Phillip’s ‘pal’ lifts lid on star being axed from This Morning

A source close to Phillip Schofield has apparently lifted the lid on the star being axed from ITV’s This Morning programme.

They reportedly said the star is “completely broken” – despite receiving pay-off of six months’ salary from bosses. The source, described as a ‘pal’ of Schofield’s, said Schofield feels he has “been shown zero respect” and is “devastated by how this has played out”.

They say that the presenter “thinks the way he was forced to step down was so unjust” and “feels completely broken by how this situation has been handled”.

The friend reportedly said: “This Morning was Phil’s life and now he feels he has been knifed without proper consultation.”

READ MORE: Phil ‘feels hung out to dry’ and relationship with Holly ‘in tatters’

The friend also reportedly claimed that Schofield only agreed to step down after holding talks with his mum Pat, his ex-wife Stephanie and his daughters, Molly — who is a talent agent at his management company YMU — and Ruby.

“Phil has dedicated over 20 years to that show and for it all to end this way has been incredibly upsetting for him,” the Source told The Sun.

The 61-year-old presenter of 20 years on the show was told he had lost his job on This Morning minutes after completing Thursday’s broadcast.

It came after ITV chiefs decided the reported friction between him and co-host Holly Willoughby, 42, was turning viewers off. The show was said to have lost 200,000 viewers since the decline of their on-screen relationship began to gather pace.

Holly, who has worked on This Morning with him for 13 years, is to stay on as the main This Morning presenter and returns on June 5 after a two-week rest. However, a senior ITV source told The Express that claims Willoughby gave bosses an “it’s him or me” ultimatum are “not true”.

Yesterday ITV confirmed that Monday’s episode would be hosted by Dermot O’Leary and front-runner to replace Phil on the sofa with Holly, Alison Hammond.

After the news of his departure was made public by ITV, Phil issued an emotional statement. He said: “I’ve always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.

“Throughout my career in TV — including the very difficult last few days — I have always done my best to be honourable and kind. I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.

“So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope the show can move forward to a bright future. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me — especially This Morning’s amazing viewers — and I’ll see you all for the Soap Awards next month.”

Notably, he made no reference to his co-presenter, while Holly herself posted on Instagram: “It’s been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. The sofa won’t feel the same without him.”

According to The Sun, their relationship began to deteriorate as long ago as 2019, when Holly left the YMU agency, of which Phil is a shareholder, later winning a £1million payout from the business.

However, In February 2020, he gave an interview with Holly that appeared to bring them closer together, when he announced that he was coming to terms with the fact that he was gay.

He said then: “My friends are the best, especially Holly, who has been so kind and wise – and who has hugged me as I sobbed on her shoulder… Every day on This Morning, I sit in awe of those we meet who have been brave and open in confronting their truth – so now it’s my turn to share mine.”

But earlier this year, the stress of his brother’s child sex abuse case reportedly began to pile more pressure on Phil and Holly’s working relationship. Timothy Schofield was jailed for 12 years last week after being found guilty of a string of offences, the most serious involving an alleged sex act with a boy.

More recently, viewers began to spot a perceived increasing irritation from Holly as her co-presenter talked over some of her questions when interviewing guests. The chemistry looked to be rapidly diminishing.

After learning his fate on Thursday Phil left London for Cornwall to be with his mother, Pat, 85.

The Sun reports a source they describe as Schofield’s ‘pal’ saying: “Phil has been given his This Morning wages for six months [thought to be in the region of £300,000] — but if that was meant to make him feel better, it’s just not working. Phil feels he has been shown zero respect and he is devastated by how this has played out.

“He thinks the way he was forced to step down was so unjust and he feels completely broken by how this situation has been handled. This Morning was Phil’s life and now he feels he has been knifed without proper consultation.

“Phil consulted his mum Pat and his ex-wife Stephanie before agreeing to step back. He is incredibly close to them both and wanted to gauge their thoughts.Phil also spoke with his daughters, Molly — who is a talent agent at his management company YMU — and Ruby.”

Kevin Lygo, Director of Television at ITV, paid tribute to Phil upon news of his departure: “Phillip is hands down one of the best broadcasters of his generation and we thank him for his two decades of terrific television on the This Morning sofa.”

ITV is now expected to decide who will be his permanent replacement. Alison Hammond is considered a hot favourite. The former Big Brother contestant has odds of 2-1 with the bookies to land the role. However, Rylan Clark, 34, who has also presented the show, is thought to be a popular choice. Another stand-in presenter, Josie Gibson, 38, could spring a surprise and join Holly on the sofa.

And Gino D’Acampo, 46, who became a star thanks to his cookery stints on the programme, could also be a surprise choice. D’Acampo gained a huge following after being responsible for some of the most hilarious moments on This Morning, with his antics often leaving Phil and Holly unable to speak as they “corpsed” on live television.

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