How Phillip Schofield helped Holly Willoughby get her big break – before it all soured

ITV's This Morning looked very different on Monday as the long-running show aired its first episode since Phillip Schofield 's sudden departure this weekend, with Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary standing in for the TV presenter and his co-star Holly Willoughby.

Following reports of a feud between Phil and Holly, who the 61-year-old previously described as his "TV wife", Phil stepped down from the show after over 20 years at the helm over the weekend.

While Holly will continue to host the hit ITV show without Phil after an extended half term break, the former All Star Mr & Mrs host was instrumental to Holly getting the This Morning gig.

Phillip Schofield's rise from presenting with a puppet to ‘king of daytime TV’ as he quits This Morning

According to the The Daily Mail, Phil "demanded" Holly "join him on the sofa after he decided he'd had enough of his predecessor, Fern Britton", adding: "Back then, she was relatively inexperienced – and that, say some, was part of her appeal to Schofield.

"She was malleable, he may have reasoned. She would consider herself in his debt – and she would never be a threat to him. How wrong he was."

OK! has contacted an ITV representative for comment.

A TV insider exclusively told OK!however, that talent are not involved in editorial decisions of this kind, adding: "These types of decisions would be made by the network."

After hosting Dancing on Ice alongside Phil in 2006, Holly was chosen to replace Fern Britton on This Morning in 2009, with Phil telling BBC News that she was "at the top of everybody's list to pick up where Fern leaves off".

He added on his website: "She filled in a few months ago and, from that moment on, everybody knew she was the obvious number one choice."

At the time, Holly described This Morning as "the ultimate dream job", adding: "To spend my days sat next to Phil on the sofa just makes it that bit extra special."

Phil later went on to reveal in an interview with The Sun in 2018 that when the position of his co-host became available on This Morning, he told producers: "'Holly is the only person I want. If I can't have her I am not playing.'"

"Dancing on Ice is what started it all off. It was the first time we worked together," he added.

While the presenting pair went on to win numerous National Television Awards together and were best known for their giggly presence on the This Morning sofa, rumours of a fall-out between the duo hit the press last week, with a source telling OK! that Holly is wanting to "revamp" the show "with someone new".

The likes of Alison Hammond, Stacey Solomon and Rylan Clark are said to be favourites for Phil's spot on the show.


  • Philip Schofield looks 'stressed' as he walks with elderly mum after shock This Morning exit
  • Ruth Langsford ignores Phillip Schofield's This Morning departure on Loose Women
  • Eamonn Holmes rips into Phillip and Holly after This Morning drama
  • This Morning fans confused by Dermot and Alison's 'weird' Phillip Schofield tribute
  • Phillip Schofield will only present one ITV show after This Morning exit

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