Feuding Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield return to the This Morning sofa

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Phillip Schofield today complimented his This Morning co-host Holly Willoughby for looking ‘gorgeous’ at the Prince’s Trust awards last night – as she revealed she was leaving today’s show early to visit Buckingham Palace. 

Holly was on presenting duties at the Prince’s Trust Awards in London last night, although Phil was nowhere to be seen. 

At the start of today’s episode, Phil lauded his co-star for her glamorous look at the ceremony, before she announced her surprise engagement. 

‘I have put my posh dress on today because later on this afternoon I am heading to Buckingham Palace and there the King will be and we will get to introduce the winners,’ she said. 

‘So you are off mid dayish and I am holding the fort?’ asked Phil, to which Holly replied: ‘Yes you are, thank you very much.’ 

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield live on This Morning for the third programme this week 

Holly looked glamorous in a figure-hugging red dress at the Prince's Trust Awards in London last night

Holly looked glamorous in a figure-hugging red dress at the Prince’s Trust Awards in London last night 

Holly was on presenting duties at the Prince’s Trust Awards in London last night, although Phil was nowhere to be seen. 

At the start of today’s episode, Phil lauded his co-star for her glamorous look at the ceremony, before she announced her surprise engagement. 

‘I have put my posh dress on today because later on this afternoon I am heading to Buckingham Palace and there the King will be and we will get to introduce the winners,’ she said. 

‘So you are off mid dayish and I am holding the fort?’ asked Phil, to which Holly replied: ‘Yes you are, thank you very much.’ 

Fans took to social media to joke that Holly ‘looked happy’ to be able to leave the episode early. 

One wrote: ‘Given the, erm, *circumstances* I reckon Holly jumped at the chance to knock off half an hour early.’

A second said: ‘No wonder Holly looks happier. She gets to leave early.’

Analysing today’s episode, body language episode Judi James said Phil appeared ‘more relaxed’ that he did on the previous two days.

She told MailOnline: ‘His pose was all casual angles, from the tilted head and shoulders to the bent knee and the asymmetric smile, and his hands looked as though they were hanging casually from his pockets rather than being stuffed there.

‘In contrast, Holly’s pose looked straight to attention, with her torso upright and her arms straight to her sides. 

‘She looked shocked at Phil’s sudden, playful ”Tell me all about it!”, which came with a dramatic circling of the head and a lift of the brows as he twisted his neck at a 45 degree angle to look back at her in a wide-opened-eyes stare.

‘Holly’s ”I had a lovely day yesterday” received another flattering comment from Phil that looked overkill enough to hint at a teeniest dab of sarcasm. ”You looked gorgeous” came with a raised chin and closed eyes.’ 

Ms James noticed another change in the pair’s body language when Holly announced she was leaving early for the palace.  

‘Holly clasped her hands in a barrier gesture here but her pulled-in-chin smile suggested self-pride while Phil flashed a rather forced-looking grin in her direction. 

”’It’s fine” he told the camera, with the corners of his mouth curling down.’

The body language expert said the duo’s behaviour during a section of the show about lawncare – which prompted several suggestive jokes – was particularly notable.  

‘As Holly bent to peer at the video clip from the garden she nudged Phil quite hard with her elbow as though either sharing a joke or inviting him to mirror her,’ she said. 

‘Were they indulging in a nudge-fight? If so it could signal two options, either a sighting of a tiny scuffle or a moment of genuine shared and private fun between the couple. 

‘Phil did seem to laugh first before she nudged him, which would suggest the shared fun option.

‘This is the first time the pair have performed a fun tie-sign of private humour shared between them since all the rumours started.

‘It led to a one hand on the hip pose from Holly to suggest a re-boot of some feelings of power and then some more authentic-looking shared giggles as Phil asked her if she’d been gardening.’           

Today's show opened with a segment about how to care for your lawn

Today’s show opened with a segment about how to care for your lawn 

The pair have failed to address their rift on air, but 170,000 fewer viewers watched Monday’s episode compared to the previous week amid claims the pair seemed ‘awkward’.

Concern about the breakfast programme’s future has prompted speculation about an upcoming personnel shake-up, with insiders claiming Phil, 61, could be forced out along with top producer Martin Frizell.

Speaking to The Sun, a source said: ‘This Morning is preparing for some seismic changes this summer – Phil is lined up as the first major name for the chop when his contract expires this summer. Seeing the reaction of This Morning viewers has been a wake-up call.’

But PR expert Mark Borkowski played down the chance of any imminent personnel moves, saying ITV would seek to ‘ride out the cyclone’.

He told MailOnline: ‘I think ITV and programme bosses will indeed take a long hard look at the presenters. 

‘Perhaps it’s a time to change and regenerate with two fresh faces. But don’t write any obits just yet. 

‘Viewing figures fluctuate and I’m sure bosses will be looking at a long term aggregates. 

‘The issue is to look at all the options and no bow to social media surges.’

The pair - pictured on today's episode - have failed to address their rift during on air

The pair – pictured on today’s episode – have failed to address their rift during on air

Mr Borkowski branded the scandal ‘a storm in a tea cup’ and added: ‘The whole fuss proves how valuable the format it is to ITV.’

One reported cause of the fallout was due to Phil allegedly not telling Holly about his brother Timothy’s trial for child sex offences. 

Timothy was convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

During the trial, Phil took a three-week break from This Morning and publicly rejected his brother.

Last week, Phil released a statement about their friendship without first consulting Holly, which is also said to have affected the friendship.

Figures revealed Monday’s episode had an average of 726,720 people watching compared to 894,000 on the same day last week. 

Peak viewership was also significantly down at 914,000 compared to 1.058million on May 8.

Phil leaves his home today to head to the This Morning studios in London

Phil leaves his home today to head to the This Morning studios in London 

Holly - pictured this morning - has had a spectacular falling out with her former best friend, it's been claimed

Holly – pictured this morning – has had a spectacular falling out with her former best friend, it’s been claimed 

By contrast, the duo pulled in 1.3m viewers for their 2022 Christmas show and an average of 1.4m in the first four weeks of 2021. 

Senior figures at ITV called a crisis meeting following a wave of negative social media feedback about Monday’s show.

After seeing the reaction on Twitter, with viewers panning both Holly and Phil, ITV bosses are pondering what to do next.

One source told the Daily Mail: ‘Social media is used as a barometer to see what the public think. 

‘Those in charge were left no under no illusion that it was a total disaster.

‘It was painful for the This Morning team to work on and it was just as painful for them to watch.

‘There was a meeting afterwards to discuss how it went. 

‘That went on for some time. 

‘To be honest, everyone was just so relieved to get it over with, but even if the show does continue to go on for some time, it will continue to be a massive headache.’

It comes as a relationship expert who has appeared on This Morning launched a blistering attack on Phil, calling him the ‘monster of daytime TV’. 

Phil, who has hosted the show since 2002, could be forced out along with top producer Martin Frizell (left)

Phil, who has hosted the show since 2002, could be forced out along with top producer Martin Frizell (left)

Appearing on GB News, Louise Van Der Velde called for him to be axed and said she found him ‘arrogant’ and ‘fake’.

She told host Dan Wootton: ‘My outlook has always been, whenever I am on, to be respectful to people and you kind of expect the same treatment back.

‘With Phil, he is like this monster of daytime TV. He is rude, people have to sit still and speak when they are spoken to – it’s just a very aggressive attitude.

‘No matter how nice I have been, he has been arrogant. He is all nice and all smiles for the camera and jolly…

‘But frankly he is fake and it’s time he got the boot.’



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