Inside Holly Willoughby’s ‘highly strategised’ This Morning return
Just minutes after the This Morning cameras stopped rolling today, Holly Willoughby hugged her colleagues and shared her relief that the hardest day of her career was over.
In what was a “very strategic” performance, the presenter spoke of how she was left “shocked, distressed, abandoned and concerned” by the scandal that has engulfed the ITV program and its former presenter Phillip Schofield.
Even her £188 button-up cream dress from high street shop Reiss was specially chosen to ensure the tone was severe enough, without being too gloomy at the moment.
She paired them with a pair of £535 nude heels from Gianvito Rossi — one of her favourites.
Once in place, Ms Willoughby, 42, only mentioned her former co-star once in the two-minute speech, saying it was ‘very strange sitting here without Phil’.
Holly Willoughby aged how she was left ‘shocked, distressed, abandoned and concerned’ by the scandal that has engulfed the ITV program and its former presenter Phillip Schofield
Holly is hugged by Josie Gibson, with whom she presents the program after Phillip’s departure
She then distanced herself from Schofield, who was kicked out of the program last month and later admitted to having had a relationship with a much younger male colleague.
Instead of using Schofield’s name, she called him “someone” and “she.”
After asking viewers if they were ‘OK’, Ms Willoughby said: ‘I imagine you may have felt as I did – shocked, distressed, disappointed, concerned for the welfare of people on all sides of what was happening. is going on. , and full of questions.
“You, me and all of us at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who wasn’t telling the truth, who acted in a way that they themselves felt they should resign from ITV and quit a career they loved. . That’s a lot to process.
And it’s just as hard to see the toll it takes on their own mental health. I think what unites us now is a desire to heal for the health and well-being of all.”
Ms Willoughby, who presented the program with Big Brother 2010 winner Josie Gibson, then told viewers that This Morning was under fire heading into a ‘new chapter’ – one without Schofield.
She said, “I hope that as we begin this new chapter and return to a place of warmth and magic that this show holds for all of us, we can find strength in each other.”
And, from my heart, I can just thank you for all your kind messages. And thank you for being here this morning.
“Myself, Josie, Dermot, Alison, Craig and everyone who works on this show will continue to work hard every day to bring you this show we love.”
Holly chose a £188 button-up cream dress from high street shop Reiss to make sure the tone was severe enough, without being too gloomy at the moment.
Mrs Willoughby’s words received a mixed reception from viewers, with some criticizing her for being too ‘staged’.
But sources close to her say she was “absolutely relieved” that it was over.
And the Mail can reveal that each word was studied and changed several times before a final draft was finally approved by ITV bosses this morning, not long before the show aired.
Ms Willoughby had been discussing how to deal with it with her family during their holiday in the sun in Portugal last week. Then she ran it through her publicist, Laura Sinclair.
The host’s TV production guru, Dan Baldwin, also helped.
After that, however, it was left to the ITV bosses and Ms Willoughby to decide how often Schofield was mentioned.
A belated decision was made to include him, but not in the discussion of the scandal.
A source said: ‘Holly knew she had to put viewers at the forefront of it all, the show is in deep trouble and she sees it as her part to save it.
So she definitely wanted to get it right personally, which meant going through a lot of concepts.
In the end, they decided to call Phil fleeting. In addition to proper coverage for the audience watching at home, the way the statement was reported by all forms of the media was also important.
“The last thing they wanted was a headline Phil shunned.”
After the show, Ms. Willoughby spoke to her colleagues and senior staff, including editor Martin Frizell, before returning home to see her three children.
The calm before the storm: Phillip and Holly on the couch of ITV’s This Morning last month, on May 11
Friends of the star say she “breathed a huge sigh of relief” when she came off the air in what they say was one of the toughest days of her career.
“Even when Holly finished the statement, she still had over two hours of live television to do that, yes, she was so glad she came through,” said one.
“There were hugs as everyone vowed to move forward together.”
Mrs Willoughby will be flanked again tomorrow by Mrs Gibson, 38, then Craig Doyle for Wednesday and Thursday.
Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary return for Friday’s episode.