Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary kicked off Monday’s (May 22nd) episode of This Morning with a brief tribute to Phillip Schofield, following his sudden exit from the show.


Schofield announced he was leaving the programme on Saturday (20th May) after 21 years with immediate effect, and while Holly Willoughby will continue to present the show without Schofield, she is currently off on her two-week holiday for half term.

Opening Monday’s show, Hammond and O'Leary gave a brief mention of Schofield's exit, with photos of the presenter appearing during the message. Hammond said: "Now we can't start today's show without paying tribute to the man who has spent the last two decades sitting on this sofa – Phillip Schofield."

O'Leary continued: "Everyone on and off the screen at ITV and This Morning want to say a huge thank you to Phil for what he's done to make this show a success over the last 21 years," before Hammond added: "Quite simply we all know he's one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had and we, and all the team, wish him all the best for the future."

O'Leary then confirmed Willoughby is set to return to This Morning on Monday 5th June, with ITV previously announcing she will continue to host with existing members of the team. "Holly is taking a break over half term, she'll be back in the studio in two weeks," he explained

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ITV has not yet confirmed what the long-term plan for a new permanent presenter is, but Hammond and O’Leary are both favourites to join Willoughby on the sofa.

Schofield announced he will be stepping down from his role as a This Morning presenter with immediate effect on Saturday (20th May), having presented his last episode on Thursday (18th May).

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He 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."

Willoughby added: "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."

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