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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Murnaghan to join BBC's Breakfast
Dermot Murnaghan
Murnaghan has been with ITV for 11 years
Newsreader Dermot Murnaghan is defecting from ITV to become the new co-host of BBC One's Breakfast programme.

The presenter will take over from Jeremy Bowen who is planning to take a break from television to write a book before returning to foreign reporting.

Murnaghan will join Sophie Raworth on the daily morning news programme, which is broadcast on BBC One and News 24.

The Northern Ireland-born journalist has spent the past 11 years fronting ITV's lunchtime, nightly and evening news bulletins, working for ITN.

He won the RTS Journalism Award in 1998 for his interview with Peter Mandelson over the Geoffrey Robinson loan scandal, which swiftly led to Mandelson resigning his government post.

"I've had 11 marvellous years at ITN but the opportunity to work for the BBC, presenting Breakfast News, is an irresistible challenge," he said.

Jeremy Bowen and Sophie Raworth
Jeremy Bowen and Sophie Raworth launched Breakfast in 2000
"And the early mornings won't bother me - I have four children," he added.

Murnaghan started out as a trainee reporter on local newspapers before joining Channel 4 as a researcher for The Business Programme.

He then moved to Switzerland to present the European Business Channel before rejoining ITN to front World News on Channel 4.

Bowen, a seasoned war correspondent, will be leaving the programme after a two-year stint.

He has recently undertaken more diverse presenting work such as the documentary Son of God, an investigation into the life of Jesus Christ.

He also presented a series called Booze, examining why so many people use and often abuse alcohol.

Richard Sambrook, director of BBC News, said: "We are delighted that Dermot has decided to join BBC News as the new Breakfast presenter.

"He is an outstanding journalist whose interviewing skills and broadcast experience will ensure that BBC Breakfast continues to give viewers the best possible start to their day."


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