BBC appoints Christine Bleakley lookalike Alex Jones as new One Show host
The BBC is hoping to repeat the successful formula of The One Show by choosing a presenter with the same looks, age and background as departing host Christine Bleakley.
Alex Jones, currently seen on Welsh-language channel S4C, will take over the slot left vacant by Bleakley's departure to ITV.
The 32-year-old Welsh brunette bears a stunning resemblance to her predecessor, and is only one year older.
Like Bleakley, who was plucked from relative obscurity for the prime BBC ONE role in 2007 after working in Northern Ireland, she has never hosted a UK-wide programme and is not part of the London media circuit.
Originally from Ammanford, in west Wales, Jones studied theatre, film and TV at Aberystwyth University.
She sat some of her degree finals in Magaluf because she was appearing there as a contestant on the Sky One show Prickly Heat with Davina McCall.
Bleakley left the BBC in June after the corporation withdrew a new contract offer thought to be worth £450,000 (€540,000) a year.
She had been publicly flirting with a move to ITV, which had already poached her co-presenter Adrian Chiles, and it is understood BBC managers did not want to be drawn into a bidding war at a time when inflated public sector salaries are under scrutiny.
Jones will join comedian Jason Manford who was appointed Chiles' successor in May.
In February she sounded lukewarm about the idea of leaving her home in Cardiff to work on network TV.
She told the Western Mail she had no intention of abandoning the children's programmes where she began her career and that moving to London would be ''a move across, not a move up''.
''To be honest, it's never been a huge ambition of mine,'' she said.
Her appointment to a primetime show on BBC One follows that of a former boyfriend Steve Jones, the Welsh presenter who fronts the channel's 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow on Saturday nights.
She told the paper - which last year ranked her as Wales 30th sexiest woman - she was pleased at his success and that they remained good friends.
''He's a naturally flirty guy - he flirts with everyone, even men - but we do text each other and keep in touch,'' she said.
Jones is single after recently splitting with Matt Johnson, a presenter on ITV Wales, her boyfriend of six years.