Entertainment & Arts

James Martin says shock death of stranger prompted Saturday Kitchen exit

James Martin Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There have been lots of rumours about James Martin joining Top Gear or the new Great British Bake Off

Celebrity chef James Martin has revealed he left BBC One's Saturday Kitchen because a stranger "stood up on stage and passed away in front of me".

"That was over a year ago and that was the decision to change," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain.

"I look back at all the work I'd done - four days off that year and five the year before and I thought something's got to change."

Martin left Saturday Kitchen in March last year.

It is believed the man who died was a singer who was performing at the BBC Good Food Middle East Awards in 2015 in the UAE.

Image copyright BBC/Cactus TV
Image caption Martin started hosting the show in 2006

Martin told Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan that after the shock of the man's death and his subsequent decision to change his work priorities, "for the first time in my life I'm content and happy".

When asked about rumours he would join the new Great British Bake Off when it moves to Channel 4, Martin said: "I tried to put a bet on myself twice but they're not taking odds so I don't think that's going to happen."

A number of guest hosts have presented Saturday Kitchen since Martin departed, including chefs John Torrode, Angela Hartnett and Lorraine Pascale.

When Martin fronted the show, he asked celebrity guests for their "food heaven" and "food hell" - to have one of the dishes, voted for by viewers, cooked at the end of the programme.

It also saw chefs compete against each other in the omelette challenge - creating a three-egg omelette in the fastest time.

Martin took over from Antony Worrall Thompson as host when he joined the show in 2006.

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