This Morning ‘to return on Monday’ as ITV chief denies Phillip Schofield investigation mistakes
ITV has said it has no plans to axe This Morning as a top executive denied mistakes were made in its investigation into rumours of an affair between presenter Phillip Schofield and a much younger colleague on the show.
Schofield, 61, quit ITV on Friday over the scandal and it has been claimed bosses could be axed and the flagship daytime show canned amid the fallout.
But executives have quashed reports that the show will end, adding that it will return as normal on Monday morning.
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.
“This Morning will return as normal tomorrow.”
ITV said it investigated “rumours” of an affair between married Schofield and the younger mail employee but it was repeatedly denied by the pair.
The corporation added that it was “not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour” when it looked into the matter.
An ITV spokesperson said: “ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.
“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.
“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.
“Phillip’s statement yesterday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”
Meanwhile, Dr Ranj Singh, who left This Morning two years ago after working there for a decade, criticised the wider culture at the programme, saying the issues “go far beyond” Schofield.
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.”
Singh, now resident doctor on the BBC’s Morning Live, added he thought “long and hard” before weighing in on the scandal currently engulfing ITV but decided to speak out “in light of recent events”.
He claimed: “As ITV confirmed last night, I raised my concerns about [an executive’s] behaviour (and the environment at TM) - especially given that my job is to look after people’s wellbeing and I had been heavily involved in diversity, anti-bullying and mental health projects across the channel.
“I then found myself being used less and less.
“I haven’t worked on the show since... and I am not the only one who has spoken up or experienced similar.”
Kevin Lygo, director of television at ITV, was approached by Sky News amid questions over what bosses knew about Schofield’s conduct.
Speaking on Sunday, Mr Lygo declined to comment further, saying: “Honestly, we’ve made a statement today, yesterday. I think it’s all clear.”
Asked if mistakes were made in the 2020 investigation, he replied: “No.”
It comes after Holly Willoughby hit out at Schofield for lying to her over his affair.
Holly, whose future on the show is also feared to be in doubt, stepped in to quell speculation about how much she knew.
On her Instagram account, she said: “It’s taken time to process yesterday’s news. When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not.
“It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie.”
In a statement, Schofield said it had been an “unwise, but not illegal” affair and that he had lied to ITV about the relationship with the ex-colleague.
He added: “I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family,” he told the paper.
“I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.
“I have therefore decided to step down from the British Soap Awards, my last public commitment, and am resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.
“I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.”
The young male colleague who had an affair with Schofield was only 15-years-old when they first met. The Mail on Sunday reported that the veteran TV presenter met the boy while giving a talk at a theatre school.
Schofield, who had co-presented This Morning with Willoughby since 2009, said last week he decided to leave the show because it had “become the story”.
He started at This Morning in 2002 as a temporary presenter before becoming a permanent fixture at the show.
Fern Britton, his original co-host, quit the programme in 2009, with Britton replaced with Willoughby.
Schofield’s wife, Stephanie - who shares two children with Phillip - previously stood by him when he revealed in 2020 he was gay on ITV after 27 years of marriage.