BBC Breakfast moving to Salford

Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams on the BBC Breakfast set Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams have presented the show together since 2005

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The BBC is moving its flagship early morning breakfast show to its new northern headquarters in Salford.

Presenters and staff were informed of the decision on Wednesday, a move confirmed later by BBC management.

The BBC said it was "part of measures aimed at building a new relationship with audiences across the UK".

But the decision has been condemned by the broadcasting unions who said the corporation had treated staff on the programme with "total contempt".

The daily show is fronted by Bill Turnbull, Sian Williams, Susanna Reid and Charlie Stayt and runs from 0600 to 0915.

Peter Salmon, director of BBC North, said the decision to move it to the new base in Salford, Greater Manchester, was "a real vote of confidence in our new enterprise".

'Major upheaval'

In a statement, director of news Helen Boaden acknowledged the decision would involve "personal and professional decisions for the talented team".

"But we will be supporting them to reach an informed judgement about the move," she continued.

But Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the BBC had "completely failed in its duty of care to its staff".

"This move will mean a major upheaval for the staff affected," he continued.

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of broadcasting union Bectu, said the unions would be seeking an "urgent" meeting with BBC management to "seek clarity on the proposals".

The unions say many Breakfast staff found out about the move after seeing it in the press, rather than being told by their managers.

Anniversary

The BBC has already announced that several departments will move to its new northern base, among them sport, children's, parts of Radio 5 live and learning.

"Viewers could really start to notice that the BBC is making more of its programmes in the North," said the BBC's media correspondent, Torin Douglas.

"Breakfast runs for three hours a day on BBC One," he continued.

"The Salford Quays waterfront and new buildings could provide a highly visible backdrop for the programme."

Currently broadcast from the BBC's Television Centre in west London, BBC Breakfast features a mix of news, weather, sport and celebrity guests.

Its other presenters include sports broadcaster and Strictly Come Dancing champion Chris Hollins and weather presenter Carol Kirkwood.

About 2,500 jobs from five departments are moving to Salford Quays in 2011 from their current London home.

The BBC said it was likely that the BBC Breakfast move would entail the relocation of 88 roles.

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