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ITV bosses face further questions about what they knew of Phillip Schofield’s affair with a This Morning colleague after claims emerged that the younger lover received a financial settlement from the broadcaster.
The Daily Mail has been told that he was given a payment following the end of the on-off relationship, which Schofield described as ‘unwise but not illegal’.
ITV have repeatedly declined to comment on the alleged pay-off or deny it. There were no comments from a representative of the presenter, who quit the channel on Friday after he revealed to the Daily Mail that he had lied about the affair to our sister paper, The Mail on Sunday.
But a source claims that the money was handed to the man, who, after he declared his love for Schofield at an awards ceremony in January 2020, was shunted to another of the network’s daytime programmes.
Insiders at ITV say that bosses at some level must have known about any payment as someone senior would have been required to sign it off.
Sources have told the Daily Mail that Schofield’s much younger former lover was given a payment from ITV when the on-off affair ended. Pictured: The young man sat with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby
Schofield and his young lover leave the Ivy Club in London in the early hours of Friday March 23, 2017. Eamonn Holmes claimed yesterday that Thursday nights were ‘playtime’ for them
Insiders at ITV say that bosses at some level must have known about any payment as someone senior would have been required to sign it off
One said: ‘There have been numerous pay-offs at ITV and they have always had to be arranged and sanctioned by people of some seniority.’
The claims come as pressure has increased on the broadcaster’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall, director of television Kevin Lygo and head of daytime Emma Gormley to speak out about what they knew.
One source at the channel said: ‘This is unravelling fast and there is no evidence to suggest it will come to an end any time soon.
‘There are a lot of people out there who feel wronged by ITV and they now have the confidence to have their say. The house of cards appears to be collapsing, it is anybody’s guess where this ends now.’
And former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes made the situation even more uncomfortable for ITV after he accused its bosses of orchestrating a ‘total cover-up’ of Schofield’s affair with his younger lover, saying those in authority ‘had to know’ about the secret relationship.
The pair met when Schofield was in his 50s and giving a talk to a theatre school. At that time, his future-lover was 15 and keen to make a career in the TV industry.
He moved down to London aged 18 and began working at This Morning, before striking up the secret relationship with the presenter.
In an interview on GB News on Monday evening, Holmes, labelled Schofield, 61, a ‘chief narcissist’ who would ‘hit the town’ on Thursdays for ‘playtime’ with the young man.
Last night former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes accused the broadcaster of orchestrating a ‘total cover up’ of Schofield’s affair
Co-host Holly Willoughby, 42, is due to return to the show on Monday in what will be her first appearance since Schofield was ousted
He claimed Schofield’s lover would be ferried between the presenter’s central London flat and the studios in taxis paid for by the network.
Timeline of the Phillip Schofield scandal
September 2022 – Schofield and Willoughby are criticised for failing to queue for the Queen’s Lying in State.
April 2023 – Phillip is absent from This Morning for two weeks while his brother Timothy, 54, is tried at Exeter Crown Court for sexually abusing a teenage boy.
April 3 – Timothy is found guilty of ’emotionally blackmailing’ the teenager into performing sex acts and watching porn with him.
May 10 – Reports emerge Phillip and Holly are ‘barely speaking’, but a day later he issues a statement calling Holly ‘my rock’.
May 15 – The pair present a united front while presenting This Morning, but rumours of a feud continue. The pair are said to have fallen out due to Phillip’s failure to warn Holly of his brother’s trial.
May 20 – Schofield announces he is stepping down from This Morning with ‘immediate effect’.
May 22 – Stand-in presenters Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond pay tribute to their former colleague as ‘one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had’.
May 26 – Schofield releases a statement admitting he’d had an affair with a ‘much younger’ colleague but then lied about it.
May 27 – Holly blasts Phillip for lying to her.
May 28 – This Morning’s former resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh hits out at the show’s ‘toxic’ culture.
May 29 – Schofield releases a statement denying claims the show had a toxic culture, only for Eamonn Holmes to slam him as ‘delusional’ on Twitter.
Holmes later takes to GB News accusing ITV of a ‘total cover up’ of Schofield’s affair.
Holmes said: ‘I didn’t know but I’ve subsequently found out from a very, very good source, because he would arrive much earlier in the morning than I would for the programme, that he was delivered from Phillip’s London home.
‘Usually on a Friday morning, because Thursday was playtime when he and Phillip would hit the town and then he obviously stayed overnight. There are records to show that he was brought in the next day separately in cars paid for by ITV.’
Asked whether the management would had to have known, Holmes replied: ‘Unless Phillip paid the bills separately, but it would still have to go through the accounts office that they would have seen that and known that.’
Holmes, 63, also claims he approached senior management who worked for Ms McCall to tell them about Schofield’s relationship with the young production assistant.
He said: ‘I had gone to the senior bosses at ITV, people who worked for Carolyn McCall, the chief executive in November 2019, with the story of Phillip having this inappropriate relationship with the young man, and had urged them to investigate because why, at the very least, would you not investigate?
‘I wasn’t saying that Phillip was guilty of anything. I was saying you should launch an investigation.’
Sources close to Schofield hit back at Holmes, saying: ‘If Eamonn Holmes wants to be that cruel to someone in Phillip’s position then that I think says more about Eamonn than Phillip.’
ITV is still refusing to give the Daily Mail any further detail of an investigation it insists took place. Sources close to the younger man say it did not carry one out.
On Saturday, ITV released a statement which said ‘both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU’.
ITV will not say whether the investigation was independent and external or who conducted it and when.
The scandal is threatening to topple This Morning, the daytime programme which was launched in 1988 and hosted by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan.
One source on the show said yesterday: ‘There are already conversations taking place between staff about how they are worried that things are going to have to change and where that leaves their jobs.
‘It is a deeply worrying time but nobody is under the illusion that the show can stay the same. It has to be rebranded because so much trust has gone.’
A series of pictures show Holly Willoughb y and her producer husband Daniel Baldwin leaving the National Television Awards before being approached by Schofield’s young lover in 2020
He shares a few words with Holly, 42, outside the 02 Arena before kissing her on the cheek
Schofield, 61, does not take part in the conversation but is seen vaping nearby accompanied by his wife, Stephanie Lowe
It comes as a series of photos of emerged of Schofield’s younger lover giving his co-host Holly Willoughby, 42, a kiss on the cheek at the National Television Awards (NTAs) at the O2 Arena in 2020.
This was where Schofield’s ex-lover declared his lover for the former presenter, according to former ITV producer Cristo Foufas.
Mr Foufas described an ‘incident’ at the awards on January 28, 2020 when Schofield’s lover stunned his colleagues by ‘declaring his love for Phil’.
The photos show the man approaching Holly and her husband Daniel Baldwin, sharing a few words, before jumping in a waiting cab.
Schofield does not take part in the conversation and is seen vaping nearby with his then wife Stephanie Lowe.
In more footage that has emerged, an extraordinary Snapchat video shows the former broadcaster partying with the young man 34 years his junior and his best friend Simon Schofield.
In the clip from March 2017, Schofield begins by sharing a snap of his pint of beer before dragging on a shisha. He then giggles: ‘I can’t get a tune out of these bagpipes’.
Schofield was filmed smoking shisha with his young lover, right, and his best friend Simon Schofield, left, in 2017
Schofield reportedly met his future lover while he was at stage school in 2012.
In 2016, he was around 18 or 19, he landed a job on This Morning. The shisha video was filmed a year later when the young man is believed to be around 20 while Schofield was 55.
It is thought they were in a relationship at the time the video was recorded.
Just ten days later Schofield wrote an emotional Instagram post revealing he was gay, before speaking about it moments later to Eamonn Holmes and his wife, Ruth Langsford.
Last night Holmes spoke to the ‘lovely’ younger man who he said was a ‘really good talented fella’ but added that life had been ‘tough’ for him.
The bombshell interview came after Schofield had taken to social media to defend himself and deny claims that This Morning had a ‘toxic’ culture behind the scenes.
London digs: Phillip Schofield seen arriving at his new central London flat following the announcement that he was gay in 2020. Holmes claimed Schofield would take his former lover back to a different £1 million flat in an exclusive block at White City in West London
Holmes also told how his wife Ruth Langsford (pictured far left with him, Holly Willoughby and Schofield) was still in touch with Schofield’s ex-lover, whom he described as a ‘lovely fella’
Speaking out for the first time since leaving the show, Schofield hit out at those ‘with a grudge against me’
The presenter of more than 20 years wrote on Instagram: ‘Now I no longer work on This Morning I am free to say this. I hope you have noticed that it is the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice. This Morning is the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there, there was no toxicity’.
Holmes went on to hit back at the statement, calling Schofield ‘delusional’ and told Dan Wootton’s show last night that ‘[Schofield] was so rude’.
‘This nonsense that he wrote today about toxicity, it’s a happy place and whatever… what planet does this man live on?’ he said.
‘He created an atmosphere where people hated him, that people would avoid them in the corridor, he didn’t look at anybody, he didn’t know anybody’s names. Holly doesn’t know people’s names either. This is legendary within the production team, how distant they are, and how they just don’t care’.
He went on to claim that the former presenter would take his ex-lover back to his £1million flat in White City in west London – close to the ITV studio.
Holmes’ interventions raise serious questions for Mr Lygo, director of television at ITV, ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall, head of Daytime, Ms Gormley and This Morning editor Martin Frizzell.
Willoughby is due to return to the show on Monday in what will be her first appearance since Schofield was ousted. She is expected to be joined by her friend Alison Hammond.