Phillip Schofield’s former lover now works in a “remote” pub, with his dreams of a television career in ruins, friends have said.
Details have emerged about the “privileges” enjoyed by the young This Morning runner during his affair with the veteran presenter - and his abrupt departure from the industry after the relationship ended.
It follows the revelation that the man was allegedly given a payout by ITV to prevent details of his affair with Schofield, 61, becoming public.
Eamonn Holmes, the former This Morning presenter, is among colleagues who have criticised the network not following its “duty of care” towards the man.
The allegation heaps further pressure on ITV executives as they battle to save the primetime show.
They face questioning by MPs next week, ahead of Holly Willoughby’s expected return to the sofa on Monday.
‘Runner was determined to be famous’
In recent days, numerous former colleagues have expressed incredulity that senior bosses did not know more, as the young man’s preferential treatment by Schofield was so obvious.
Friends have told The Telegraph that the young man “never made the teas” nor did “boring errands”, but instead tended to hang around with Schofield, 61, and the programme’s celebrity guests.
When This Morning won at the National Television Awards in 2018, he accompanied Schofield and Willoughby on to the stage to collect the award - to the “fury” of more senior staff.
The ambitious young man, who described himself inaccurately as “head runner” to interns, was “determined to be famous”, according to This Morning insiders, and was positioning himself for a successful television career.
However, he left ITV in 2020, the year Schofield came out publicly as gay, and is not thought to have worked in television since.
Friends have told The Telegraph that the man, who was an accomplished youth actor, has been forced to seek work in hospitality, recently starting a new job managing a pub bed and breakfast in the north of England, far from his family and friends.
One said: “He was a very prominent personality on This Morning
“The next step would have been to get on a production team and he was angling towards that.
“He should be having a good career in television now, but because of this he’s not.
“For someone who was determined to be famous, it’s quite striking.
“He said he had found work at a remote pub B&B miles away and he hoped his family and friends would visit. He was looking for a room to rent. It’s obviously been a big downfall.”
Schofield admitted the affair earlier this month, a week after leaving the show after 21 years. He described the relationship as “unwise” but “not illegal”.
ITV executives - and Willoughby, 42 - are now coming under mounting pressure to explain how it could have gone on for so long, after several colleagues branded the liaison an “open secret”.
The scandal is now threatening the very existence of the show, with one of its creators this week calling for it to be axed.
On Wednesday Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary, called for an independent inquiry, paid for by ITV, into what happened.
It comes as a source told The Sun that Willoughby would be returning to work on This Morning on June 5 after her extended half-term holiday.
ITV says it challenged Schofield about the rumours but that he “repeatedly” lied to them.
Willoughby stated on Saturday that she had personally asked her co-host and former close friend, but that he had denied it to her.
“She has made it clear she was one of the people Phil lied to and she has nothing to hide,” a source told The Sun.
“She will return to This Morning as planned on Monday and carry on like the professional she is.
“Holly has been affected by Phil’s actions and it has been very difficult. She is devoted to This Morning, however, and will continue to do the best job she can for them.”
Meanwhile Holmes, who presented This Morning on Fridays for 15 years until 2021, has accused bosses of orchestrating a “cover-up” and failing to provide the young man with a “duty of care”.
He described the young man as “lovely” and a “really good talented fella”, but said that he had struggled since leaving television.
His wife, former co-presenter Ruth Langsford, had kept in touch to offer support, said Holmes.
He has said that Willoughby, who joined the show in 2009, should follow Schofield “out the door” and that he doubts she will return to the sofa.
Pictures have also emerged of the young man embracing Willoughby outside the 2020 National Television Awards.
The young man’s relationship with Schofield reportedly soured in 2019, when the runner was moved from This Morning to Loose Women.
Schofield has denied that he had anything to do with the move or the runner’s subsequent departure from ITV.
The young man’s friend said: “It was all a big family behind the scenes and the relationship was something everyone gossiped about.
“He always used to get cars around the place with Phillip.”
This Morning’s social media accounts have not posted anything since Schofield admitted his affair with a younger colleague.
Meanwhile, Ms Dorries said on Twitter:
Given woeful handling of unfolding events @ITV a public service broadcaster, it’s time for Gov/ @DCMS to lead calls for an independent inquiry - paid for by ITV and reporting in weeks, not months + demand for top level resignations.
Transparency + full disclosure only way.
— Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP (@NadineDorries) May 31, 2023