Under-fire This Morning hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield ‘were heckled by mourners while skipping the 13-hour queue to see The Queen lying in state’
- Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have come under fire for jumping the queue to see the Queen last week
- One witness has said the pair were heckled as they filed way past people who had spent 13 hours lining up
- Joe Tomkins, who spent 14 hours in the queue, said there was ‘real hatred for them’ and what did ‘wasn’t right’
- The This Morning hosts defended their actions, saying they were there to film a report on the event last Friday
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
Under-fire This Morning hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield were heckled by mourners as they skipped the 13-hour line to see the Queen lying in state.
The TV presenters have been blasted on social media this week after video showed them appearing to jump the queue at Westminster Hall on Friday, September 16.
Holly and Phil have defended themselves, saying they were there to report on the event ‘for millions not able to visit in person’.
It has now been revealed that people waiting to pay their respects to Her Majesty shouted at the pair as they entered the hall via the VIP entrance, with one witness saying there was ‘real hatred’ for them.
Joe Tomkins, a builder from Nottingham, said he was outraged to reach the end of end of the queue only to find the broadcaster waltz past mourners.
The 41-year-old, who had been standing in line for 14 hours in frigid temperatures overnight, told The Sun: ‘They walked straight past us all and a few people started shouting.
‘People were saying, “Oi, Phil, Holly, get to the back of the queue!”. Phil looked around and smiled as if to say, “We can do what we want”.
‘It angered a lot of people. People were saying, “How can they do this?” There was a real hatred for them, it wasn’t right.’
Inside the hall: Holly and Phil have faced growing backlash over claims they ‘skipped the queue’ at Westminster Hall – they deny the claims and say they were given official permission to access the hall
Caught on camera: Holly and Phil were pictured entering the hall through a door which was clearly marked as not for public access – thought to be the entrance for media representatives
‘It’s spectacularly backfired’: Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield were keen to issue a public apology over ‘queue-gate’, but were talked out of it after taking legal advice, MailOnline can reveal (pictured on Thursday’s show)
He added: ‘People were tired, frustrated, some were crying, we all had to keep each other going, it was a graft. So to see those two sail past without a care in the world really angered us.’
Mr Tomkins added that it was in stark contrast to former footballer David Beckham, who was praised for queuing for 13 hours with members of the public to pay his respects when he could have got a VIP pass.
A spokesperson for ITV disputed the claims when speaking to The Sun last night, saying: ‘This account is not a fair and accurate representation of what happened or of the timings of that day.
‘Phillip and Holly did not file past the Queen’s coffin. They were alongside a host of other broadcasters to cover the death of the Queen.’
Meanwhile, a source from This Morning told the paper: ‘Phil and Holly actually stopped afterwards for selfies with many of the polite fans who asked.
‘There was no ill will.’
Since it emerged the pair had not queued up with other mourners to get into Westminster Hall there has been a clamour for them to lose their jobs, with a petition calling for them to be fired reaching 50,000 signatures.
Such has been the backlash to the pair that TV insiders are raising ‘serious concerns’ about the presenters’ wellbeing after they appeared tearful and muted on This Morning this week.
It was revealed yesterday that the pair had wanted to apologise on air for ‘queue-gate’ but were talked out of it after taking legal advice.
A statement was issued by ITV on Saturday and later broadcast on Tuesday’s This Morning, which was voiced over by Holly, 41, but both stopped short of using the word ‘sorry’ – a move which left many viewers furious.
By Katie Hind, Consultant Editor Showbusiness for The Daily Mail
Dressed smartly in a grey jumper, jeans and a black jumper, Schofield (left) appeared to be deep in conversation with his daughter Molly (right) and her boyfriend Will Grieveson as they visited a restaurant near his west London home
Under-fire Phillip Schofield cuts a downcast figure on an evening out with his daughter amid the fallout from the royal queue storm.
The presenter looked tired and dejected in his first off-screen public appearance since he and This Morning co-star Holly Willoughby were accused of bypassing the 13-hour line waiting to see the Queen lying in state.
Dressed smartly in a grey jumper, jeans and a black jumper, Schofield appeared to be deep in conversation with his daughter Molly and her boyfriend Will Grieveson as they visited a restaurant near his west London home.
They dined at the restaurant until 11pm on Wednesday, with waiters seemingly staying behind to serve them.
‘The staff were seen cleaning tables and packing things away while Schofield, 60, and his daughter carried on eating and drinking,’ said a witness.
‘Five minutes after they left, staff were also seen heading home. Maybe they didn’t wanted to rush Phil.’
The topic of the dinner conversation could well have been ‘queue-gate’ as Molly is a talent manager at showbusiness agency YMU, who have represented Schofield for more than two decades. She also manages stars such as Davina McCall and Rochelle Humes.
The following morning, Schofield was once again back on screen with Miss Willoughby, 41, his co-star on the ITV daytime show for 13 years.
A source told MailOnline: ‘Every word of the statement was poured over. In the end, it’s spectacularly backfired.
‘Initially Holly and Phillip were prepared to say sorry if they’d upset anyone as they both just desperately want to draw a line under the affair. But they were advised strongly not to go down that road of saying sorry.’
In the first episode of the show since the row unfolded, Holly and Phil, 60, strongly denied viewers’ claims they were ‘too posh to queue’ and said they had been in Westminster Hall on Friday ‘strictly for the purpose of reporting on the event.’
The voiceover also hammered home the point, ‘Please know that we would never jump a queue.’
ITV has since doubled down in the row over footage which seemed to show them filing past the Queen’s coffin – but Holly is said to have been hit particularly hard by online backlash and feels they have been ‘left out to dry’, sources previously said.
Channel bosses are standing by the presenters and have raised ‘real and serious’ concerns about their welfare following the ‘relentless’ online trolling, The Mirror reports.
The popular TV hosts – who are reportedly paid as much as £600,000 for presenting the daytime show from Mondays to Thursdays – have faced growing fury after images of them appearing to ‘skip the line’ emerged on Friday while tens of thousands of mourners patiently waited for more than 12 hours to pay their respects to Her Majesty.
Viewers tweeted accusations the hosts were ‘too posh to queue’ and a change.org petition to axe the presenters has surpassed 50,000 signatures as viewers appear to reject the stars’ bid to draw a line under the scandal.
But Holly sparked worry amongst fans on Tuesday after they noticed she looked like she was ‘on the verge of tears’ and had ‘never been so quiet.’
A TV source said on Wednesday night: ‘The abuse has been nothing short of disgusting, not least as they have done nothing wrong and were fully entitled to media accreditation so they could inform their viewers.
‘There is huge, real and serious concerns over their wellbeing and ITV are fully supporting them behind the scenes in the face of such relentless trolling. The channel backs them 110 per cent.’
ITV has already publicly backed the pair twice, including in a statement on social media.
Footage inside Westminster Abbey appeared to show Holly and Phil, 60, walking along an area separate from the media box – but ITV has since insisted the stars did not join mourners in filing past the coffin.
Following the images circulating online, comparisons were quickly made to other celebrities who queued for hours with the general public – including England football legend David Beckham and even Holly and Phil’s ITV colleague Susanna Reid, from Good Morning Britain.
An ITV spokeswoman has insisted the presenters did not file past the Queen’s coffin.
The spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘This Morning had press accreditation and like other media, Phillip and Holly were escorted to work from the press gallery by government staff. They did not file past The Queen’s coffin.
‘They were there alongside a host of other broadcasters and national press outlets for an item that was broadcast on Tuesday’s (20th) show. Any allegations of improper behaviour are categorically untrue.’
A clearer view: A photo of Westminster Abbey – highlighting where the media box is, where the public queue is and where Holly and Phil appeared to be walking
Birdseye view: This graphic of Westminster Abbey shows the areas permitted for the public and media, and the spot where the presenters were seen
Fans also expressed concern for Holly on Wednesday’s episode of This Morning claiming she looked like she had been ‘up all night crying’.
MailOnline revealed that the presenters also shared an emotional SOS phone call about the ‘devastating’ fierce public backlash.
A source told MailOnline: ‘Phil and Holly started to become really worried about the situation on Friday night. They spoke at length and decided they had to do something to protect themselves and the reputation of the show.
Following the call ITV issued a statement in a bid to set the record straight – but the move spectacularly backfired.
‘They hoped the statement would take the heat but were totally devastated when they realised it had just made things worse.
‘At one point they considered releasing their own message to set things straight but in the end they decided to wait until the show so they could speak directly to viewers.’
Snap happy: Holly and Phil outside the Houses of Parliament. The pair say none of the broadcasters and journalists at the Queen’s lying-in-state took anyone’s place in the queue
On the move: Holly and Phil were seen in a video posted on TikTok leaving Westminster Hall after they carried out filming and were accused of jumping the queue
Beck of the queue: The majority of people waited between 14 and 16 hours to see the coffin, among them former England footballer David Beckham
On Tuesday’s episode of This Morning – the first since ‘queue-gate’ began, Holly and Phil issued a lengthy denial that they had jumped the queue.
In a voiceover over a package of the pair at Westminster Hall, Holly explained: ‘Like hundreds of accredited broadcasters and journalists we were given official permission to access the hall.
‘It was strictly for the purpose of reporting on the event for millions of people in the UK who have not been able to visit Westminster in person.
‘The rules were that we would be quickly escorted around the edges to a platform at the back.
‘In contrast, those paying respect walked along a carpeted area beside the coffin and were given time to pause.
‘None of the broadcasters and journalists there took anyone’s place in the queue and no one filed past the Queen. We of course respected those rules.
‘However, we realise that it may have looked like something else, and therefore totally understand the reaction. Please know that we would never jump a queue.’
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