Feuding Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield returned to This Morning today – as insiders described Phil as a ‘shell of himself’ on set and Holly told how she looked forward to ‘a future filled with joy, love, and endless possibility’.
The pair, who are embroiled in one of the biggest fallouts in television, have not addressed their rift on air, but insiders claimed it has left Phil ‘increasingly withdrawn’ and ‘almost a shell of himself’.
‘He seems down and spends a lot of time in his dressing room. We’re worried about him,’ one source told The Mirror.
Meanwhile, Holly was in a reflective mood in her latest Monday newsletter for subscribers of her wellbeing brand Wylde Moon, where she revealed she had been receiving advice from a friend.
‘The older I get, the more I appreciate how daunting the concept of time passing can be,’ she mused. ‘I can always remember my nan saying things like ‘wait ’til you get to my age…then it really starts flying by’– and I now I really get it.
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield appearing today on a preview for This Morning
Holly mimes a gun as she and Phil introduce a segment about James Bond
‘If this resonates with you, I wanted to share some advice one of my friends gave me when we were talking about this exact thing.
‘She told me that instead of worrying how quickly it’s going, we should look at things differently and appreciate that with every moment (big or small) that passes, we’re creating a future filled with joy, love, and endless possibility.’
Holly and Phil, who are embroiled in one of the biggest fallouts in television, did not address their rift when they returned to This Morning yesterday, but viewers described them as ‘awkward’ and ’embarrassing’.
Today, a source suggested that public scepticism of the pair’s attempt to project a united front could force ITV bosses to make a ‘difficult decision’.
‘This Morning’s relationship with its viewers is built on trust, and they have to believe that Holly and Phil’s friendship, and what they’re watching, is real,’ the source told The Mirror.
The insider suggested that if this was no longer believed then ITV could be forced into replacing Phil with someone else.
In her newsletter, Holly urged fans to try and look at the positives in life.
She wrote: ‘If we can remember to reflect on just how lucky we are to be making all these memories, the passage of time can feel really positive. It’s a bit like that old saying, ”Time is a luxury that the wise appreciate.”’
Holly continued by revealing she was taking inspiration from this week’s ‘magnificent New Moon, heralding a period of rejuvenation.’
‘It’s the perfect time to establish new affirmations, construct vision boards, and dedicate your attention to manifesting your goals.
‘Allow the creative energies to surge within you, and stretch your imagination to embrace its most extravagant dreams.’
Holly and Phil were back on screens for the first time on Monday since news of their feud broke, but failed to address claims that their relationship is at breaking point and that they barely speak off camera.
Phil is trying to ‘tough out’ the ongoing row after it emerged he had called in his own lawyers over the fallout with his co-presenter, sources have revealed. He has also employed a new PR man to help improve his press coverage.
Senior figures at ITV called a crisis meeting yesterday following a wave of negative social media feedback about yesterday’s show.
Writing in her latest newsletter for subscribers of her wellbeing brand Wylde Moon, Holly was in a reflective mood as she revealed she had been receiving some advice
Message: Alongside photos of herself at home with her pet dog, Holly wrote: ‘We’re creating a future filled with joy, love, and endless possibility’
After seeing the reaction on Twitter, with viewers panning both Ms Willoughby, 42, and Schofield, 61, ITV bosses are pondering what to do next.
One source told the Daily Mail: ‘Social media is used as a barometer to see what the public think. Those in charge were left no under no illusion that it was a total disaster.
‘It was painful for the This Morning team to work on and it was just as painful for them to watch.
‘There was a meeting afterwards to discuss how it went that went on for some time. To be honest, everyone was just so relieved to get it over with, but even if the show does continue to go on for some time, it will continue to be a massive headache.’
One viewer posted: ‘Phillip Schofield thinks he can fool us with this fake nice ‘everything is fine act’ when Holly looks visibly uncomfortable being there.’
Another said: ‘How fake is this? Wow, couldn’t trust these two actors.’
A third wrote: ‘This is cringe. It feels awkward knowing theses two people don’t get along with each other. Fake friends.’
Adding to the theme, a fan commented: ‘Well this is awkward! All a bit dead behind the eyes with fake smiles.’
Sources close to the pair insist the programme will continue to run smoothly, despite the feuding behind the scenes.
Bosses from the broadcaster were allegedly furious after Phil broke his silence with a shock statement on Thursday night about the fall out with his co-host of 14 years admitting ‘the last few weeks haven’t been easy for us’.
Despite this, Phil believes he can weather the ongoing storm but even those close to him have said it is down to whether the audience believes the pair still have on-screen chemistry.
Phillip seen leaving his west London home heading to work before his show yesterday
Sources at the broadcaster described the situation as a ‘quandary’ for its bosses because both of the former friends were determined to get their own way.
Phil has consulted lawyers over the situation, which has been spiralling out of control for months.
The Daily Mail revealed this weekend that he has also hired Gordon Smart, a former Sun showbiz columnist and occasional Good Morning Britain host, to manage the crisis and ensure favourable press coverage.
It is a clear sign, say sources, that he is ‘taking this very seriously’ and is ‘keen to come out of the situation quickly’.
The feud began in September when the pair were criticised after failing to queue for the Queen’s Lying in State.
Things have become so bad that it is said they no longer speak when the cameras stop rolling. Holly has now cut all ties with Phil other than her This Morning commitments.