Gregg Wallace has said he will stop presenting BBC series Inside The Factory after seven years as he needs to focus on his three-year-old son who has autism.
The TV presenter, who the BBC said will continue to judge MasterChef, has already filmed upcoming episodes of the factual programme which sees him delve into how goods are made.
The 58-year-old told Gaby Roslin’s show on BBC Radio London that he needs to step away from the show due to Sid, who is non-verbal in addition to his autism, needing additional support with education.
The former greengrocer said Sid is a “lovely, lovely little boy” with a “wonderful mother” but “it’s not easy”.
He added that the show involves a lot of travelling away from his family as he visits factories across the country.
Wallace said: “So I’ve made a decision that I’m actually not going to do Inside The Factory any more.
“It’s a good time to stop doing it because there’s actually 12 episodes in the can… so I wouldn’t have been filming for a while anyway so it just seemed like a good idea to stop it.”
Wallace – who was the original presenter of long-running BBC cooking show Saturday Kitchen and has featured on Eat Well For Less, Turn Back Time, Harvest and Supermarket Secrets – shares Sid with Anne-Marie Sterpini, who he married in 2016.
He also said he is approaching 60 and is running a health site called ShowMe.Fit as well as focusing on his family.
The judge of Celebrity MasterChef and MasterChef: The Professionals added: “Imagine a child that you can’t threaten or bribe and that’s basically what you’ve got.
“You’ve got a little boy who’s cuddly and happy and naughty, like any little boy would be, but he can’t speak, he can’t talk to you, so he gets frustrated because he finds it difficult to tell you what exactly it is he needs.
“Right now, we need to find education for him and I can’t just leave that to Anna – that’s a big, big decision.
“I mean, all parents worry about the schools that children will go to. Ours is even more highlighted because of poor little Sid’s issues.”
A new presenter will be announced in due course, the BBC said.
Jack Bootle, the corporation’s head of specialist factual, said Wallace has been “integral to the success” of the series and has brought “humour, intelligence and genuine curiosity to one of the BBC’s biggest returning factual brands”.
He added: “I’d like to thank him for all his hard work and commitment to the programme.”
Before he began his broadcasting career, Wallace worked at Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market before starting George Allan’s Greengrocers in 1989.
The TV presenter, who also has two children, Tom and Libby, from a previous relationship, took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 and was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last year for services to food and charity.
His most notable role is that of judge and co-presenter of BBC’s MasterChef since 2005 with celebrity chef John Torode.
– A new series of Inside The Factory presented by Wallace, Cherry Healey and Ruth Goodman will launch on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer in April.
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