ITV denies plans to axe This Morning over Phillip Schofield controversy | ITV channel

ITV has said there are no plans to take its This Morning show off air after reports it could be axed over the Phillip Schofield controversy.

The broadcaster denied speculation in Sunday’s newspapers about the show’s future, with a spokesperson saying: “As we said on the record yesterday [Saturday], This Morning is not under review and there are no plans for the show to be axed. This Morning will return as normal tomorrow.”

Schofield, 61, resigned from the broadcaster on Friday and was dropped by his talent agency after admitting to an “unwise, but not illegal” affair with a young male colleague on This Morning.

His co-presenter Holly Willoughby has said Schofield previously denied to her that he had a relationship with a younger ITV colleague – adding his admission now was “very hurtful”.

She announced on Instagram on Saturday that Schofield’s previous denial of rumours “was a lie”. “It’s taken time to process yesterday’s news,” Willoughby posted. “When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not. It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie.”

The Sun on Sunday reported that some hosts had threatened to quit in the fallout over the controversy, with one household name reportedly said to have drafted a resignation statement, and senior producers said to fear an exodus of regular presenters. The newspaper reported a source saying: “The future of This Morning is hanging by a thread and the presenting talent are unsure of their next move.”

The show has continued with cover presenters Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary, while Willoughby is on a two-week holiday.

A spokesperson for ITV said on Saturday the broadcaster was “not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour” when it looked into the matter in 2020.

“ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated,” the statement said.

“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.

“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.

“Phillip’s statement yesterday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”

Schofield revealed the affair began while he was still with his wife, Stephanie, in a statement published by the Daily Mail on Friday, adding he was “very, very sorry” for having been unfaithful to her.

He announced he was stepping down from presenting the ITV show with “immediate effect” last weekend.

Schofield, who also co-hosted Dancing on Ice with Willoughby, said he would also step down from presenting the British Soap Awards, his last public commitment.

In his statement, Schofield apologised for lying to This Morning about the relationship. “The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them, and to many others about a relationship that I had with someone working on This Morning,” he said.

“I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.” He added: “Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.”


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