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Who is Francesca Kasteliz? Jon Kay met his wife in a Bristol newsroom

Bruno Cooke June 21, 2022
francesca kasteliz jon kay wife

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Rumours have been swirling over who will replace Dan Walker on BBC Breakfast – to the extent that the Mirror has called it a  “host controversy”. 

The frontrunner to take on the role permanently is reportedly Jon Kay, who has previously filled in for Dan and is familiar with the show’s format and audiences.

He joined the BBC Breakfast team in 2010; his wife Francesca Kasteliz had recently left the organisation, after a stint as assistant news editor and senior coach and trainer at the BBC Academy’s college of journalism.

What do we know about Jon Kay and Francesca Kasteliz’ relationship – how they met, when they married, whether or not they have kids – and her career to date?

Source: LinkedIn [Francesca Kasteliz/TV Coach]

How and when did Francesca Kasteliz and Jon Kay meet?

Jon met Francesca in a Bristol newsroom, according to the Mirror.

He’d recently graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in politics, in 1992. A year later, he joined the BBC as a local reporter and started his first full-time job at BBC Bristol soon after.

When they met, Francesca Kasteliz was a news trainee at BBC News. She then became a TV and radio reporter for BBC Points West, a position she held for six years (until 1999).

Kasteliz and Kay married in 1998, per the Daily Star, at which time she was preparing to work as a correspondent for BBC National Network News.

Photo by Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images

Do they have kids?

Yes, Jon Kay and Francesca Kasteliz have three children – two boys and a girl.

Kasteliz spoke to the Mummy On A Break podcast in April 2021 about finding confidence “on the inside”. During their conversation, she talks about the pressure parents face when bringing up their children, and how to overcome it. Listen to it via Anchor FM here.

For her part, Francesca studied English and European literature at the University of Warwick. During her time as a student, she edited The Warwick Boar (a student newspaper) and won a Guardian NUS Student Media Award.

She then transferred to Cardiff’s school of journalism where she earned her postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism.

Source: BBC Breakfast

What does Francesca Kasteliz do now? Career explored

Besides the stints at the BBC aforementioned, Kasteliz has worked for several years as a performance coach.

She started out as a coach while still with the BBC, via the BBC Coaching Network.

But after less than a year within the organisation, she moved to TV Coach Limited. She has been an on-screen performance coach for 13 years, and specialises in one-to-one coaching of top on-screen TV talent, from presenters to expert contributors.

According to her member bio on the Bristol Creative Industries website, she’s coached “some of the biggest names on TV”.

“From Panorama to Strictly Come Dancing to A Place in the Sun, if you want to be more authentic, engaging and confident on-air then I know how.”

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Her husband Jonathan Kay is the current favourite to replace Dan Walker on BBC Breakfast

After working at the BBC for 13 years, and hosting BBC Breakfast since 2016, Dan Walker has decided to move to Channel 5.

52-year-old Jon Kay is the current frontrunner to replace him permanently. He’s already covered for Dan temporarily in the past, and has a wealth of experience within the organisation.

He has also worked abroad as a BBC correspondent in Los Angeles and Washington DC. 

Applications for the role Dan Walker has vacated closed on 24 May 2022, meaning whoever will replace him will likely be revealed very soon.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.