Presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield were accused of “skipping the queue” to see the Queen’s coffin lying in state before her funeral on Monday (19 September) while filming for This Morning.
Willoughby and Schofield denied the accusations, saying that they would “never jump a queue”.
At the time of writing, nearly 70,000 people have signed a petition calling on ITV to “axe” the presenters over the alleged queue-jumping.
During Friday (23 September) night’s episode of HIGNFY, host Ayoade joked that the “national scandal” was “the biggest thing that’s happened” this week.
“ITV’s Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield… apparently just appeared in Westminster Hall on Sunday without having spent the previous 36 hours queueing,” Ayoade said.
“Just appeared? Like a haunting?” comedian Roisin Conaty asked.
Ayoade continued: “They’ve had to present ‘Hello Good Morning’ for five years, which you would’ve thought is punishment enough.”
Discussing the average queue time, Ian Hislop quipped: “It started at about 14 hours, then 15, and in the end it was six years.
“People liked the experience of queuing. They liked being there and then when they thought someone had jumped the queue, people got very cross.”
“To be fair, Charles has been queueing for quite some time,” Paul Merton joked.
Following the initial backlash, ITV released a statement reading: “ââThey did not jump the queue, have VIP access or file past the Queen lying in state – but instead were there in a professional capacity as part of the world’s media to report on the event.”
Presenting This Morning on Tuesday (20 September), Willougby explained that as members of the media, they had been given “official permission” to see the coffin “strictly for the purpose of reporting on the event for millions of people in the UK who haven’t been able to visit Westminster in person”.
“None of the broadcasters and journalists there took anyone’s place in the queue and no one filed past the Queen.”
While she said that she and Schofield “respected those rules”, Willoughby explained: “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,” she concluded.