Phillip Schofield says he’s been ‘hung out to dry’ by ITV and Holly Willoughby with their friendship now in ‘tatters’ after he was axed by This Morning when she issued TV bosses with a ‘him or me’ ultimatum

  • Phillip Schofield, 61, dramatically quit his role on This Morning on Saturday
  • He released a statement on social media which did not mention his co-host 
  • Follow all the latest news and developments on MailOnline’s live blog here 

Phillip Schofield believes he was ‘hung out to dry’ by This Morning bosses after he dramatically announced he was leaving the role on Instagram on Saturday, following his feud with co-host and former best friend Holly Willoughby.

The couple are said to have called a truce in a private chat with Schofield agreeing to leave the show in a deal which will ensure he gets a new solo-presenting gig and can keep discussions open about his future on other shows such as Dancing On Ice.

The veteran presenter finally agreed to the network’s ultimatum that he quit after 21 years hosting the daytime programme amid a fallout with his co-star – who is said to have told ITV she would leave if he remained on the show.

He issued a pointed statement on social media thanking fans for their support, but failed to mention Willoughby at all, as sources say he told friends the channel has ‘hung him out to dry’.

Schofield, 61 – who was understood to have fled on holiday yesterday to visit his mother in Cornwall – now has just ‘tatters’ of his friendship with Willoughby left after he failed to tell her about his brother’s child sexual abuse case.

Schofield issued a pointed statement on social media thanking fans for their support, but failed to mention Willoughby at all

Sources say it is hard to see how the pair’s friendship could ever recover from the row

Phillip Schofield was yesterday sensationally ousted from This Morning after co-star Holly Willoughby told ITV bosses she no longer wanted to work with him

An ITV source told the Mirror: ‘Phil’s fate was decided on Friday. It was a unanimous decision that he had to go. 

‘He was upset, but firm that if he was going to walk away he wanted to keep his roles on The Cube, the British Soap Awards, and Dancing on Ice – crucially, with or without Holly.

‘It has all been worked out in the smoothest way possible, but behind the scenes he has told friends he has been hung out to dry. And his friendship with Holly is now in tatters.

‘It is hard to see how it could recover. The fact he chose to pointedly thank people who supported him – and the viewers – without mentioning her says it all.’

The once inseparable pair had increasingly grown apart in recent months, but the split became final after Mr Schofield failed to tell Ms Willoughby, 42, about his brother’s child sex abuse trial.

Phillip left the show after frantic meetings with his representatives and ITV’s most senior chiefs. They agreed a trade-off in which he was promised he would be able to host a new show solo and that conversations around existing shows would continue, The Mirror reported.

It is not clear exactly who will present the show tomorrow – but it will be someone from the This Morning team.

It is understood that Schofield, who was described as ‘a broken man’, was digging his heels in to stay right up until the end, and that it took ‘much persuasion’ for him to agree to terminate his contract immediately. It means last Thursday was his final appearance on This Morning.

An insider told The Sun : ‘ITV bosses had to choose which horse to back – Phil or Holly. And it was clear where their loyalties lay.’

They added: ‘Holly is the real winner in all of this as she has emerged victorious and classy.’

Mr Schofield said: ‘I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.

‘Throughout my career in TV – including the very difficult last few days – I have always done my best to be honourable and kind. 

‘I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.

‘So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future. 

‘I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me – especially This Morning’s amazing viewers.’ He made no mention of Ms Willoughby.

The decision was made late on Friday after days of crisis meetings at ITV. It was decided that the announcement would be made yesterday to give Schofield time to leave his West London home to go away on a break and escape the limelight. 

Thursday’s ITV show, which Holly closed by saying ‘See you Monday!’, while Phil simply said ‘Bye’, prompted viewers to speculate that he knew it would be his last time on the This Morning sofa

The pair both commented on Schofield’s departure from the show, with Holly Willoughby saying: ‘The sofa won’t be the same without him’

Gino D’Acampo is pictured honouring his promise that he would cook naked on This Morning if they won at the NTA Awards

The split between the pair, pictured in 2014, became final after Schofield failed to tell Willoughby about his brother’s child sex trial

Former close friends Schofield and Willoughby, pictured together on Dancing on Ice in 2006,  had increasingly grown apart in recent months

As well as losing his job, he is said to be distraught over his brother Timothy’s 11 convictions on child sex charges. His brother was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Friday.

Read more: The two weeks that sealed Phillip Schofield’s fate at This Morning

It can also be revealed there was much wrangling over what the exit strategy would be, whether he went immediately or hung on until the summer break and quietly did not return. 

Ms Willoughby, who has found it hard sitting next to him of late, hoped the situation would be dealt with sooner rather than later. 

It comes after weeks of fallout between the one-time king and queen of daytime television. Ms Willoughby, described as ‘quietly shrewd’ by those who know her, is believed to have told ITV she could no longer share a sofa with him, while making it clear she wants to stay.

One source said: ‘It was basically an ultimatum, Holly won the war. We say what Holly wants, Holly gets and never was a truer word spoken.’ 

Ms Willoughy also has the full support of Martin Frizell, This Morning’s veteran editor. 

He is keen to pair Ms Willoughby with Alison Hammond, the former showbiz reporter who he promoted to the Friday presenter slot two years ago. 

Willoughby, described as ‘quietly shrewd’ by those who know her, is believed to have told ITV she could no longer share a sofa with Schofield (pictured on holiday in Dubai in 2016)

Willoughby said she’d ‘never been more proud’ of Schofield when he came out as gay in 2020

The presenters were accused of queue-jumping at the Queen’s lying-in-state last year, which they denied, saying they were working

The pair were the one-time king and queen of daytime television. Their reign on This Morning began in 2009

Schofield, though, had the support of Frizell’s boss, ITV’s head of daytime Emma Gormley. Insiders cite Schofield and Ms Gormley as the ‘losers’ in this.

It comes after Ms Willoughby was also left ‘sad and cross’ after Schofield released a statement about the state of their friendship earlier this month, without consulting her.

Yesterday, she made a brief statement. She wrote: ‘It’s been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. 

‘The sofa won’t feel the same without him.’ She signed off the statement with a pink heart emoji.

ITV sources are now expecting a shake-up on Dancing On Ice, the other show Ms Willoughby and Schofield present together. 

One said: ‘Someone is going to have to step back from that too, there is no way they can work together ever again.’

The Mail on Sunday first revealed Mr Schofield and Ms Willoughby’s relationship was under strain since they were accused of jumping queues to pay their respects to the Queen as she lay in state last year.

But it was the fallout over Mr Schofield’s brother’s trial that finally ripped asunder the failing friendship. 

The Mail on Sunday also revealed last week how a runner who worked with Schofield ‘mysteriously’ left his role on This Morning after striking up a close friendship with the host.

The man, in his 20s, moved to ITV show Loose Women before leaving the network entirely.

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