Strictly star shares devastation as Steph’s Packed Lunch is axed: It changed my life

Strictly star shares devastation as Steph’s Packed Lunch is axed: It changed my life

John Whaite has shared his devastation at Channel 4 cancelling Steph's Packed Lunch in an emotional tribute where he says the daytime show "changed my life".

The Great British Bake Off star, who was runner-up in Strictly Come Dancing 2021, is the programme's in-house chef where he works closely with show host Steph McGovern.

Channel 4 announced yesterday, 19th October, that Steph's Packed Lunch would wrap up in December, with cast and crew apparently hearing the sad news on the same day.

John, 34, posted some pictures of himself with his colleagues from the show on Instagram and wrote a heartfelt message marking the show's axe.

He wrote: "Breaking my little insta-pause to post about this. I’m sure you’ve read the deeply sad news that Steph’s Packed Lunch will not be returning after December.

"I want to shout, as loud as possible, about how brilliant the team have been. The eclectic mix of folk from a hodgepodge of backgrounds and generations worked tirelessly to try to keep the integrity of a 100-year-old industry alive, and bring lunchtime entertainment and company to many a household.

"What they created was a show that was as diverse as it was welcoming, and I hope each and every one of them continue to thrive wherever the wind next takes them, because they deserve nothing but success."

Sharing the show's effect on his life, he continued: "The food team – Courtney, Sarah and the talented home economists – have been a lifeline to me on so many occasions, and it’s been an honour to work with them (and the rest of the production and editorial teams) for the past 3 years.

"And finally I hope that Steph, Vivek, Matt and all the people at the top feel nothing but immense pride for creating a ground-breaking, inclusive show.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to be a small part of Steph’s Packed Lunch. In many tiny ways, it changed my life."

He ended by joking: "Maybe it’s time to start selling photos of my bare arse on OnlyFans, again…"

John, who danced with Johannes Radebe on Strictly in the show's first all-male partnership, also posted a photo with his colleagues to his Instagram stories writing: "It's the company I'll miss the most. Deep pride for every single member of the Steph's Packed Lunch team," with a broken heart emoji.

His fans were equally devastated, as one person commented: "Hang on how have I missed this? Why is it not returning? It’s literally the best daytime TV show there is! Gutted."

Someone else added: "Channel 4 has made a big mistake, will really miss the show," while another fan agreed: "Gutted to hear this, the only day time show worth watching!"

One person commented: "Can't believe it! Better than This Morning and Loose Women by a long shot. What a shame!"

Another person asked: "Why cancel a programme that gives such joy ??"

A statement from Channel 4 announcing the news said: "Steph has not only made the nation’s lunchtimes more entertaining and brilliantly reflected the views and pre-occupations of the country, but the show has also been an outstanding springboard for developing local talent behind the scenes.

"With audience habits changing quicker than ever, we have to make difficult decisions about which programmes to invest in to best drive our digital-first strategy and we have decided not to recommission Steph's Packed Lunch when its existing production contract ends in December 2023."

Steph's Packed Lunch began in 2020, when Steph would broadcast herself from her own home during lockdown, before moving to a studio for weekday lunchtimes with Denise Van Outen as a regular contributor.

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