The BBC Breakfast presenter has died aged 66, and his fellow partner in the dancing competition has paid tribute. “I owe him so much,” said Karen Hardy. Bill Turnbull appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2005.

Bill had an impressive career presenting BBC Breakfast and Songs of Praise, and featuring in Strictly. In March 2018, Turnbull revealed he was diagnosed the previous November with prostate cancer before passing away at his home in Suffolk.

The presenter died on August 31. Since the news was announced, many have paid tribute to Bill, including his former Strictly partner Karen, who he danced with during the third series of the show.

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Who was Bill Turnbull?

Bill was a 66-year-old presenter and radio host, who began his career working for radio stations including Radio Clyde and BBC Radio 4’s Today. From Guildford, he went on to have three children with Sarah McCombie.

He presented BBC News 24 and BBC Radio 5 Live before taking on his most notable role as the main male presenter of BBC Breakfast, a position he held for fifteen years between 2001 and 2016.

After his long-running stint, Bill moved on and began hosting his own radio show on Classic FM, which aired on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Later, he presented the religious series Songs of Praise and the game show Think Tank.

Bill’s Strictly Come Dancing days

In the 2005 series of Strictly Come Dancing, its third series ever, Bill came sixth alongside dance partner Karen, despite seriously injuring his ankle by the second week.

He managed to stay in the competition for seven weeks, finishing sixth out of twelve contestants. The presenter became popular among fans as he learned the ropes and eventually learned to become an expert dancer.

Strictly released a statement on Twitter which reads:

Sending heartfelt condolences to Bill Turnbull’s family and friends. A truly brilliant broadcaster turned ballroom dancer when he joined us on series three of Strictly.

Many are remembering his graceful moves on the dancefloor. One fan revealed that his debut on the BBC show was the “moment they fell in love with him” while another said they “loved Bill on Strictly”.

Karen Hardy pays tribute

Karen appeared on BBC News on September 1st, where she paid an emotional tribute to Bill. She revealed via a virtual interview from New Zealand that she “owes him so much” before calling him “such a gentleman and mentor”.

She said meeting Bill, who was her first partner on Strictly, was “life-changing”. Karen added: “He made TV magical, he told me what it was about”, saying that he would help critique her appearances on Breakfast.

He would text her with tips on how to sit and speak clearly and told her the importance of seeking the truth when it came to the news. “If he wasn’t on it, I knew he’d be watching…” she said.

Karen also said he had also given her a tour of his bee hives, and told her about their importance as well.

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Celine Byford
Celine Byford

Celine is a journalist with over five years of experience in the media industry and the chief staff writer on Reality Titbit. After graduating with a degree in Multimedia Journalism she became a radio newsreader and reporter, before moving into her current role as a reality TV writer.

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