BBC Breakfast in major format shake-up as famous red sofa is taken from studio

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BBC Breakfast had a major format shake-up this week, as the famous red sofa relocated to Cornwall.

The show is filmed at MediaCity in Salford, Greater Manchester – but it was all change on Tuesday (April 26), as the couch found itself in St Austell for a very poignant tribute to a war hero.

With Dan Walker and Sally Nugent presenting the show from the studio, it was up to Sally's occasional co-host Jon Kay to front the Cornwall end of the programme, as show bosses shipped a replica of the couch out to the harbour.

It comes as the programme marks the tragic death of D-Day veteran Harry Billinge, who died earlier this month after tirelessly fundraising for a war memorial.

He had previously appeared on Breakfast for a special Normandy segment, and made quite the impression on its cast and crew.

But fans were stunned to see Dan and Jon interact on the programme, as the pair rarely cross paths.

Jon tends to stand in for Dan during holidays or periods of absence, and so is used to sitting alongside the likes of Sally Nugent and Nina Warhurst on the show.

Sally began the segment by saying: "Now, today we say goodbye to Harry Billinge, the D-Day veteran and friend of this programme, who died earlier this month aged 96."

Dan explained: "His funeral is going to take place in his hometown of St Austell in Cornwall – Jon Kay is there for us today and we'll say good morning to Jon. It's a sad day, Jon, isn't it, but also a chance to celebrate what was an incredible life."

Jon replied: "Absolutely – that is precisely the tone that people here are hoping for today, Dan and Sally."

In the sun-dappled morning light, the couch could be seen at the edge of the harbour, with the path to get there temporarily blocked off by cordons.

Jon was busy interviewing Richard Palusinski, Chairman of the Spirit of Normandy Trust, who had headed to Cornwall for Harry's funeral.

It isn't the first time the red sofa has relocated – a replica even turned up at the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom last year for one of Dan's dance routines.

A staple of the show for nearly four decades, the red couch is instantly recognisable to BBC fans up and down the country.

One incarnation of the couch was even shipped to Ramallah after the studio relocated to Salford, with the BBC donating the old couch to furnish the new TV sets in the Palestinian Territories via the BBC's Jerusalem bureau.

As of 2017, that very couch was used for two debate style shows – Voices from Palestine and Free to Speak.

BBC Breakfast airs daily from 6am on BBC One.

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  • BBC Breakfast
  • Dan Walker
  • Sally Nugent

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