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TV bosses launch external review into Phillip Schofield's departure from This Morning
31 May 2023, 18:01 | Updated: 1 June 2023, 02:14
ITV bosses have launched an external review into Phillip Schofield's departure from This Morning.
ITV has instructed a barrister to carry out an external review of the facts following Phillip Schofield's statement and departure from This Morning, chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall has said.
Schofield resigned from ITV on Friday after admitting to an "unwise, but not illegal" affair with a young male colleague on the show, and lying about it.
He was subsequently dropped by his management and as an ambassador for the Prince's Trust charity too.
In a letter sent to Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, DCMS Committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage and Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes, Dame Carolyn McCall said: "You will have seen the significant media coverage concerning Phillip Schofield.
"As you would expect we take the matter extremely seriously and have reviewed our own records over the weekend.
"These show that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in late 2019/early 2020 ITV investigated.
"Both parties were questioned then 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 the This Morning and wider Daytime team and were not provided with, and did not find any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.
"Given the ongoing rumours, we continued to ask questions of both parties, who both continued to deny the rumours, including as recently as this month.
"There has been a lot of inaccuracy in the reporting so I thought it would be useful to set out some facts."
Phillip Schofield axed as ambassador for the Prince’s Trust
In the letter, Dame Carolyn said the employee Phillip Schofield admitted to an affair with has been offered support throughout.
It also referred to wider stories about This Morning, including allegations of a "toxic culture" by TV doctor Ranj Singh, a former presenter on the show, saying: "We were sorry to read his statement.
"We are fully committed to providing every opportunity for anyone who works with us to raise any concern or comments they may have," Dame Carolyn McCall continued.
"Following a complaint made by Dr Ranj, we appointed an external and independent advisor to carry out a review. This external review found no evidence of bullying or discrimination.
"I want to reassure you that as a producer and broadcaster, ITV takes its responsibilities around duty of care and speaking up seriously and has robust and well-established processes in place which allow anyone who works with us to raise concerns they may have anonymously.
Lots of journalists have been contacting me this weekend enquiring about this, so I think it’s only right that I clarify things.— Ranj Singh (@DrRanj) May 28, 2023
There is so much more I could say, but for now I hope my concerns will finally be taken seriously, and something good comes from all this… 🤎 pic.twitter.com/6Tx23IWUns
"The confidential reporting number and other ways of raising concerns are promoted via a number of channels, which includes ITV's internal staff website, across ITV buildings and how to speak up is part of ITV's code of ethics & conduct annual mandatory training for all staff.
"We have now instructed Jane Mulcahy KC (Blackstone Chambers) to carry out an external review to establish the facts. She will review our records and talk to people involved. This work will also consider our relevant processes and policies and whether we need to change or strengthen any.
"Given Phillip's admission of the extent of his deception the work will extend to cover any related issues that may emerge.
"This work will be carried out as quickly as possible and we will be happy to share the outcome."
ITV bosses are set to be questioned by MPs next week over their handling of the situation at This Morning.
The channel's bosses, including Dame Carolyn, will reportedly appear before the Commons Culture, Media and Sports Committee on Tuesday.
They had already been scheduled to appear before the committee anyway, to discuss the draft Media Bill, but have been told they will face questions over the Schofield affair as well.