More photos have emerged of Phillip Schofield with his much younger former lover – as This Morning returned today with Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary as hosts.
The industry veteran, 61, has been at the centre of a major scandal after revealing on Friday that he had lied to ITV, his lawyers and talent agency about his affair with the young man.
Numerous photos show the pair together, including at a This Morning Live event alongside Holly Willoughby.
They were also seen sharing the stage at the National Television Awards that same year, when the show was named Best Daytime Programme.
Schofield had been carrying out the affair while he was still married to his wife and without the knowledge of Holly, his former co-host and close friend.
Phillip Schofield with his young lover (middle) and Holly Willoughby at an industry event as early as 2018
Phillip, his lover and Holly posing on the This Morning sofa. Holly has since told how Phillip ‘lied’ to her about the affair
Schofield on stage with the young man (pictured middle) at the 2018 National Television Awards
Staff who worked at ITV said they had wondered why only the younger colleague – who the Mail is choosing not to name – would be allowed to assist the star with his wardrobe and food.
One told The Sun: ‘It was odd — suddenly this new young staff member was glued to Phillip’s side.
‘It was made clear to all other staff he was Phillip’s chosen aide — even though at times Phillip was quite abrasive towards him.’
The daytime show has been plunged into meltdown since revelations over Schofield’s relationship with a younger man at ITV emerged on Friday, with the channel losing millions of pounds in sponsorship deals and some guests refusing approaches to appear on the programme.
But speaking out for the first time since leaving the show today, Schofield hit out at those ‘with a grudge against me’.
In a statement posted on his Instagram, the presenter said: ‘Now I no longer work on This Morning 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, it IS a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard, working people.’
The scandal has widened as Schofield’s former lover claimed he had not been quizzed about it by ITV, despite the company insisting an investigation involving both men took place.
Calls for an independent inquiry have gathered pace, with ITV’s most senior bosses under increasing pressure to admit what they knew and when about Schofield’s relationship.
And last night Dr Ranj Singh, who was a regular guest on This Morning, accused the show of having a ‘toxic’ culture of bullying and discrimination.
The TV doctor said he had taken his concerns to ‘the top’ of ITV but felt he had been ‘managed out’ as he was dropped from screens, raising yet more questions for executives.
He had worked on the show for ten years and had even previously co-hosted it. He left in 2021.
A weekend of revelations, sparked by Schofield making an apology to the Daily Mail on Friday for lying about the affair, added to pressure on the channel’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall and her director of television, Kevin Lygo, to address the growing controversy.
Another photo from the event, where This Morning was named Best Daytime Programme
Schofield leaves The Ivy Club with the young man in March 2017
It can also be revealed that the ex-lover has vowed to not lie about the relationship, which Schofield described as ‘unwise but not illegal’ but has left his 38-year TV career in tatters.
Sources told the Mail the former production assistant insists that ‘he was never asked’ about the romance, while another ITV insider said: ‘Everybody just knew about it.’
One source said: ‘It’s time for some truths to be told now, this has been brushed under the carpet for so long and it has to come to an end. The younger man has got to the point now where he won’t lie for anyone but actually, he says he was never asked by ITV about any relationship.
‘It is time that people were held to account, or at the very least explain themselves.’
An ITV spokesman stood firm, saying: ‘Both parties were questioned.’
But the network refused to say when the questioning took place, or who conducted it.
Yesterday Mr Lygo told Sky News ‘no mistakes’ were made as his channel sought out the truth.
The assistant was shunted from This Morning to another ITV programme in 2020 after he admitted his love for Schofield at an awards ceremony – prompting much gossip among employees of all levels that there was a relationship between them.
Dr Ranj said he had taken his concerns to ‘the top’ of ITV but that he felt he had been ‘managed out’
Following his last show on May 18, Hammond and O’Leary paid a 30-second tribute to Phil when they hosted the programme the following day, after his 21 years on the show
In a lengthy Instagram post, Dr Ranj Singh said he had ‘thought long and hard’ before weighing in on the ongoing scandal
The television medic confirmed that he had taken concerns about the behaviour of editors and senior producers to ITV and had then seen his screentime drop
Insiders say that the move between programmes would have almost certainly been overseen by ITV’s head of daytime, Emma Gormley. She has yet to comment.
Richard Scorer, of lawyers Slater and Gordon, said that while all the details of the relationship were not yet known, ‘any situation where a young person may have been subjected to a potential imbalance of abuse of power needs to be investigated fully and independently’.
The abuse specialist added that the long-standing rumours about the affair – and the allegations that others in ITV were aware of the relationship – meant it was ‘imperative that there is a full and transparent investigation’.
Ex-Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries joined the calls for an independent investigation.
She told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: ‘We know that there were complaints lodged with ITV over a long period of time. What happened to those complaints? I think the editor of the programme, Martin Frizell, has some questions to answer himself.
‘How did that young boy, so young, get a job at ITV? What were the processes involved? What was the safeguarding in place for someone so young at that age? What contact was first made? Who contacted who?’
This Morning will return today, with Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary presenting, ITV confirmed.
But despite claims that all is well at the station’s ‘jewel in the crown’, and will carry on as normal, the Mail understands that some people who have been approached to be guests on the show are refusing.
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby with Dr Ranj on This Morning in 2019. The TV doctor said he felt he had to speak up
Unimpressed: Alison Hammond, 48, and Dermot O’Leary, 50, are reportedly fuming after paying tribute to Phillip Schofield following his departure from This Morning
The show’s Twitter profile was updated on Saturday to remove a picture with Phillip Schofield in it
Dr Singh, 43, made his comments about the ‘toxic’ culture behind the scenes in a lengthy Instagram post yesterday.
A Sunday newspaper report told how he complained of bullying before his departure, with an ITV spokesman admitting an investigation was launched, but found ‘no evidence’. Dr Singh confirmed that he had taken concerns about the behaviour of editors and senior producers to ITV ‘especially given that my job is to look after people’s wellbeing and I had been heavily involved in diversity, anti-bullying and mental health projects across the channel’.
He added: ‘The culture at This Morning has become toxic, no longer aligned with ITV values, and I felt like because I whistle-blew I was managed out.’
ITV said: ‘We are sorry to read Dr Ranj’s post today. At ITV we are fully committed to providing every opportunity for anyone who works with us to raise any concern or comments they may have. Following a complaint made by Dr Ranj, we appointed an external and independent adviser to carry out a review. This external review found no evidence of bullying or discrimination.’
Yesterday The Mail on Sunday told how Schofield was in his late 40s when he first met his lover as he gave a talk to a North-West theatre school. At the time the younger man was 15 and he asked the TV veteran if he would help him land a job in showbusiness.
Ex-Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries joined the calls for an independent investigation.
At the age of 18, the teen moved to London and worked on This Morning, at which point they struck up an ‘on-off’ relationship.
Schofield has funded lawyers from the London firm Mishcon de Reya on behalf of his former lover. The solicitors were instructed last Monday and it was at that point that the man refused to continue covering up their liaisons.
On Saturday a devastated Ms Willoughby, 42, who is taking a break from the show, issued a statement saying: ‘When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not. It’s been very hurtful to find out that this was a lie.’
An ITV Spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry to read Dr Ranj’s post today. At ITV we are fully committed to providing every opportunity for anyone who works with us to raise any concern or comments they may have.
‘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.’