A young runner who worked with Phillip Schofield ‘mysteriously’ left his role on This Morning after striking up a close friendship with the host.
The Mail on Sunday has been told that other stars at the show and his colleagues were surprised to see the talented staff member leave so quickly three years ago, particularly given the mentoring that Schofield had shown towards him.
Both ITV and Schofield insist that his job on Loose Women was a promotion.
A young runner who worked with Phillip Schofield ‘mysteriously’ left his role on This Morning to ITV show Loose Women before leaving the network entirely, after striking up a close friendship with the host
However, a source at ITV said: ‘He and Phil were close and then he just went off to Loose Women, which is a rival show to This Morning. It was odd, the two men just stopped talking so much.
‘Phil had been such a support to him, he was a really talented and hard-working guy.
‘Some of the network’s biggest names expressed their surprise at the time, he was very popular. He never really spoke about it, it was very mysterious.’
The man later left the broadcaster and has carved a career for himself at other television networks since.
It comes as Phillip Schofield finds himself in the middle of the most challenging year of his career after first facing massive backlash to ‘queuegate’ – when he and Holly were both accused of jumping the queue to see the Queen lying in state last year.
More recently Schofield has been dealing with the fallout of his brother Timothy being convicted sexually abusing a teenage boy.
Timothy Schofield was convicted of 11 sexual offences involving a child between October 2016 and October 2019, including two of sexual activity with a child, following a trial at Exeter Crown Court.
Rumours are now swirling that the co-hosts have fallen out amid claims that Phillip failed to tell Holly that his brother was going on trial for child sex offences before he went on leave for three weeks in March and April.
Friends say Ms Willoughby was in the dark until Schofield took a week’s leave from the ITV daytime show to avoid the limelight while the trial took place last month – something he is at pains to deny.
Prior to the queuegate controversy the pair had long been considered TV’s golden couple – who were undeniably close.
After a National Television Awards win in 2016 they turned up for their slot seemingly hungover from celebrating the night before.
Controversy: Phillip said his family have been through ‘a real ordeal’ after his younger brother Timothy (pictured) was convicted of child sex offences
Holly and Phil faced growing backlash over claims they ‘skipped the queue’ at Westminster Hall to see the Queen lying in state
Crisis: ITV bosses were in crisis talks over Phillip Schofield ‘s future on This Morning last night, after he was said to have ‘confronted’ Holly in a tense phone call
And in 2020, when Schofield told viewers he was gay, live on This Morning, Ms Willoughby was at his side. He described her as his ‘rock’.
Schofield originally chose Ms Willoughby to be his new sidekick back in 2009 after Fern Britton quit the show.
However, Holly Willoughby is said to be considering her future as his TV sidekick following their fall out after 14 years together amid claims they barely speak off screen.
PR master Mark Borkowski told MailOnline that ITV are certain to be considering whether to axe Phil as his brand turns ‘toxic’.
Brand and culture expert Nick Ede predicts that Channel 5, who wooed Dan Walker from the BBC for £1.5million-a-year, will be waiting in the wings to offer Schofield a deal of the same size for a morning TV show. If ITV want to keep him, they may offer him the Friday spot on This Morning – but Holly would not join him, he said.
Mr Ede said: ‘He’s a bankable star and still a big name to many’, adding that due to his past as a BBC Radio 1 DJ, the Beeb and commercial broadcasters are bound to want to him.
‘He was a very big musical star selling out West End shows like Joseph and Dr Doolittle, he may consider treading the boards again or touring in a pantomime’, he added.