Phillip Schofield affair: This Morning to air as normalon May 28, 2023 at 8:25 pm

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ITV says the flagship show will continue “as normal” on Monday and there are “no plans” to axe it.

Phillip SchofieldImage source, PA Media

This Morning will run on Monday as normal and there are “no plans” to axe it, ITV has said, as it faces questions over Phillip Schofield’s affair with a younger male colleague.

On Friday, Schofield confirmed he had a relationship with an employee while married and lied repeatedly to hide it.

He quit ITV, saying the relationship had been “unwise but not illegal”.

The broadcaster said it had investigated in 2020 but found no evidence of the affair beyond “rumour”.

Both Schofield and the junior colleague had at the time “categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours”, ITV added.

On Sunday, lawyers representing Schofield confirmed to the BBC that the pair had met when the younger colleague was a 15-year-old boy.

They stressed there was no sexual relationship of any nature between Schofield and the individual until after he had started working at This Morning.

He was 18 by the time he joined the programme.

The Mail on Sunday first reported the pair had met when the presenter was giving a talk at a theatre school which the 15-year-old attended.

Schofield later arranged an interview for him at ITV before he started there, and “some time afterwards” the affair began, the paper said.

ITV bosses have been facing questions about whether the programme can survive the scandal.

Former ITV daytime figures, such as Eamonn Holmes and Dan Wootton, said confirmation of the affair raised questions about how much the network’s managers knew about the relationship.

An ITV spokesperson said on Sunday: “As we said on the record yesterday, This Morning is not under review and there’s no plans for the show to be axed.”

They confirmed it would return as normal on Monday, with Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary presenting.

ITV did not respond to the BBC when asked about a report in the Sunday People that some daytime staff were planning to go to HR next week to threaten a mass walkout over a series of “ignored complaints”.

Meanwhile Dr Ranj Singh, who worked for This Morning for a decade, criticised the “toxic” culture at the programme, saying the issues “go far beyond” Schofield.

He said he last worked on the show two years ago, having found himself used “less and less” after raising concerns about how people were being treated there.

Speaking on Twitter, he said he “did not know the truth about what was going on with Phillip”, but added: “It takes more than one person to create a culture.”

On Sunday evening, ITV responded saying it was sorry to read the post. It added that after a complaint from Dr Ranj there had been an external review which “found no evidence of bullying or discrimination”.

Schofield had already quit This Morning last weekend after reports of a rift with co-star Holly Willoughby. Schofield has insisted his departure was unrelated to the affair.

She said on Saturday it was “very hurtful” to discover her former co-host had lied to her about his affair.

“When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not,” she said.

Willoughby is on an “extended half term break” until 5 June.

‘So, very, very sorry’

On Sunday, former culture secretary Nadine Dorries said ITV had questions to answer.

She told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme there appeared to be an understanding that everything would move on following Schofield’s “grovelling apology”.

“It’s not the case, I’m afraid, because what it does is ask questions about what happened.

“We know there were complaints lodged with ITV over a long period of time – what happened to those complaints?”

She continued: “And how did that young boy get a job at ITV – what were the processes that were involved and what were the safeguarding processes that were in place for someone who was so young at that age?”

Responding to Ms Dorries’ reference to the employee as “young” an ITV Spokesperson said: “We do not employ anyone under 18 for paid work on production at This Morning or indeed ITV.”

Schofield resigned from ITV on Friday after admitting to the affair with the man.

He said he had “met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television”, describing the subsequent relationship as “unwise, but not illegal”.

In a statement to the Daily Mail on Friday, he said: “I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.”

He was still married to his wife Stephanie Lowe at the time. They separated in 2020 after he came out as gay.

Schofield said he was “so, very, very sorry” for being unfaithful to his wife, and for lying to his colleagues, agents, employers, friends, the media, the public and his family about the relationship.

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