Phillip Schofield releases defiant new statement as This Morning goes ahead

Phillip Schofield has issued a defiant statement to critics in his first public comments since admitting having an affair with a younger colleague on This Morning.

He posted the statement on Instagram less than half an hour before the show was due to start on Monday morning.

The statement read: “Now I no longer work on @thismorning I am free to say this. I hope you have noticed that it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice.

“This morning IS the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there there was no toxicity. You can listen to those persistently loud voices if you like.

“But the thousands of guests over the years, thousands of staff and crew, hundreds of presenters and contributors all know, it IS a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard working people.”

The statement posted on Phillip Schofield’s Instagram stories on Monday morning (schofe/Instagram)
The statement posted on Phillip Schofield’s Instagram stories on Monday morning (schofe/Instagram)

Dermot O’Leary appeared to reference claims of “toxicity” at This Morning as he presented Monday’s episode of the show.

He said: “We all know we happen to be in the news at the moment and of course we appreciate that but just from both of us, the whole team here, the crew, the guys downstairs, we love making this show for all of you.”

Co-host Alison Hammond added: “We really do and that’s exactly what we are going to do, we are going to continue to do that.”

Gyles Brandreth, who is in the studio to review the news stories of the day, said: “We are very happy to be here, can I say that as well?

“This is a happy place to work, I enjoy coming in here and have done since I began coming in. We are happy people in a happy place.”

O’Leary and Hammond previously gave a 30-second tribute to Schofield on Friday - before he admitted the affair.

Schofield, 61, quit ITV on Friday over the scandal and it has been claimed bosses could be axed and the flagship daytime show canned amid the fallout.

In a statement on Friday, Schofield said it had been an “unwise, but not illegal” affair and that he had lied to ITV about the relationship with the ex-colleague.

He added: “I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family,” he told the paper.

“I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.

“I have therefore decided to step down from the British Soap Awards, my last public commitment, and am resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.

“I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.”

But executives have quashed reports that the show will end, adding that it will return as normal on Monday morning.

An ITV spokesperson said on Sunday: “As we said on the record yesterday, This Morning is not under review and there’s no plans for the show to be axed.

“This Morning will return as normal tomorrow.”

ITV said it investigated “rumours” of an affair between married Schofield and the younger male employee but it was repeatedly denied by the pair.

The corporation added that it was “not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour” when it looked into the matter.

An ITV spokesperson said: “ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.

“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.

“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.

“Phillip’s statement yesterday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”

It comes after the crisis engulfing the show deepened on Sunday night over claims that it is “toxic” behind the scenes.

Dr Ranj Singh, who left This Morning two years ago after working there for a decade, criticised the wider culture at the programme, saying the issues “go far beyond” Schofield.

Speaking on Twitter, he said he “did not know the truth about what was going on with Phillip”, but added: “It takes more than one person to create a culture.”