This Morning stand-ins Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary address Philip Schofield exit after former host 'axed'

22 May 2023, 11:29 | Updated: 22 May 2023, 11:31

Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary have paid tribute to Philip Schofield
Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary have paid tribute to Philip Schofield. Picture: ITV/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Stand-in This Morning presenters Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary have paid tribute to Philip Schofield as "one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had", after the former host left the show at the end of last week.

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On Saturday, Mr Schofield announced he was stepping down from presenting the ITV talk show with "immediate effect" after more than 20 years on the programme, and is said to be "completely broken".

Holly Willoughby, who has hosted alongside Mr Schofield since 2009, will remain on the show but she is taking early half-term holiday leave, with Ms Hammond and Mr O'Leary filling in on Monday.

Opening the broadcast, Ms Hammond said: "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. Phillip Schofield."

Mr O'Leary added: "So as a show, everyone on and off screen at ITV and This Morning on say a huge thank you to Phil for what he's done to make the show such a success over the last 21 years."

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Philip Schofield left This Morning at the end of last week
Philip Schofield left This Morning at the end of last week. Picture: Getty

Ms Hammond continued: "Quite simply, we all know he's one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had, and we and all the team wish him all the best for the future."

Mr O'Leary confirmed Willoughby will be back in the studio from Monday June 5.

It is not yet known who will present the show for the rest of the week.

Mr Schofield was promised a new show that he could front on his own.

Ms Willoughby's relationship with Phillip was rocked amid public criticism at "queue-gate" during the late Queen's lying-in-state last year. Mr Schofield publicly admitted that recent weeks had been tough for the pair as his brother was convicted of sexually abusing a boy.

Holly Willoughby will return to the show on June 5
Holly Willoughby will return to the show on June 5. Picture: Alamy

After ploughing on for one last week, Mr Schofield said in a statement on Saturday afternoon: "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.

Read more: Phillip Schofield 'agreed to quit This Morning after being offered his own solo show'

Read more: Phillip Schofield ‘completely broken’ after being axed from This Morning amid feud with Holly Willoughby

"I'd like to thank everyone what has supported me - especially This Morning's amazing viewers - and I'll see you all for the Soap Awards next month."

Ms Willoughby is described as being relieved the saga is over, and bosses were said to be keen to secure her position on their brand.

"It's been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour," Ms Willoughby wrote.

"The sofa won't feel the same without him."

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