Richard and Judy quit teatime show

Richard and Judy have quit their teatime show, it was announced today.

Richard and Judy have quit their teatime show, it was announced today.

Channel 4 had decided not to renew the contract for a new series, but the husband and wife duo were also thought to be ready to step down.

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan will front their final programme on the sofa together at the end of next summer.

They found fame hosting ITV’s This Morning in 1988 and defected to Channel 4 in 2001.

However, they were said to be unhappy after Channel 4 recently decided to cut back the couple’s shows to make way for Paul O’ Grady to alternate in the same 5pm slot.

Their teatime show was also hit by the phone-in scandal over the 'You Say We Pay' quiz earlier this year.

The last series of Richard and Judy attracted an average of 1.7 million viewers, down from two million last year.

Richard Madeley, 51, who plans to pursue a solo TV career, said: “We are looking forward to making two new series of our show next year.

“The programme is still full of life, but we have taken the difficult decision to leave it on a high.

“After seven consecutive years we both feel we have achieved everything we wanted with the show and next autumn, when the last series finishes, will mark almost exactly 20 years in this kind of daily programming.

“We want the chance to launch other projects in broadcasting and writing while we are still young enough.”

Judy Finnigan, 59, who is thought to want to do less TV work, said: “We’ve had a wonderful time presenting this show, and we intend to carry on with the Book Club, which has become very important to us.

“But there are so many other things we want to do as well, and it feels like the right time for a change.”

A spokesman for the couple said they were in talks with Channel 4 to present a spin-off Book Club series, and specials including A Summer Read and The British Book Awards.

Julian Bellamy, head of programmes at Channel 4, said: “Richard and Judy have informed us that they do not wish to continue their show after their current contract comes to an end in 2008.

“Channel 4 wishes to thank them for the fantastic contribution they have made to the channel over the last seven years.

“Their show has deservedly won them many loyal fans while the extraordinary success of their Book Club has brought them wider acclaim for the most successful ever TV initiative in encouraging reading as well as promoting new books and authors.

“We wish them great success and will continue to look at opportunities to work with them in the future.”

Richard and Judy are the broadcaster’s biggest earners, said to be taking £1m (€1.49m) a year each.

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