james martin
James Martin on Good Morning Britain ITV

James Martin has revealed the real reason he left his hosting role on Saturday Kitchen last spring after fronting the BBC cooking series for a decade.

The 44-year-old presenter claims that aside from wanting a change, there was another, more tragic reason he decided to hang the kitchen apron up and quit the early morning show.

Speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain today (1 February), the TV chef made the shocking revelation that a fan died in front of him.

The heartbreaking incident caused him to re-evaluate his lifestyle, and ultimately leave the show.

He told the GMB presenters: "I was chatting to him and he stood up on stage and collapsed and passed away in front of me.

"That was when I made the decision to change. That was over a year ago. And I looked back at all the work I'd done. I'd had four days off that year and five days off the year before. That's when I realised things would have to change. It's partly the reason I gave up Saturday Kitchen," he continued.

Morgan responded: "Good for you. There's more important things in life than getting up early on a Saturday morning."

Martin's decision to leave the show was speculated by the media and public, as many believed that he received alternative TV offers – with Top Gear and Channel 4's version of The Great British Bake Off being mentioned.

Squashing the rumours, he said: "I've bet on myself that I'll be the new Bake Off host...because everyone's always saying I'm going to be!"

In a 2016 column for The Mirror, Martin wrote about his reasons for leaving Saturday Kitchen.

He said: "I didn't leave because we didn't have a sink, or because of Top Gear, or budget cuts. All these rumours! I left because 10 years is a long time. That's every Friday and Saturday you're giving up. I had to be in bed by 9pm and up at 3am. It's a tough show!"

james martin
James Martin talks to GMB hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid ITV