IN A surprising turn of events, Phillip Schofield, the long-standing co-host of the popular daytime show “This Morning,” has announced his immediate departure. The news comes amidst reports of a developing feud with his co-host, Holly Willoughby, which has been the subject of recent media speculation.
In a statement released on Saturday afternoon, Schofield, 61, acknowledged the growing rumors and expressed his regret that “This Morning has become the story.” He revealed that ITV, the broadcaster of the show, had decided that the current situation was untenable. Consequently, last Thursday’s episode marked his final appearance on the program.
Schofield, who has been part of “This Morning” for over two decades and shared the hosting duties with Willoughby for 13 years, will be stepping down, while Willoughby will continue as a presenter. ITV announced that she would be joined by “members of the This Morning family,” though no specific details were provided. Willoughby expressed her sadness about Schofield’s departure, saying, “the sofa won’t feel the same without him.”
Although Schofield is leaving the show, he will continue to work for ITV. The broadcaster’s statement mentioned that he would be hosting the upcoming British Soap Awards in June and a new peak time series in the future.
“This Morning” has garnered significant acclaim, winning five consecutive National Television Awards for the best daytime show. Schofield and Willoughby were praised for their easy chemistry and laid-back presenting style, earning them the affectionate moniker “Holly and Phil.”
However, the pair faced public backlash last year when they were criticized for allegedly bypassing the queue to pay their respects to the late Queen, ahead of both the general public and David Beckham. This incident led to a tarnishing of their public image.
Recent weeks have been challenging for both Schofield and Willoughby, with personal issues necessitating separate breaks from the show. Schofield’s brother, Timothy Schofield, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Friday after being found guilty of sexually abusing a vulnerable teenage boy. Schofield distanced himself from his brother during the trial and took previously planned leave from his presenting duties. Willoughby also took time off to recover from an illness.
Schofield had previously attempted to dispel rumors of a rift with Willoughby, calling her “my rock” in a statement. However, the intensifying speculation about their strained relationship became overwhelming, leading to Schofield’s decision to step down.
In his departure statement, Schofield said, “I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.” He expressed his hope that the show could move forward to a bright future and thanked everyone who had supported him throughout his career.
Willoughby thanked Schofield for his knowledge, experience, and humor during their more than 13 years together on the show. Kevin Lygo, ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment, praised Schofield as one of the best broadcasters of his generation and expressed gratitude for his two decades of service on the This Morning sofa.
While the exact reasons behind Schofield’s departure remain unclear, his announcement has only fueled further speculation about the underlying tensions between him and Willoughby. The future of “This Morning” and its new lineup of presenters will undoubtedly be of great interest to fans of the show.