ITV issues statement amid claims Holly Willoughby was involved in Phillip Schofield’s exit
ITV has responded to speculation.
ITV has issued a response to claims around Phillip Schofield’s exit from This Morning and speculation that Holly Willoughby, his co-presenter, was involved.
Last week, the 61-year-old announced he was leaving the programme with “immediate effect”, after more than 20 years.
The news came after weeks of headlines around his deteriorating relationship with Willoughby and the jailing of his younger brother, Timothy, for sex crimes against a teenage boy.
ITV insist that Schofield’s departure was a mutual agreement between him and ITV, although the presenter’s original statement indicated that the network had "decided the current situation can’t go on".
“Phillip Schofield’s decision to step down from This Morning was (as his statement made clear) a decision agreed between Phillip and ITV,” a spokesperson told The Independent.
On Monday, Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary delivered a short, and highly criticised, tribute to Schofield as they stepped in as temporary replacements.
Willoughby, 42, will remain on the programme and will “co-present with members of the This Morning family”, ITV said in an earlier statement.
However, the broadcaster confirmed that she will take a break during the half-term, returning on Monday 5 June.
Schofield’s departure ignited a debate about what had happened behind the scenes on social media. Former This Morning host Eamonn Holmes, and former Good Morning Britain host, Piers Morgan, have had their say.
Speaking on GB News, Holmes, 63, told his co-host Isabel Webster earlier this week: “Holly knows the truth, the story is with her.”
Isabel confirmed Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary were set to host Monday’s show and added: “All of this comes after the big announcement from Phillip Schofield that he was stepping down…”
Eamonn remarked: “Please, let’s stop this, he was sacked.”
“All this nonsense about, ‘I’ve decided to step down’ I’m sure you did. Now here’s your P45, now step down. Why do we propagate this language? ‘I’ve decided to step down’ and [Holly] says the couch won’t feel the same without him people there.
“Well she wanted him not there, so why is she moaning about the couch not feeling the same for? They deserve each other.”
It was later speculated that Willoughby gave an “ultimatum” to ITV bosses following her feud with Schofield.
A source told Daily Mail: “It was basically an ultimatum, Holly won the war. We say what Holly wants, Holly gets and never was a truer word spoken.”
- Patrick Kielty confirmed as the new host of The Late Late show
- Philip Schofield decides to step down from This Morning 'with immediate effect'
- Harrison Ford defends de-aging technology in Indiana Jones 5