A HAMPSHIRE celebrity chef has quit his television show after 10 years.

James Martin, who lives in Winchester, has confirmed he is to don his apron on the long-running Saturday Kitchen for the last time at the end of March.

The 43-year-old’s decision was met with disappointment by James’ legions of fans on Twitter, where he posted a message saying: “It's been a true pleasure but sometime in March will be my last Saturday Kitchen.”

James became a household name with his appearance on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing show in 2005 and on the BBC cookery show, which sees James cook guests’ heaven or hell dishes every Saturday morning.

James, who has presented the show since 2006, will leave Saturday Kitchen to concentrate on his other projects.

In a statement released by the BBC he said: “I would like to personally thank all the viewers for turning Saturday Kitchen into a three million-plus smash hit.

“I could not have done it without them.

“I would also like to thank the BBC and Saturday Kitchen for the great opportunity they gave me.

“It has been an amazing journey and I have been privileged to work with some of the world’s greatest chefs and some of the greatest names in showbiz.

“I wish the new chefs every success. I am looking forward to getting stuck into my new projects and to lots of lie-ins on a Saturday morning.”

James was formerly a pastry chef at the Chewton Glen Hotel in the New Forest and in his 20s was head chef at the Hotel du Vin in Winchester.