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David Dimbleby to leave Question Time after 25 years

David Dimbleby, who has announced he will leave Question Time after 25 years (Richard Lewisohn/BBC) Photo:

David Dimbleby is to leave Question Time after 25 years of presenting the BBC show.

Announcing his departure the presenter said he would be returning to his first love of reporting.

His final broadcast of Question Time will be on December 13 this year.

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Dimbleby said: “At the end of the year I will have been chairing Question Time for a quarter of a century and I have decided that this is the right moment to leave.

“It has been a privilege to work for a programme which brings voters face to face with those in power. I am grateful to the production teams and to the BBC who have made this possible.

“It has been exhilarating following the twists and turns of British politics from John Major in 1994, through the Blair and Brown years to Cameron and May. I am not giving up broadcasting.

“Instead, after years in the studio, I now plan to return to my first love: reporting.”

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The 79-year-old first presented Question Time on January 14, 1994 and is the longest serving presenter of the show.

Paying tribute to his stewardship of the programme, director-general of the BBC Lord (Tony) Hall said: “David has been at the helm of Question Time for over 25 years: a brilliant champion of the public and the audiences’ friend – getting the answers they want on the big and difficult issues of the day.

“Always a commanding figure, David has ensured Question Time has not only stayed relevant through the years, but a must watch for those interested in politics and current affairs.”

He added the public are “extraordinarily lucky to have him in what are – to say the least – interesting times politically and socially”, saying he looks forward to working with him in the future.

During his BBC career Dimbleby presented political programmes such as Panorama and chaired many debates including the Party Leaders’ debates in the run up to General Elections since 2010.

He has been the BBC’s anchorman for all General Elections since 1979 and presented the broadcaster’s coverage of the first referendum in Europe, a role he repeated in 2016 for the BBC’s coverage of the EU Referendum.