Dermot O'Leary and Alison Hammond pay tribute to Phillip Schofield after he left This Morning
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Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary paid tribute to Phillip Schofield as the new era of This Morning began on ITV this morning.
Schofield recently left the programme after more than 20 years, and his stand-in presenters started today’s edition of the ITV late-morning magazine programme by addressing the elephant in the room.
“We can’t start today’s show without paying tribute to the man who spent the last two decades sitting on the This Morning sofa,” Hammond said.
“As a show, everyone on and off-screen at ITV and This Morning want to say a huge thank you to Phil for everything he has done over the last 21 years,” O'Leary added.
Hammond continued: “Quite simply, we all know he is one of the best live TV broadcasters this country has ever had, and we and all the team wish him all the best for the future.”
Now that Schofield has left the studio, and with Holly Willoughby on her holidays for a few weeks, Hammond and O’Leary will be pushed to the front of the show for a while.
The 61-year-old presenter’s departure from the show has certainly generated a lot of headlines, with rumours of a rift between him and Willoughby.
However, after it was announced that he was leaving, Willoughby put out a statement in which she said ‘the sofa won’t feel the same without him’.
She also thanked her colleague for ‘all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour’.
Willoughby will be back though, after half term.
She’ll ‘co-present with members of the This Morning family’, ITV said in a statement.
Announcing his departure on May 20, Schofield said: “I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning.
“But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.
“Throughout my career in TV – including the very difficult last few days – I have always done my best to be honourable and kind.
“I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.
“So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me – especially This Morning’s amazing viewers – and I’ll see you all for the Soap Awards next month.”
Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Managing Director, Media and Entertainment said: “Phillip is hands down one of the best broadcasters of his generation and we thank him for his two decades worth of absolutely terrific television on the This Morning sofa.
“This Morning is made by one of the best and most diligent teams in television, who produce over 12 hours of live television each week.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Phillip starting with The British Soap Awards in June and a brand new peak time series to come.”