Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary feel let down by beleaguered former This Morning host Phillip Schofield after his affair with a significantly younger male colleague was confirmed just days after their gushing tribute to the presenter.
On Friday, the 61-year old quit ITV and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after revealing he conducted an affair with a young colleague while he was still married to Stephanie Lowe – the mother of his two children.
Days earlier Alison, 48, and Dermot, 50, had paid tribute to ‘top broadcaster’ Phillip while opening their usual end-of-week show, just 24-hours after what would be his final appearance on This Morning following 21-years in front of camera.
The pair are now said to be upset at being drawn into the situation after details of his affair with the colleague, understood to be a runner with aspirations of becoming a TV presenter, finally emerged.
A source told MailOnline: ‘Obviously lots of people have been upset on and off camera following Phillip’s extraordinary statement on Friday. It’s fair to say they feel disappointed.’
Unimpressed: Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary feel let down by beleaguered former This Morning host Phillip Schofield
End: On Friday, Phillip, 61, quit ITV and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an affair with a younger This Morning colleague
Phillip received just a 30-second tribute at the start of This Morning on Friday 19 May as Alison and Dermot stepped in after he was axed after 21 years.
The pair began the show by briefly addressing his exit, but there was no montage, just a single photo of the veteran presenter onscreen and around half a minute of warm words.
Opening the broadcast, Alison said: ‘We can’t start today’s show without paying tribute to the man who spent the last two decades sitting on the This Morning sofa. Phillip Schofield.’
Dermot added: ‘So as a show, everyone on and off screen at ITV and This Morning on say a huge thank you to Phil for what he’s done to make the show such a success over the last 21 years.’
Alison continued: ‘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.’
A week later, Phillip announced he had left ITV altogether and stepped back from his last existing commitment with the channel, the British Soap Awards.
The broadcaster, who was also dropped by his long-standing agents YMU, admitted he’d had an affair with a younger male This Morning colleague.
When the colleague was 15, the schoolboy asked him for a job, and Phillip later arranged an interview for him. It led to a position as an ITV production assistant when he turned 18. Some time afterwards, their affair began.
Warm words: Following his last show on Thursday 18 May, Alison and Dermot paid just a 30-second tribute to Phil (Phil seen with his former co-host Holly Willoughby on This Morning this month)
The news about Alison and Dermot’s dismay comes just hours after MP Nadine Dorries has piled pressure on Phillip’s co-host Holly Willoughby and called for a probe into complaints made to ITV about Phillip on This Morning.
The former culture secretary also accused him of bullying and abusing ‘authority, power and trust’ after he confessed to having an affair with the younger colleague and covering it up with lies.
The presenter quit ITV after admitting to the Mail that he lied about an ‘unwise but not illegal’ affair with a much younger man. He also apologised to his wife of almost 30 years Stephanie who stood by him after he came out as gay in 2020.
His co-host of 13 years Holly, who Ms Dorries now claims ‘has questions to answer’, said that it was ‘hurtful’ to discover she had been lied to when she confronted him over rumours of the affair.
Sources close to the presenter said it had been a ‘traumatic’ revelation for the This Morning host and a ‘time of real sadness’ as Schofield ‘was her very close friend’ but that she has ‘absolutely no plans to leave’ the show.
ITV confirmed that they had investigated rumours of the relationship, which first begun to circulate in 2020, but that Phillip and the young man had ‘repeatedly denied’ the affair.
Kevin Lygo, director of television at ITV, today denied that mistakes were made during the network’s investigation. He simply responded ‘No’ when asked whether mistakes had been made as he was confronted by Sky News over which bosses knew what at ITV.
As Phillip’s 38-year career lays in ruins, Ms Dorries is the latest to speak out against the TV presenter who faced allegations of ‘toxic’ behaviour from eight ITV stars according to Dan Wootton.
Apology: Phillip’s affair took place during his nearly 30-year marriage to his wife Stephanie, 59, and Phillip said he was ‘so very sorry’ for being unfaithful
Calling for an investigation into the complaints made to ITV, she told BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg today: ‘The fact that Phillip Schofield has made a rather grovelling apology to the Daily Mail in the form of an email there seems to be this understanding that that’s it now and everything will move on. It’s not the case I’m afraid.
‘What it actually does is opens up more questions as to what happened. We know that there were complaints lodged with ITV over a long period of time. What happened to those complaints? I think the editor of the programme Martin Frizell has some questions to answer himself.
‘And I’m afraid so does Holly Willoughby. How did that young boy, so young, get a job at ITV. What were the processes involved? What was the safeguarding in place for someone so young at that age? What contact was first made? Who contacted who?’
When asked whether presenters such as Schofield have too much power, Ms Dorries, who has been presenting herself recently, added: ‘There are men, men particularly, who have positions of authority or trust and power, kind of think they are above the law and above those standards that the rest of us are held by and held to.
‘I think there’s absolutely an element of that which takes place.’
Describing her own experience of being on the This Morning sofa, she said: ‘[It’s] never easy, as you known Laura, being interviewed as a politician by a presenter or a journalist, it’s never an easy experience.
‘But I just found him to be quite bullying in his attitude towards the co-host who was standing in for Holly Willoughby. That made me feel more uncomfortable than answering the questions. When the camera was on me and I was talking, he started aggressively jabbing at the scripts with his hands, the pages were rattling. The co-presenter looked terrified.’
Phillip admitted to the affair on Friday, which he claimed was ‘unwise but not illegal’, in a lengthy statement, in which he also apologised to his wife and family.
The ‘unwise’ relationship took place during his nearly 30-year marriage to his wife Stephanie, 59, and Phillip said he was ‘so very sorry’ for being unfaithful.
Stephanie, who shares two kids Ruby, 27, and Molly, 29, with Phillip, issued a statement when her husband came out as gay in a moving This Morning segment in 2020.
In a statement, the former ITV presenter said: ‘I am making this statement via the Daily Mail, to whom I have already apologised personally for misleading, through my lawyer who I also misled, about a story [sic] which they wanted to write about me a few days ago.
‘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.
Family: Stephanie shares two daughters, Ruby, 27, and Molly, 29, with Phillip, with Stephanie paying tribute to Phil when he came out as gay in 2020
Phillip Schofield’s statement in full as he admits affair with young This Morning colleague:
I am making this statement via the Daily Mail, to whom I have already apologised personally for misleading, through my lawyer who I also misled, about a story [sic] which they wanted to write about me a few days ago.
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. I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.
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 a just a friendship. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over…
I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family. I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife…
I am resigning from ITV with immediate effect, expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.
I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.
‘I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.
‘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 a just a friendship.
‘That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over…
‘I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family. I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife…
‘I am resigning from ITV with immediate effect, expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.
‘I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.’
After his statement, an ITV spokesman said: ‘We are deeply disappointed by the admissions of deceit made tonight by Phillip Schofield.
‘The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust. Philip made assurances to us which he now acknowledges were untrue and we feel badly let down.
‘We accept his resignation from ITV and therefore can confirm that he will not be appearing on ITV as had previously been stated.’
Following his statement, Phillip has also parted company with his management team YMU after 35 years.
Mary Bekhait, the Group CEO of YMU Group, said: ‘Honesty and integrity are core values for YMU’s whole business, defining everything we do. Talent management is a relationship based entirely on trust.
‘This week, we have learned important new information about our client Phillip Schofield.
‘These facts contradicted what Phillip had previously told YMU, as well as the external advisors we had brought in to support him.
Questions continue to mount over the future of ITV bosses, including CEO Carolyn McCall, and the popular daytime TV show, prompting the network to insist today that This Morning will not be axed.
Extinguishing speculation with a direct 30-word statement, an ITV spokesman said today: ‘As we said on the record yesterday, This Morning is not under review and there’s no plans for the show to be axed.
‘This Morning will return as normal tomorrow.’
It comes after Holly told of her devastation when she discovered he had lied to her about the relationship.
She revealed: ‘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.’
After quitting This Morning last weekend, Phillip had still been set to host the British Soap Awards for a 13th successive year, but he will no longer be doing so after quitting ITV altogether.
Meanwhile, This Morning regular Carol Vorderman revealed on Friday who she thinks will replace Phillip Schofield on This Morning.
During an appearance on the BBC’s Have I Got News for You, Carol, 62, hinted at who would permanently replace Phillip alongside Holly Willoughby, with the star claiming it would be Alison Hammond.
Former Countdown regular Carol appears every other Friday on This Morning do discuss various topics.
When her Have I Got News For You team captain Ian Hislop put it to her she could replace Phillip, Carol said: ‘No! Probably Holly and Alison, I would have thought.’
Host Steph McGovern asked Carol: ‘Is that where your money is?’, she responded: ‘That’s where I’d put my money.’
Alison currently hosts the show every Friday alongside Dermot O’Leary.
Phillip met his future lover at a theatre school in North West England when he was in his late 40s.
Some years later the younger man became a production assistant on This Morning when Phillip was in his early 50s and their ill-advised friendship – which grew into a relationship – started.
The scandal over the affair follows a turbulent few months for Schofield, who for decades was ITV’s king of daytime television.
But eight days ago he sensationally quit This Morning after 21 years after falling out with Holly. His departure came just a day after his younger brother Timothy was jailed for 12 years for 11 convictions of sexual offences involving a child.
Phillip was forced to confirm allegations of an affair were true because his former lover – who had also worked on This Morning – had unexpectedly confessed all to his lawyers.
The presenter had hired top law firm Mishcon de Reya to represent the young man, now in his mid 20s, presumably believing that he would keep quiet.
But his former lover told lawyers that although he feared exposure, he was fed up lying about the relationship.
Although ITV investigated Phillip’s affair in 2020, a senior lawyer has said there should be a ‘probe’ into the affair over a possible ‘abuse of power’.
Tough: Phillip apologised to his wife Stephanie Lowe (pictured) who stood by him after he came out as gay in 2020
Richard Scorer, of Slater and Gordon, said that while all of the details of the relationship were not yet known, ‘any situation where a young person may have been subjected to a potential imbalance of abuse of power needs to be investigated fully and independently’.
The abuse specialist added that the long-standing rumours about the affair – and the allegations that others in ITV were aware of the relationship – meant it was ‘imperative that there is a full and transparent investigation’.
The calls for a probe come as ITV’s chief is said to believe that This Morning’s reputation is ‘tarnished beyond repair’ – leaving presenters and crew scrambling for their jobs.
PR expert Mark Borkowski told MailOnline that the future of ITV bosses, including McCall, will likely be safe because Schofield admitted to deceiving everyone.
As for Phillip’s future in TV, he said: ‘Phillip Schofield has no future, it’s over for him for the level he has lied to everyone and he has admitted to that.’
He added that ITV now has to move on and focus on the programme. ‘Holly Willoughby and all her advisers and publicists will need to work extremely hard and work on great television to bring that back,’ he said.
‘ITV and all these people need to get their PR right. It’s been DIY PR. It’s been the equivalent in PR terms of looking for a gas leak with a matchstick.
‘Make no mistake, the pressure is on the programme and Holly to deliver. The question is whether viewers will desert the programme.’