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One of the big rules of working in television is don’t upset the BBC; as the bringer of huge sums of lovely License Fee money, you don’t want to cut off the goose that lays them golden eggs, no matter what short-term offers you’ve been given by commercial broadcasters. Somebody never taught Christine Bleakley this simple truth, and now it looks like the Beeb have washed their hands of her.

According to a source in the BBC, who spoke to the Mirror, Bleakley had been taking part in contract negotiations for some time, and they believe that she was stalling on signing their offer – apparently worth £450,000 a year – so that she could hold out for a bigger sum from ITV. They claim she was given until Saturday to sign, but come the deadline she didn’t contact either creative director Alan Yentob or BBC1 boss Jay Hunt, and now she’s at ITV. Auntie is not happy at all.

‘Christine was publicly saying she wanted to stay just two weeks ago and was discussing taking The One Show forward,’ said the source. ‘She even met Chris Evans for lunch and has been chatting to Jason Manford about their future partnership.

‘She then claimed on Sunday that the BBC had to move swiftly. But the truth is we have been negotiating for months. Christine had ample time to decide and it looks like she was just holding out for more money from ITV. It’s fair to say she has upset some important people here who feel taken for a ride, and they won’t be rushing to work with her ever again.’

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