Despite being one of the longest serving and highest paid stars at the network, secured with a prized golden handcuffs deal, in my experience Phillip Schofield is also the most reviled.
When I speak to many household name ITV presenters they don’t have a good word to say about the bloke who viewers know affectionately as Schofe.
I know, by the way, because I was one of Phil’s colleagues at ITV Daytime for more than a decade.
He tried to get me taken off air multiple times.
Despite being one of the longest serving and highest paid stars at the network, secured with a prized golden handcuffs deal, in my experience Phillip Schofield (pictured today) is also the most reviled, Dan Wootton says
It started after I wrote a column for the Daily Mail in April 2013 revealing that he was going to pay at least £62,500 from his £1million-plus salary in damages to Lord McAlpine, whose name was visible to viewers on the so-called ‘paedo list’ he handed to then PM David Cameron in a major gaffe.
The abusive Twitter direct messages I received from Schofield were water off a duck’s back for me, but proof to me of how he must treat less powerful colleagues with whom he disagreed.
I eventually quit ITV for good in November 2019. I was no longer prepared to stay silent about his disgraceful behaviour under pressure from the bosses at the broadcaster who, for some reason, have long been supporters of Schofield.
I never understood why, given I was just one of many presenters – including A-listers – who warned them multiple times about Phil.
For some reason, in my experience, ITV bosses always found excuses for the way Schofield treats people, even as they were prepared to throw the likes of fellow ITV Daytime stars Piers Morgan and Jeremy Kyle under the bus.
Phillip Schofield tried to get me taken off air multiple times, Dan Wootton (pictured) claims
Schofield’s on air coming out as gay on ITV, during a show ironically hosted by Ruth Langsford, who had previously complained about the way Phillip treated her, seemed to deflect the growing criticism.
It did for a time, until the Queuegate scandal, where Phillip appeared to think there was nothing wrong with skipping past members of the public in a 24-hour long line to see the late Queen’s coffin, exposing his arrogance to furious Brits.
Over the past few years, ITV has become a morally bankrupt organisation that embraces the woke ideology while pursuing a strict form of censorship that doesn’t encourage freedom of speech amongst its staff.
But a few brave souls have been prepared to speak out.
It started with Fern Britton, a good woman who was critical to the post-Richard and Judy success of This Morning, but was deemed surplus to requirements.
Then Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden bravely put her ITV career on the line to confront Phillip about the way he had treated her, including her belief that he got channel bosses to axe her role as a fill-in for Holly.
Other previous This Morning regulars, including Kim Woodburn, Gemma Collins and Francine Lewis, have all gone on the record about their treatment in the This Morning studio.
And this week ex-Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries rocked ITV with her first column for the Daily Mail revealing her own scary experience with Phillip.
She wrote: ‘On one occasion, I witnessed what appeared to be somewhat intimidating behaviour. Holly was away, and as her stand-in looked down at her script — obviously wanting to see who or what was coming up next — Phillip glared at her and began to jab at her script with his finger. I don’t know about her, but he scared me.’
No wonder that when Phillip returned to screens for the first time since the conviction of his paedophile brother Timothy Schofield on Monday and spoke about being overwhelmed by ‘kind messages and support’ from viewers, many ITV stars must have rolled their eyes and swapped more frustrated messages on private WhatsApp groups.
Perhaps tellingly, as far as I know not one ITV presenter or staff member has chosen to publicly support Phillip.
Even though she was off sick with shingles, it felt telling that Holly Willoughby was not by the side of her long-time co-presenter and close friend for such a significant day.
Alison Hammond (pictured earlier this month) has no airs and graces, she doesn’t believe that she is above the crew members who she works with, and she’s prepared to put in the hard yards on lengthy shoots, says Wootton
Especially given that delightful Holly – a decent woman who is probably the most sought-after female presenter on British TV – had spent the time when Phillip was off publicly disowning his brother forging a fierce partnership with Alison Hammond.
Now Alison is the complete opposite of Schofield.
She is, without any doubt, the most beloved presenter on ITV, adored by executives, producers and fellow presenters alike.
Indeed, she originally turned down her role to host This Morning on Fridays alongside Dermot O’Leary because she was so devastated about the brutal and unnecessary axing of the highly popular husband and wife duo (and Phillip critics) Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.
Alison has no airs and graces, she doesn’t believe that she is above the crew members who she works with, and she’s prepared to put in the hard yards on lengthy shoots.
Unlike Phil, what you see on screen is exactly what you get with Alison.
She’s spent years slowly working up the ranks at ITV, whose bosses took far too long to realise they had a national treasure on their hands.
They are now faced with a very real predicament: Give Alison the top job or risk losing her to the BBC and Channel 4, who recently signed the host to front the Baftas and Great British Bake Off respectively in two massive deals.
The obvious solution is to politely part ways with Phillip.
Alison could then be paired with Holly Willoughby in a mega partnership bringing the two most popular female presenters on British television together.
Given ITV insists it’s such a woke company, with diversity drives regularly led by its CEO, the right on ex-Guardian boss Carolyn McCall, surely they’ll have no problem with its flagship show being presented by two women? After all, the all-conquering Strictly Come Dancing duo of Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly have proven it can be a great success.
I understand Holly may be reluctant to take up such a deal, given the pair have always publicly declared when one of them leaves This Morning they will both quit.
But I would urge her to think again; she has worked too hard for too long.
Trust me on this Holly, if the situation were reversed I am pretty sure he would ditch you faster than he could say: ‘Whatever happened to my ex-BFF Fern Britton?’