Phillip Schofield to step down from This Morning with ‘immediate effect’
The 61-year-old TV presenter will not return to co-host the morning talk show with Holly Willoughby
Phillip Schofield will step down from This Morning with "immediate effect" after more than 20 years on the ITV programme, the broadcaster has announced.
The 61-year-old TV presenter will not return to co-host the morning talk show with Holly Willoughby, with Thursday's show being his last.
ITV has said Willoughby will remain on the show and will "co-present with members of the This Morning family".
His departure comes amid reports of a rift between Schofield and Willoughby and after his brother, Timothy Schofield, was sentenced to 12 years in jail on Friday after being convicted of child sex offences.
Schofield, who also shared the news in a post to his Instagram story, 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."
Schofield will continue to present "peak time shows" for ITV including next month's The British Soap Awards and a new prime time series, the broadcaster has said.
He has presented This Morning with Willoughby since 2009 and they also co-host ITV's Dancing On Ice together.
On Schofield's departure, Willoughby said: "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. The sofa won't feel the same without him."
The pair have been open about their close friendship over the years, which has included sharing pictures on social media of them while on joint holidays with their families.
After reports of the pair's relationship coming under strain, last week, Schofield said in a statement to The Sun that Willoughby is his "rock".
Schofield took pre-planned leave from the show around his brother's sex abuse trial at Exeter Crown Court last month.
Former civilian police worker Timothy Schofield, 54, was convicted of 11 sexual offences involving a child between October 2016 and October 2019, including two of sexual activity with a child following the court case.
In April, Willoughby also took time off from the ITV morning programme due to having the painful rash shingles, which is caused by the same virus as chickenpox.
Last year, the duo faced a backlash over claims they skipped the queue for the Queen's lying in state in September.
Kevin Lygo, ITV's managing director of 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."
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