Phillip Schofield has been branded an “arch manipulator” with a “stranglehold” over This Morning.
The 57-year-old former children’s TV presenter took over co-hosting the ITV daytime show with Fern Britton in 2002, but their working relationship broke down and Britton was replaced by Holly Willoughby in 2009.
Britton's former agent Jon 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."
Roseman called the Dancing On Ice presenter and “arch manipulator”.
Schofield is currently embroiled in a bitter feud with Amanda Holden, who is thought to have a bee in her bonnet after Schofield blocked her from joining him as guest co-host on This Morning will Willoughby was away in Australia filming I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
Schofield took to social media at the weekend to confess he had been upset by reports that have emerged claiming he is difficult to work with.
The end of another really sad weekend. When you try for 35 years to be the easiest, most fun person to work with and you read such hurtful and wildly untrue stories from nameless ‘sources’. Obviously I’ll take it on the chin.. I just hope you know me better.
— Phillip Schofield (@Schofe) June 23, 2019
Meanwhile, Holden claims to have tried to call a truce.
Speaking on her radio breakfast show on Heart FM Holden told co-host Jamie Theakston: “I’ve moved on from it, Jamie, you need to move on from it.”
He replied: “You might have moved on but I just wanted to know, is there any more to the story?”
She said: “I did offer to meet him for a coffee months ago, he didn’t reply to my text. What can I say?”
Theakston said: “The olive branch had been extended,” to which she replied: “Oh yes.”