Holly Willoughby defended by ITV co-star following 'tough ride' with Phillip Schofield

Holly has been defended by her co-star
Holly has been defended by her co-star -Credit:Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Holly Willoughby has certainly faced a challenging year. After her co-host Phillip Schofield left This Morning following an affair with a younger male colleague, Holly herself stepped away.

The mum-of-three stood down from the flagship breakfast programme amid rumours of a kidnap threat. Holly revealed she decided to 'put her family first' and take a break from the small screen, however she's set to return in a new Netflix show.

Holly, who made a return to screens co-hosting Dancing On Ice earlier this year, is set to travel to Central America to join forces with survival expert Bear Grylls for a new Netflix project. The show has been billed as an 'I'm A Celeb' style spin-off.

Holly's former Celebrity Juice co-star Leigh Francis, better known as Keith Lemon, shared insights into how she's coping ahead of her Netflix debut. Leigh revealed that despite the difficulties, Holly is "happy" and looking forward to new opportunities, although he admitted to being puzzled over the criticism she faced.

"As long as Holly's happy, I'm happy. She seems excited about it. I think she had a tough ride, in the end. When you read everything online, I don't really understand what she did wrong. But yeah, last time I saw her she seemed happy." Leigh told OK! Magazine.

Leigh Francis wearing a blue suit and hat
Leigh Francis says he 'doesn't understand' what Holly did wrong -Credit:Getty Images

Since her departure from This Morning, Holly has maintained a low profile, but it has been confirmed that she will host a new Netflix series featuring Bear Grylls called Bear Hunt, where celebrities are tracked through the jungle.

Leigh also hinted at what audiences might anticipate from the upcoming show, mentioning his own near involvement: "I were nearly in it. Then I changed my mind."

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He recounted a conversation with Holly about the show, he said: "I phoned her and said, 'Are you hosting this show?' and she went 'Yeah, are you?!' I went, 'No, they've asked me to be in it. I said no I don't think it's my thing."

Leigh added: "I thought it was doing stuff with Bear Grylls like he's done with Obama and Bradley Cooper - you know, have a chat and he shows you how to light a fire? But it's more like a reality show and a competition, which I would fail at straight away - so there's no point. I've got no survival skills. It's funny, Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen called me the other day and was like, 'You were nearly in Costa Rica weren't you?!' Nearly, but not quite. He's doing it."

Netflix is gearing up to launch a new survival series akin to I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! titled 'Bear Hunt'. The show will thrust a group of British celebrities into the jungle, where they'll be at the mercy of survival maestro Bear Grylls.

It will feature the ex-This Morning presenter venturing into the wilds of Central America. The production is under the helm of Bear's own outfit, The Natural Studios, alongside two other co-producers.

The format of the show involves Bear putting the celebs through their paces in survival challenges, with those falling short facing the "bear hunt" – a pursuit by Bear himself. If caught, their journey on the show ends. The roster of participating celebrities has yet to be disclosed.

This will be Holly's first new show since leaving This Morning last year. After a short break from television, Holly came back to present Dancing on Ice with Stephen Mulhern, who took over from her previous co-host Phillip Schofield.

It also marks her initial venture away from mainstream TV and onto a streaming platform.

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