Celebrity Big Brother star Fern Britton's feud with Phillip Schofield explained

The former This Morning host will spill the beans on Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton worked together on This Morning for 10 years. (Getty Images)
Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton's friendship working on This Morning was rumoured to have turned sour.. (Getty Images)

Fern Britton is going to spill the beans on her "tricky" relationship with Phillip Schofield during her time in the Celebrity Big Brother house.

The former This Morning host-turned-author is among the line-up of stars starring in the first series if the ITV reboot of the reality show. Britton hosted the ITV daytime show from 1999 to 2009, working alongside Schofield for seven years.

Over the years Britton, 66, has hinted that she felt she was treated badly during her time on the show. But she has never spoken out directly about the rumoured feud between herself and Schofield. Ahead of the former Ready Steady Cook presenter possibly opening up about what went on during her time in the CBB house, we take a look back on everything she has said so far about leaving This Morning.

Britton has promised to talk about Schofield with "kindness" and "caution" on Celebrity Big Brother. Ahead of her reality TV stint, Britton told The Mirror: "Apparently I've signed up to spill the beans! Well, right now, I can tell you that I think let's approach with caution and kindness. It’s fair to say that towards the end we were not getting on. Things were tricky.

"There are some things that I think as a collective almost nation there are things you can't and wouldn't want to hear or see or be talked about. I haven't been on that show for 15 years. I don't know anything that's been going on since then. And so it would be A, very old views. B, not terribly interesting, but I did love This Morning. I absolutely loved it. I wasn't expecting to resign on the day I resigned."

Yahoo UK has contacted representatives for Britton, Schofield and This Morning for comment.

Rift rumours

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Fern Britton and Phillip Schofield, TV Presenters
Fern Britton and Phillip Schofield hosted This Morning together on ITV for seven years. (ITV/Shutterstock)

Schofield joined This Morning in 2002, replacing Britton's previous co-host John Leslie. The pair appeared to get on well on screen, often sharing long giggles together on-screen. But over time it was rumoured that the friendship had turned frosty. Eventually Britton quit the show in 2009 and was replaced by Willoughby, who had co-hosted with Schofield previously when standing in as holiday and sick cover for Britton.

Britton later said she had felt badly treated on the show. She told RTE radio in 2020: "I began not to enjoy it so much and the morning I resigned, I didn’t know I was going to resign. Something happened and I thought, 'That’s it really' and I walked away and resigned. I was treated pretty poorly, actually. And after a while I just thought, 'Sod it'".

Not about money

Fern Britton attends the Women of the Year lunch at Intercontinental Hotel on October 14, 2013 in London, England  (Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)
Fern Britton has denied she quit This Morning because Phillip Schofield was paid more. (Getty Images)

After Britton left the show there were rumours that she had quit over a pay dispute - because she had discovered that Schofield was paid more £250,000 a year more than her for doing the same job. But Britton has always denied this.

She told Hello! magazine: “That certainly wasn’t true, not least because I had no idea what Phillip had been paid. I knew what I was being paid and it was more than fair. It is appalling that, if you are doing the same job as a man, you are paid less and I am absolutely all for equal pay but at the time, even if Phillip had been paid more than me, he was doing more programmes on television.”

And in 2020 she told RTE radio: "There was also a persistent rumour that I left because Phillip was being paid more than me and I always say to people, 'Why would I leave a show to go to nothing if I was worried about money?'."

Arch manipulator

Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton during the Prince's Trust reception at Highgrove in 2009.
Fern Britton's former agent called Phillip Schofield an 'arch-manipulator'. (Getty Images)

Britton's former agent Jon Roseman has called Schofield an "arch-manipulator" and claimed he tried to take control of the show. In 2019 a public feud erupted between Schofield and Amanda Holden amid reports that he ‘blocked’ her from replacing Holly Willoughby as his guest co-host. ITV and Schofield denied the claims, but the Britain's Got Talent judge kept dropping sly digs hinting that she there was beef between the pair.

It was during this time that Britton's former agent Roseman told the Daily Mail: "From day one he began to interfere with the editorial content of the show. Fern always left it to the editor, a mistake she attempted to rectify, but too late. His stranglehold was too tight by the time she recognised what he was up to.

"Their ability to work together was up there with the Eamonn Holmes/Anthea Turner friction.He befriended Simon Shaps, the then boss of the network centre. After this friendship, all bets were off ... he just got what he wanted."

Awards 'snub'

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 8:  Phillip Schofield and Ferne Britton with their award for Best Daytime TV Show at the TV Quick awards at the Dorcester Hotel on September 8, 2003 in London.  (Photo by Will Conran/Getty Images)
Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton had a public spat over an awards invitation. (Getty Images)

Britton and Schofield had an awkward reunion in 2018 when she appeared on the show via video link to congratulate Schofield and her successor Willoughby on a special TV Bafta award recognising the show's 30 years on air. Britton said: "Congratulations on Bafta. That was absolutely wonderful and brilliant, and I would have loved to have been there, but I didn’t get an invitation..."

This sparked a public disagreement between the two when Schofield claimed on social media that Britton had been invited but had declined to attend. He tweeted: "Odd really, because she was invited and declined #memoryloss we’d have loved her to be there. A vital and much loved part of the show." Britton hit back: "No. I had no invitation to decline ."

But she eventually backtracked, revealing she had been invited, but her agents had forgotten to tell her. She wrote: "And here is what happened! Thank goodness I was invited, even if I didn’t actually receive the invitation. See you next time @BAFTA xxxx."

Kind words

This Morning presenters Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton arrive for the Britsh Soap Awards at BBC TV Centre in west London. Hosted by Paul O'Grady, the show will be broadcast on ITV1.   (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Phillip Schofield shared fond memories of working with Fern Britton on This Morning. (Getty Images)

When This Morning celebrated Schofield's 400th anniversary of working in television in 2022, Britton was one of the presenters who sent in video messages of congratulations. She said: “Forty years is an incredible milestone, and it’s time for you to just stop and look back and see all that you have achieved, and be proud of it. I’m wishing you a very happy future. Congratulations and keep going.”

And Scofield shared fond memories of working with her after producers played a clip of his very first day presenting the show with her in 2002. He said: "Oh my god, I don't think I've ever seen that.. And I was nervy as well. But Fern was so lovely to me, looking after me."

Celebrity Big Brother starts on 4 March on ITV1, STV, ITVX and STV Player.

Read more: Celebrity Big Brother