Holly Willoughby is now ‘damaged goods’ claims former ITV boss as This Morning faces calls for ‘fresh start’

Ian McCulloch (left) and Holly Willoughby (right)

Holly Willoughby's future on This Morning is under question

GB News / ITV
Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 31/05/2023

- 16:05

The presenter is due to return to the TV show next week

A former ITV boss has cast doubt over Holly Willoughby’s future on This Morning, branding the presenter “damaged goods”.

Ian McCulloch, former commercial director at the broadcaster, said the show needs a “fresh start” after Phillip Schofield resigned over the weekend.

The 61-year-old opted to leave ITV after admitting to an affair with a younger male colleague.

Speaking to GB News, he said: “I do absolutely agree that none of the on-screen talent, well, those two, they cannot be associated with the show.

“She’s damaged goods, they need a fresh start. I’m not sure that the talent that they’ve got running through at the minute is the right talent.

“I think the show is a good show, but you certainly can’t have those two.

“There is much more to come out in this story, and I don’t think her statements are particularly plausible, though it looks as though she’s clinging on.

“I think they need to make a clean break and just move the show on.”

Holly Willoughby on This Morning todayHolly Willoughby joined the This Morning team in 2009ITV

It comes amid reports Willoughby will return to presenting duties on ITV’s flagship daytime show and “carry on like the professional she is”.

She is due to return on Monday June 5 after the half-term break, having taken an early holiday following the news of her former co-presenter’s departure.

A source told The Sun: “She has made it clear she was one of the people Phil lied to and she has nothing to hide.

“She will return to This Morning as planned on Monday and carry on like the professional she is.

“Holly has been affected by Phil’s actions and it has been very difficult. She is devoted to This Morning, however, and will continue to do the best job she can for them.”

McCulloch believes the show would be better served with a clean break from Schofield’s former presenting partner, as This Morning is “getting tired”.

“It’s happening again, the creative control isn’t there” he said.

“They haven’t refreshed the show. We’ve got it in peak time with ITV, where you can see some shows are starting to look tired and they need resting.

Phillip Schofield Holly WilloughbyWilloughby had tried to put distance between herself and Schofield in recent weeksITV

“I think from the public’s point of view, this almost looks like an episode of Love Island, you put a bunch of egomaniacs together and see what’s going to explode, and over time this has exploded.”

Following Schofield’s departure, Willoughby admitted in a statement on Instagram that the news had “taken time to process.

“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 now find out that this was a lie.”

ITV have also denied any prior knowledge about the relationship, saying they were left “deeply disappointed” by Schofield’s revelation.

On Saturday, a spokesperson said: “Further to our statement last night, ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.

“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours, as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.

“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.

“Phillip’s statement yesterday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”

Willoughby joined This Morning in 2009 and enjoyed a lengthy on-air relationship with Schofield, accruing multiple National Television Awards in the process.

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