February 23, 2024

ITV has published findings from its external inquiry into former “This Morning” anchor Phillip Schofield‘s affair with a PA on the show. Schofield did not participate in the inquiry because of a “risk to his health,” the report stated, adding that the former anchor’s “mental health has since deteriorated.”

U.K public service broadcaster ITV hired lawyer Jane Mulcahy KC to conduct a review earlier this year after Schofield admitted to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with the young staffer (Variety is aware of the staffer’s identity but is not naming him to protect his anonymity). The resulting fall-out saw Schofield step down from the daytime magazine show after two decades. He was also dropped by his agent. His long-time co-anchor, Holly Willoughby, found herself caught up in the scandal and also stepped down a few months later after finding herself the victim of a kidnap plot.

Mulcahy was tasked with examining how much ITV knew about Schofield’s workplace relationship with the unnamed PA (dubbed “Person X” in the report) as well as the way in which ITV handled complaints about “This Morning” in general. After Schofield’s affair was exposed, a number of former contributors and employees on the show came forward to describe the atmosphere on “This Morning” as “toxic.”

The lawyer said she interviewed 48 people for her report, including both senior and junior ITV staff as well as former staff, “on-screen personalities and those involved in managing on-screen talent.” But, she noted, “regrettably” neither Schofield nor Person X was willing to cooperate with the investigation and because it was not a statutory inquiry, Mulcahy had no powers to compel them to do so. Person X, via his lawyers, told the investigator he “wanted to move on with his life and was not prepared to assist with this Review.”

The scandal dates back to Feb. 2020 when Schofield, who has a wife and two adult daughters, publicly came out on the show. Rumors swirled he had made the announcement to get ahead of a tabloid story in the works about his relationship with a PA/runner on the show but the following month the COVID-19 pandemic hit, eclipsing Schofield’s news. In March of this year, Schofield’s younger brother was found guilty of sexual offences involving a child, causing the anchor to stay off air during the duration of the trial. It was rumored that long-time co-host Willoughby was blindsided by the news and their relationship, already fraught at that point, deteriorated further.

As the trial went on, whispers intensified about the future of their presenting partnership, which had long been seen as the beating heart of “This Morning.” After his brother was sentenced to 12 years in prison, Schofield confirmed he was stepping down. Rumors then re-surfaced about his affair with a PA, which both he and ITV had long denied. A week later, Schofield confirmed the relationship, causing him to be dropped entirely by both his agents and ITV.

ITV maintained throughout the saga they had been unaware of the alleged affair. Mulcahy’s report has now confirmed their position.

“ITV’s management made considerable efforts to determine the truth about an alleged relationship between Schofield and Person X following on from the publication of a story in The Sun newspaper in early December 2019,” Mulcahy says in her report. “However, in the face of the denials of the individuals involved, ITV was unable to uncover the relevant evidence until Schofield’s admission in late May 2023.”

More to come…

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