More photos have emerged of Phillip Schofield with his much younger former lover – as This Morning returned today with Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary as hosts.
The industry veteran, 61, has been at the centre of a major scandal after revealing on Friday that he had lied to ITV, his lawyers and talent agency about his affair with the young man.
Numerous photos show the pair together, including at a This Morning Live event alongside Holly Willoughby.
They were also seen sharing the stage at the National Television Awards that same year, when the show was named Best Daytime Programme.
Schofield had been carrying out the affair while he was still married to his wife and without the knowledge of Holly, his former co-host and close friend.
Phillip Schofield with his young lover (middle) and Holly Willoughby at an industry event as early as 2018
Phillip, his lover and Holly posing on the This Morning sofa. Holly has since told how Phillip ‘lied’ to her about the affair
Schofield on stage with the young man (pictured middle) at the 2018 National Television Awards
Staff who worked at ITV said they had wondered why only the younger colleague – who the Mail is choosing not to name – would be allowed to assist the star with his wardrobe and food.
One told The Sun: ‘It was odd — suddenly this new young staff member was glued to Phillip’s side.
‘It was made clear to all other staff he was Phillip’s chosen aide — even though at times Phillip was quite abrasive towards him.’
The daytime show has been plunged into meltdown since revelations over Schofield’s relationship with a younger man at ITV emerged on Friday, with the channel losing millions of pounds in sponsorship deals and some guests refusing approaches to appear on the programme.
Today, the show’s new hosts tried to put a lid on the backlash by saying how much they ‘loved’ making the programme. O’Leary said: ‘We love making this show for all of you,’ to which Hammond added: ‘That’s what we’re going to continue to do.’
Guest Gyles Brandreth then said: ‘This is a happy place to be. I enjoy being here. We’re happy people in a happy place with some interesting stories.’
And speaking out for the first time since leaving the show today, Schofield hit out at those ‘with a grudge against me’.
In a statement posted on his Instagram, the presenter said: ‘Now I no longer work on This Morning I am free to say this. I hope you have noticed that it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice.
‘This Morning IS the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there there was no toxicity.
‘You can listen to those persistently loud voices if you like. But the thousands of guests over the years, thousands of staff and crew, hundreds of presenters and contributors all know it, it IS a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard, working people.’
Another photo from the event, where This Morning was named Best Daytime Programme
Schofield leaves The Ivy Club with the young man in March 2017
It comes as car dealer Arnold Clark, the show’s biggest sponsor, announced it will not be renewing its existing multi-million-pound deal with the channel in autumn as planned.
ITV bosses are fighting to save the programme, with brands associated with the channel having become concerned it is ‘no longer a safe bet’.
Once ITV’s ‘jewel in the crown’, the Mail understands some people are also now refusing offers to appear as guests on the show.And in a major intervention last night, Dr Ranj Singh, who was a regular guest on This Morning, accused the show of having a ‘toxic’ culture of bullying and discrimination, adding that he had taken his concerns to ‘the top’ but felt he had been ‘managed out’ and was dropped from screens.
Arnold Clark’s multi-year deal with This Morning began in September 2021, but the car dealer has confirmed it will not be renewed when the contract ends later this year.
A source told The Sun: ‘There is a lot of speculation about This Morning’s future and some staff are concerned about their jobs.
‘Phil’s admission of deceit has plunged ITV into a crisis which it has never been faced with before.
‘It is widely known internally that they have lost over £2million in sponsorship deals since Phil’s affair became public.
‘Arnold Clark, who are the main sponsors of This Morning, are also reconsidering their position.
‘Brands do not feel ITV is a safe bet at the moment. ITV are doing all they can to claw back control — but it will not be an easy task.’
In a statement the car dealer said: ‘Our existing sponsorship of This Morning will end this Autumn as planned.’
Dr Ranj said he had taken his concerns to ‘the top’ of ITV but that he felt he had been ‘managed out’
Following his last show on May 18, Hammond and O’Leary paid a 30-second tribute to Phil when they hosted the programme the following day, after his 21 years on the show
In a lengthy Instagram post, Dr Ranj Singh said he had ‘thought long and hard’ before weighing in on the ongoing scandal
The television medic confirmed that he had taken concerns about the behaviour of editors and senior producers to ITV and had then seen his screentime drop
An ITV insider said the image of the daytime show is ‘clearly tarnished’, but the channel’s bosses will continue fighting to preserve its future.
A source told The Mirror: ‘The next few weeks will be a desperate bid to save the show – and the jobs of the execs.
‘Fingers are being pointed at the top brass, even though he admitted he lied to all of them.
‘The show’s wholesome image is clearly tarnished, but bullish ITV execs are not going to just throw the baby out with the bath water.
‘They are determined to prove that the brand is stronger than any single presenter, and that they can give it a fresh start after Schofield.’
This Morning has been surrounded by chaos since Schofield was forced to admit in a statement to the Daily Mail on Friday that he had lied about his relationship with the younger man to ITV, his lawyers, his talent agency and his co-star of 14 years.
Last night the scandal showed no signs of easing with new photos emerging of a smiling Schofield, 61, pictured with his former lover and Willoughby in 2018 as they left a This Morning Live event.
And the Mail revealed that while ITV insists that it held an investigation into the men’s relationship when rumours began to circulate in 2020, the host’s former lover said he had never been quizzed over the matter.
Holly Willoughby is understood to be battling to maintain her presenting role on the show and hopes to ride out the scandal.
She has currently been off-air since Schofield’s sudden departure, however, this was due to planned holiday for the school half term break.
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby with Dr Ranj on This Morning in 2019. The TV doctor said he felt he had to speak up
Unimpressed: Alison Hammond, 48, and Dermot O’Leary, 50, are reportedly fuming after paying tribute to Phillip Schofield following his departure from This Morning
The show’s Twitter profile was updated on Saturday to remove a picture with Phillip Schofield in it
The presenter of 14-years is expected to make a return to the programme on Monday, June 5.
But Willoughby is facing calls for her to also leave the show, with former culture secretary Nadine Dorries who claimed the much-loved presenter ‘has questions to answer’.
Since Schofield dramatically left the programme earlier this month, photos of the long-time host have been removed from ITV studios in White City.
A large framed picture of Schofield which hung in the TV Centre in London where the show is filmed was also removed.
Some have called for the mid-morning show to be cancelled all together, with the editor who launched it 36 years ago calling for it to ‘die with dignity’ yesterday evening.
Dianne Nelmes said the show had become ‘tired’ and was now ‘shipwrecked on scandal’.
She added: ‘The situation is very sad. Whatever has gone on, Phillip has been a stalwart presenter of the show.
‘I don’t think that Holly can hold this show on her own, not even with Alison Hammond which is said to be the favoured outcome.
‘I don’t think Holly can handle it. Phil will be missed.’
Ex-Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries joined the calls for an independent investigation.