From Piers Morgan to Eamonn Holmes: The celebrities who weighed in on Phillip Schofield’s This Morning and ITV exit
The British TV world has been rocked by Phillip Schofield’s departure from ITV, the broadcaster he has worked at for more than two decades.
Schofield, who presented the ITV daytime show This Morning with Holly Willoughby, announced his departure from the series earlier this month amid reports of a behind-the-scenes “feud” between him and Willoughby.
Then on Friday 26 May, the presenter, 61, announced he was quitting ITV altogether after admitting he’d had an “unwise” but “not illegal” affair with a much younger colleague on the show and lied about it to his employers at ITV, his colleagues and friends, his agents, the media and the public.
A number of TV personalities and celebrities have given their thoughts on Schofield’s shock exit.
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Divisive GB News presenter Piers Morgan described the aftermath of Schofield’s initial This Morning departure as “brutal to watch”, and hit out at “ruthless backstabbing in the world of daytime television”.
“One minute Schofield was the undisputed king of morning TV and fast heading to bona fide national treasure status – the next he’s a dethroned, shamed, vilified, national disgrace and social media laughing stock,” Morgan wrote.
Morgan left his own position as host of another ITV morning show, Good Morning Britain, back in 2021 amid a row over his comments about the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
Citing his own GMB downfall, Morgan claimed to have “personal empathy” with Schofield over the manner of his resignation.
Following Schofield’s statement about his affair with a colleague, Morgan simply tweeted “blimey”, before posting another tweet on Monday (29 May) that said: “I fear we’re now entering the Reservoir Dogs phase of the This Morning scandal… and it could end up with a lot of corpsed careers.”
Another celebrity to have weighed in on the story is Eamonn Holmes, who previously hosted the Friday edition of This Morning alongside wife Ruth Langsford.
Speaking on his GB News breakfast show after Schofield quit This Morning, Holmes claimed that Schofield had not chosen to resign but had in fact been “sacked”.
“Oh please, just stop this,” he said. “He was sacked. All this nonsense of ‘I’ve decided to step down’. I’m sure you did – ‘here’s your P45 now step down’.”
Holmes’s statement contradicts Schofield’s statement announcing his departure. ITV subsequently issued a denial, stating: “Phillip Schofield’s decision to step down from This Morning was (as his statement made clear) a decision agreed between Phillip and ITV.”
On Monday (29 May), Schofield shared an Instagram post in which he hit out at those who have “grudges” against him, claiming that there was “no toxicity” during his time on This Morning, which he called “the best show to work on, with the best people”.
Holmes then criticised Schofield’s statement, calling it “delusional”. He wrote: “I’m reluctant to give the liar any more publicity but believe me Pip if u r looking for a fight , u have picked on the wrong person [sic]!”
While hosting This Morning on Monday 22 May due to Willoughby’s half-term absence, guest presenters Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond addressed Schofield’s departure, paying tribute to their former colleague.
O’Leary said: “As a show, everyone on and off screen at ITV and This Morning say a huge thank you to Phil for what he’s done to make the show such a success over the last 21 years.”
Hammond added: “Quite simply, we all know he’s one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had, and we and all the team wish him all the best for the future.”
Hosting the show again on Monday 29 May, following the affair revelation, O’Leary asked viewers “how was your weekend?” in a subtle nod to the furore surrounding their former colleague. He and Hammond also insisted the show’s set is an enjoyable place to work.
Nadine Dorries has called for an investigation into the whole scandal, with the former culture secretary claiming that Willoughby has “questions to answer” over how the young employee who Schofield had the affair with came to be hired by ITV.
Willoughby, who co-hosted the ITV daytime series alongside Schofield for 12 years, posted an update on her Instagram Stories on Saturday (27 May), saying: “It’s taken time to process yesterday’s news.”
She said she had “asked Phil directly” about whether rumours of his relationship with a This Morning colleague were true, but he assured her they were not.
“When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not,” she wrote, adding: “It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie.”
Before the affair news had emerged, Irish chef and fellow This Morning star Clodagh McKenna shared a tribute to Schofield on social media, which read: “Twenty one years of brightening up our mornings…. And I’ve been so lucky to be part of three of them. I’ll miss the morning hug, the twinkle in your eye that makes me giggle and your empathy.
“You will be missed.”
Last week, former Gladiators host Ulrika Jonsson weighed in on the reported “feud” between Willoughby and Schofield.
“Daytime TV is a lively, narcissistic melting pot of ego, vanity, hierarchy and domination, not to mention the bevy of managers and agents standing backstage ready to compete for their clients’ best outcomes,” she said.
“For the show’s dedicated followers, however, I suspect this war of the egos is a great sadness. They have invested in both presenters over the years and are fond of them. On-screen duos are about balance, harmony and respect and it can be very hard to get right.”
Comedian Jack Whitehall saw the lighter side of the situation, cracking jokes about the intra-programme “feud” on TV during an appearance on BBC comedy series The Chris and Rose Ramsey Show.
His barb drew gasps from the studio audience as he mockingly likened the relationship between him and his father to that of Willoughby and Schofield.