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Breakfast Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 12:27 GMT
Sophie's Goodbye to Breakfast

Sophie Raworth has been presenting Breakfast for more than 5 years. She says goodbye today (Thursday). Yesterday, she and Dermot did a special fifteen minute interactive forum, answering some of your e-mails


Earlier this year Sophie celebrated 5 years on Breakfast. Continue reading for her personal account of what it has been like.

July 1997. 2:55am. My piercing alarm went off for the first time at that hour when it seems everyone else is asleep. I remember dragging myself out of bed with a pounding headache, trying to wake up and wondering how I was going to make it to the end of the week, let alone the end of the year.

But I survived and here I am five years later still obsessing about sleep and still loathing the sound of my alarm clock. Actually that's not quite true. Over the years I've become more relaxed about the odd hours I work.

Surviving early starts


Actually it's the people I work with who have made the biggest impression. Many of them have been with Breakfast much longer than I have. When you work such anti-social hours, it bonds you all together

Sophie Raworth
Nowadays it's everyone else who gets worked up for me. "What time do you get up?" is the question I'm asked most. When I say 4am (I told you I was more relaxed. I gave up my 2.55am starts years ago), a look of deep sympathy crosses their face: "So you have no social life? You must have to go to bed early?" is the inevitable follow up.

Well actually I learnt to work round one that too. After two years of saying no to a drink in the pub or dinner with friends and instead going to bed at 8pm with a cup of camomile tea, I gave up.

I resented the impact that my job was having on my social life. So I decided to go continental. A siesta is the answer. Two or three hours deep sleep in the day and I can stay out almost until last orders.

But I admit it hasn't been easy adjusting to the hours. Over the years I have been through my fair share of sleepless nights, counting sheep, and even sleeping pills. Nowadays it doesn't bother me.

Co presenters

The other thing I have gone through at a fair pace over the five years are men (I mean of the co-presenter kind of course!). Eight of them at the last count. Justin Webb, Andrew Harvey, Jon Sopel, Jon Nicolson, Michael Peschardt, Darren Jordon, Bill Turnbull and of course Jeremy Bowen.

Well they do say variety is the spice of life! But things have calmed down now over the past two years. We managed to keep Jeremy's flack jacket off him and tie his feet to that mustard-coloured sofa.

Since then I've had a more regular other half. And it's a good job too, because without Jeremy I wouldn't get food in the morning. He's in charge of buying breakfast. Every morning he arrives in the studio with his trademark brown paper bag containing energy bars from the canteen and fruit from the green room.

He's also responsible for providing the communal pen (I always lose mine). Oh the funny routines you pick up when you work such odd hours!

Talking of funny, how about some of the haircuts I've had over the years? The one I hate most is my 80s-style puffed up short hair. I look so old! Unfortunately it has made it onto the Breakfast 'out-takes' tape which is regularly shown at Christmas parties and leaving dos. I cringe every time.

Assignments

So how do I sum up five years on the programme? I suppose I could reminisce about some of the great and fascinating people I've met and interviewed or the assignments I've been on in France, Washington, Israel and L.A for the Oscars.

But actually it's the people I work with who have made the biggest impression. Many of them have been with Breakfast much longer than I have. When you work such anti-social hours, it bonds you all together.

There's Luis who collects me in the morning and probably knows more about what's going on in my life than most of my friends. Or Marilyn who does my make-up and quietly paints away dark circles under my eyes when I've been burning the candle at both ends.

And of course there's Mary who's been running our green room since Breakfast first started in the 80s. She slips me regular cups of tea in the studio, which I keep hidden beneath the desk.

It is a great programme to work on. There's nothing like doing 3 hours of live television every day, not knowing what is going to happen next. But however much I love it, I can't do it forever. And I promise you that the day I move on, I will be ceremoniously smashing up my alarm clock!

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