Entertainment & Arts

Tears as Penny Smith leaves GMTV

Penny Smith bid a tearful farewell to the GMTV sofa on Friday, as she left the programme after 17 years.

The star was treated to a video compilation of her most memorable moments, and was serenaded by 90s soul star Curtis Stigers.

The pair sang together on BBC One talent show Just The Two Of Us in 2006.

Smith's departure comes as GMTV begins a radical overhaul, moving to a team of presenters led by former One Show host Adrian Chiles.

Ben Shephard is also leaving, while John Stapleton will leave the confines of the studio to become a roving special correspondent.

Speaking before Friday's show, Smith, 51, said: "It's an ideal time for me to say goodbye to early mornings.

"Now that the format has changed I have taken the plunge and am moving on."

Tributes

Smith's "best bits" video featured unruly dogs, newsreading gaffes and interviews with Elton John and Ali G, who propositioned the presenter saying, "I've never been with an older woman before".

Stigers sang his 1992 hit, You're All That Matters To Me, while Smith wiped away tears.

"I was doing so well," she laughed. "I've got extra eyelashes on and everything!"

Image caption Smith joined GMTV as their main anchor in 1993

"Thank you to everybody who's said really nice things to me today. Thank you for supporting us. It's been great. My dressing room's awash with flowers!"

The show also featured tributes from GMTV colleagues Kate Garraway, Lorraine Kelly, Ross Kelly and Matt Lorenzo.

Stapleton, who shared the GMTV sofa with Smith for 12 years, was in Whitehaven, but wrote a tribute to his co-host in the Manchester Evening News.

"She has been both a hugely supportive colleague and a great mate," he said. "Unlike some on-screen partners, we actually rather like each other.

"We go out for meals together. I laugh at her vast collection of filthy jokes."

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