Phillip Schofield 'declined' to take part in ITV This Morning review over 'risk to health'

Phillip Schofield presented This Morning for more than 20 years (PA Wire)
Phillip Schofield presented This Morning for more than 20 years (PA Wire)

ITV has published the results of an external review into its flagship daytime show This Morning following Phillip Schofield's departure.

The former host, 61, announced in May he was quitting ITV with immediate effect after he admitted he had an affair with a "younger male colleague" and then lied about it to his bosses.

ITV made "considerable efforts" to find out the truth about an alleged relationship between Schofield and a runner on This Morning in 2019 but was "unable to uncover the relevant evidence" until Schofield’s admission in late May 2023, the external review found.

A report by Jane Mulcahy KC said: "ITV’s management made considerable efforts to determine the truth about an alleged relationship between PS (Schofield) and PX (the runner) following on from the publication of a story in The Sun newspaper in early December 2019.

"However, in the face of the denials of the individuals involved, ITV was unable to uncover the relevant evidence until PS’s admission in late May 2023."

Schofield "reluctantly declined" to take part in an external review into the circumstances surrounding his departure from ITV because of "the risk to his health," the report said.

Ms Mulcahy added that she has been informed that Schofield’s mental health has since deteriorated.

The runner, who has not been named but referred to as "PX" in the report, also declined to participate.

ITV bosses have said both Schofield and his former lover "repeatedly denied" allegations of a relationship until the star quit ITV and formally apologised.

Schofield previously told the BBC in an interview he had "lost everything" after admitting the affair, and that there was nothing ahead of him but "blackness".

He said he was "utterly broken and ashamed" over the affair but denied grooming the man. He said the relationship was "unwise but not illegal".

The review also found that Schofield’s patronage of the runner assisted him in the early days of his career at ITV but beyond this the man "seems to have made his way on his own."

The report adds: "I am satisfied that PX’s promotion to a role of production secretary on another daytime programme had nothing to do with PS.

"Further, the only agreement between ITV and PX under which he was paid any settlement sum was a standard agreement ending the employment relationship dated 31 July 2021.

"After the story broke in 2019, ITV tried to do everything it could to help PX and provided significant additional support to him, even in May 2023 despite his employment having ended."

The daytime programme has continued to face scrutiny following Schofield’s departure, with allegations of a "toxic" environment.

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby at the 2019 National Television Awards (PA Archive)
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby at the 2019 National Television Awards (PA Archive)

When presenting her report to the board, Ms Mulcahy said that for the period under review there was no finding of a "toxic" culture.

Only one person interviewed had any knowledge of the affair prior to May 2023, the report said. The former junior employee did not report it.

In the report recommendations, it is suggested ITV sets out "clear guidelines for its talent going forward to ensure that good behaviours are observed even by those who are household names."

It also emphasises the importance of junior employees at ITV having the confidence to raise concerns to management in line with ITV’s Speaking Up policy.

The report says: "I have no doubt that senior management are absolutely wedded to the importance of an open culture. But this culture is still not filtering down to junior employees, many of whom remain convinced that to speak out will have a detrimental impact on their careers."

Andy Cosslett, chairman of ITV plc, said in response to the report: "We welcome her recommendations and are already acting on them.

"We are completely committed to creating an environment where everyone is treated with respect and feels able to give of their best.

"Our promise to those we work with is that where a complaint is made, or serious concerns raised, we will always investigate and if we find that something inappropriate has happened, we will take action.

"We will continue to develop our efforts to give junior colleagues the confidence to speak up if they have something to raise.

"I hope that the completion of this review allows the team at This Morning to get back to what they do so well – making a brilliant show that entertains and informs millions of viewers every week."

Schofield’s co-host Holly Willoughby left the show in October after 14 years on the sofa.

Since the long-time presenting duo departed, there has been a rotation of presenters taking the helm including Alison Hammond, Dermot O’Leary, Josie Gibson and Craig Doyle, with Rylan Clark and Emma Willis the latest duo to front the show.