Home entertainment A year of tumult at ITV’s This Morning in 2023

A year of tumult at ITV’s This Morning in 2023

A year of tumult at ITV’s This Morning in 2023

This Morning hit the headlines this year amid claims of a “toxic” culture following the departure of presenter Phillip Schofield.

The 61-year-old resigned from ITV after he admitted to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a much younger male colleague.

His co-host Holly Willoughby left the show almost five months later, after 14 years on the sofa.

Following Schofield’s affair, ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall instructed a barrister to conduct an external review, which found in December that the broadcaster was “unable to uncover the relevant evidence” proving the alleged affair between Schofield and a runner had taken place.

Here PA looks at the timeline of events:

May 18th – Schofield presents what turns out to be his last show on ITV’s flagship daytime programme.

May 20th – ITV announces that Schofield will step down from This Morning with “immediate effect” after more than 20 years on the show.

May 21th – It is announced that Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond will host the show on Monday May 22, while Willoughby takes early half-term leave before returning to hosting duties on June 5.

May 22th – O’Leary and Hammond host the show and hail Schofield as “one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had”.

May 24th – Schofield tells Piers Morgan he is “utterly heartbroken” and that he was not afforded the opportunity to say a “proper goodbye” on the show.

May 26th – Schofield admits to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a much younger male colleague and resigns from ITV. He confirms that the relationship began while he was still with his wife and says he will not be hosting the British Soap Awards. He apologises for lying about the relationship and is dropped by his talent agency YMU.

May 28th – Former This Morning resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh says the show is “toxic”, adding he raised concerns about “bullying and discrimination” two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was “managed out” for whistleblowing. ITV responds by saying an external and independent adviser was appointed to carry out a review after the complaint, which found “no evidence of bullying or discrimination.”

May 29th – Schofield releases a statement denying “toxicity” at This Morning. Former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes alleges there was a “total cover-up” at ITV over the affair and, in an interview on GB News, says Willoughby should follow Schofield “out the door”.

May 30th – Schofield is axed as an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust as the charity says it is “no longer appropriate” to work with him.

May 31st – ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn says that the broadcaster has instructed a barrister to conduct an external review of how it has handled Schofield’s affair. She adds that Jane Mulcahy KC, of Blackstone Chambers, will “carry out an external review to establish the facts”.

June 1st– Dame Carolyn is called to give evidence to a parliamentary committee to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling. In an interview with The Sun, Schofield says he is sorry for lying to his “best friend” Willoughby, but owes his “greatest apology” to his former lover and colleague.

June 2nd – Speaking to the BBC’s Amol Rajan, Schofield says he has “lost everything” in the wake of his affair becoming public and categorically denies grooming his former colleague. He says: “Do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am.” Hammond becomes emotional live on This Morning, saying she is finding the situation “really painful”. In an interview with The Sun Schofield reveals he is afraid to leave the house after the revelation of his affair.

June 3rd This Morning editor Martin Frizell tells Sky News that “scores are being settled” when asked about claims of a toxic work environment at the ITV show.

June 5th – Willoughby says she feels “shaken, troubled, let down and worried” as she makes an emotional return to This Morning.

June 14th – Dame Carolyn faces questions from MPs and tells them she does not recognise allegations of a toxic culture at This Morning saying, “it deeply disappoints me”.

August 23rd – An ITV boss says the broadcaster does not have “anything to hide” as he confirms they are co-operating with the independent inquiry being undertaken in relation to Schofield.

September 5th– This Morning loses its best daytime show title at the National Television Awards as The Repair Shop claims the prestigious prize.

October 10th – Willoughby announces she is stepping down from presenting This Morning after 14 years on the show and says she made the decision “for me and my family”.

December 7th – An external review by Jane Mulcahy KC finds ITV made “considerable efforts” to find out the truth about an alleged affair between Schofield and a runner in 2019 but was “unable to uncover the relevant evidence” until the presenter’s own admission in late May 2023.