Holly Willoughby says 'This Morning' guests are still wary of hugging after pandemic

·Contributor
·2-min read
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield are delighted to be able to hug again on This Morning after COVID-19 rules were lifted. (ITV)
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield are delighted to be able to hug again on This Morning after COVID-19 rules were lifted. (ITV)

Holly Willoughby says she and co-host Phillip Schofield are delighted to be able to host This Morning freely without COVID-19 rules, though guests are still a little wary about hugging.

Willoughby told the Mirror she feels like the show is back to the "good old days", having hosted the show amid social distancing guidelines during the pandemic.

Read more: Holly and Phil share first on-screen hug after lockdown

While the country was in lockdown, Willoughby and Schofield were separated by plastic screens and were forced to sit apart from each other in the studio — at one point using a "cuddle curtain".

"You still have that moment when someone walks towards you when they come on the sofa, I follow their lead really if they go in for a handshake or a hug," said Willoughby.

Watch: Holly and Phil crack up as Miriam Margolyes breaks wind on air

Schofield added: "It’s interesting that we are having to re-learn how to do that – not amongst our friendship groups but with guests who come in and we say ‘are we hugging?’

"It scarred us all in some way and I don’t think we’ll ever forget that it happened because it was damaging on so many different levels. Some say ‘I’ve almost forgotten how to be sociable’, so it might take a few of us a while to get back to normal."

Read more: Phillip Schofield discusses life-changing eye surgery

Schofield also revealed that, while he and Willoughby are comfortable on set, audiences would be surprised to see Hollywood royalty nervous ahead of their This Morning segments.

"Often it’s actors and you see their hands shake. For some, being themselves on live telly can turn them to jelly," he said.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have fronted daytime chat show This Morning together for more than a decade. (ITV)
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have fronted daytime chat show This Morning together for more than a decade. (ITV)

Willoughby and Schofield have presented This Morning together since 2009, with Schofield fronting the show alongside Fern Britton prior to then.

The duo are set to return to the studio next week after taking their annual summer break, which has seen a rotating roster of presenters step into the roles.

Read more: Taika Waititi ends Schofield interview after Rita Ora question

Last year, Willoughby denied rumours suggesting she was about to quit This Morning, saying she found it "difficult" to deal with "unfair and untrue" speculation and wanted to continue presenting with Schofield.

She added: "I can’t imagine a world without him being there. It just wouldn’t be the same. The magic of that show is us two together when we’re together."

Watch: Phillip Schofield and Kelly Holmes cry as they discuss coming out