and commercial media companies are cutting jobs, GB News said it hopes to create at least 120 positions.

They include more than 100 journalists in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with the channel.

Global media and entertainment company Discovery, Inc is the lead investor. GB News will feature more than 6,500 hours of content a year, made exclusively for the channel, which has secured broadcasting licences from Ofcom.

It has been founded by media executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider.

They plan for the channel to reach 96% of British television households via Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media.

 

‘Made the dreariest of heavy news days instantly more manageable. May the road rise up to meet you Simon McCoy.’

McCoy replied: ‘Thank you Niall. I shall miss you!’ causing hundreds of people to ask if he was definitely leaving.

Sam Taylor, Head of Live & Breaking for BBC News said: ‘Sharp, funny and a great colleague – it has been a delight to have Simon at the helm of the BBC News Channel and BBC News at One.

‘We’ll miss his one-liners, pregnant pauses and commitment to breaking news in every form, and wish him the very best for the future.’

He is probably the biggest name to join GB News, a new centre-right channel launching on TV this year.

Its founder Andrew Neil recently slammed ‘woke warriors’ for trying to cancel his new GB News channel before it even starts.

The former BBC presenter laid into activists after they launched a sabotage campaign against his soon-to-be-launched TV channel.

Twitter activists are urging firms not to advertise with the new station under the hashtag ‘Don’tFundGBNews’, because they fear the channel will be ‘like America’s Fox News’ – a comparison bosses have completely rejected.  

Mr Neil, who is the chairman of GB News, hit out at those behind the campaign and said: ‘The woke warriors trying to stir up an advertising boycott of GB News, a channel that hasn’t even started broadcasting, are hilarious.

Bosses had planned to launch in March, but earlier this month this was delayed ‘until later in the year’.   

Mr McCoy left Sky News for the BBC in 2004 to take over the morning slot on BBC News with Kate Silverton the following year.

Over the years, he made regular appearances on BBC Breakfast, and continued to be a stand-in and relief presenter on weekends following the arrival of Charlie Stayt.

McCoy took up the role of main presenter of the BBC News at One last March, and presents the weekday 2-5pm slot.

As well as his newsreading skills, McCoy has become known for some of BBC News’ best viral moments.

Footage of McCoy went viral when he accidentally picked up a refill pack of A4 printer paper instead of his iPad while live on air.

Unable to swap items, McCoy presented a report on drunk tanks to stop alcohol disorder with a completely straight face.

A spokesperson for the BBC said at the time: ‘This morning as Simon McCoy was preparing to introduce this story, instead of picking up his tablet to hold as he went to air, he mistakenly picked up a ream of paper that was sitting next to it.’

News of McCoy's departure came only after his floor manager wished him luck on his last day, causing several people to question if he was definitely leaving the BBC

News of McCoy’s departure came only after his floor manager wished him luck on his last day, causing several people to question if he was definitely leaving the BBC

McCoy joined the BBC from Sky News in 2004, first presenting BBC Breakfast before eventually working on the News at One and Afternoon Live

McCoy joined the BBC from Sky News in 2004, first presenting BBC Breakfast before eventually working on the News at One and Afternoon Live

The moments sarcastic star Simon McCoy left viewers, and himself, in fits of giggles (sometimes by accident) 

The BBC newsreader left viewers in hysterics after muttering a ‘brutal’ comment about a mother who made a Halloween chute to safely deliver sweets to trick-or-treaters

In October this year, the journalist appeared utterly underwhelmed as he announced a ‘clever’ device being used by one mother to safely deliver her sweets to children who were trick-or-treating. 

The design involved a chute from her front door to ensure treats could be sent across to kids while keeping to social distancing regulations.

Simon struggled to conceal his lack of enthusiasm, concluding the segment with: ‘The transaction is entirely contactless,’ before savagely muttering: ‘As will be her social life.’ 

He hilariously failed to conceal his boredom during a report about a dog surfing contest

In August 2017 the journalist visibly struggled through a news report on a dog surfing competition.

His world-weary voice revealed his true sentiment as he sighed his way through the report, unable to summon any enthusiasm for the surfing pooches. 

He even introduced the report with a qualifying comment: ‘Just bear in mind it is August’ – a month that has been dubbed ‘silly season’ by journalists due to the shortage of hard-hitting news. 

He sarcastically told viewers to ‘clear your diaries’ as he revealed the Duchess of Cambridge’s due date live on air

Mr McCoy had the nation in fits of laughter in October 2017 when he announced the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with Prince Louis.

He said: ‘Just er, got this, from Kensington Palace. Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are having a baby in April.

‘Bearing in mind they announced she was pregnant back in September, and it was thought she was around two or three months pregnant, I’m not sure how much news this really is.

‘So, April, Kate is having a baby. Clear your diaries, get the time booked off – because that’s what I’m doing.’ 

He is also known for the time he admitted he was filling time with no facts as he stood outside the Lindo Wing as he waited for a royal baby to arrive. 

Remembering a rotten 2020 

Presenting on New Year’s Day, he told BBC viewers that there would be a ‘special programme’ with footage of all the best parts of 2020.

‘Let’s just have a look,’ he said.

But when nothing showed up on the screen behind him, he turned to the camera and said: ‘Exactly. It’s farewell to 2020.’

Tears of laughter for pianist who plays for monkeys

BBC newsreader Simon McCoy struggled to maintain his composure today as he delivered a bizarre report on a pianist playing to a colony of monkeys in Thailand.

The London-born veteran journalist, 59, appeared to be caught off-guard as he introduced the bizarre segment from the studio. 

He was forced to stifle a laugh at the beginning before being too overcome by giggles to speak at the end of the segment – leaving viewers delighted.

BBC newsreader Simon McCoy struggled to maintain his composure today as he delivered a bizarre report on a pianist playing to a colony of monkeys in Thailand

BBC newsreader Simon McCoy struggled to maintain his composure today as he delivered a bizarre report on a pianist playing to a colony of monkeys in Thailand 

Mr McCoy introduced the piece with a usual wry smirk, explaining: ‘A British musician has been playing to monkeys at historical sites in Thailand to raise awareness of their hunger.’

The clip cut to Paul Barton sat at the piano – but the journalist’s voice waivered as he tried to contain his giggles throughout the piece.

 

Despite being a Royal Correspondent for Sky News during some of the Crown’s most turbulent years, McCoy’s recent coverage of royal events has been somewhat sarcastic.

He delighted viewers with his sardonic coverage outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s in the lead up to Prince George’s birth in 2013.

As reporters from around the world gathered outside the hospital awaiting news of the royal birth, Simon made no secret of the tedium of the task in hand.

‘Plenty more to come from here,’ he told viewers. ‘None of it news, of course, but that won’t stop us. The world’s media have gathered to report that there is no news. Let’s speculate, because that’s all we can do. Breaking news: we have no news…’

To fill in the gaps he read out tweets from viewers, including one who described the coverage as ‘sycophantic rubbish’ saying: ‘Not everybody is enjoying the specter of the speculation, the endless speculation.’

He added that another viewer had tweeted: ‘God help us if this ends up a long labour’.

Simon also had the nation in fits of laughter in October 2017 when he announced the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with Prince Louis.

He said: ‘Just er, got this, from Kensington Palace. Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are having a baby in April.

‘Bearing in mind they announced she was pregnant back in September, and it was thought she was around two or three months pregnant, I’m not sure how much news this really is.

‘So, April, Kate is having a baby. Clear your diaries, get the time booked off – because that’s what I’m doing.’

McCoy has not given any indication as to where he may next appear on screen. 

MailOnline have contacted the BBC for comment.