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Holly Willoughby signed off with a cheery ‘see you tomorrow’ as she said goodbye to This Morning viewers for the final time just days before she dramatically revealed she would be quitting the show after 14 years.

Tonight the television star, 42, made the shocking announcement on Instagram, confirming she ‘will not be returning’ to the ITV daytime programme, saying she had made the decision ‘for me and my family’.  

Last Wednesday she made her last appearance on the show, which has been rebranding itself following the departure of her long-running co-star Phillip Schofield earlier this year, but made no indication that she would never return.

Ms Willoughby’s exit comes just days after a former Pizza Hut worker was remanded in custody over an alleged plot to kidnap and murder the presenter. 

Gavin Plumb, 36, from Harlow Essex, is accused of a number of offences, including soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap in relation to the broadcaster. He allegedly contacted a hitman in the US who booked him flights. 

Holly Willoughby pictured on her final show with Josie Gibson last Wednesday – less than a week before she dramatically quit the ITV show 

Appearing to work as normal alongside her co-star, Ms Willoughby told viewers about what they could expect on ‘tomorrow’s This Morning’ before signing off with a smiley ‘see you tomorrow’

Ms Willoughby appeared jolly as she discussed the plans for Thursday’s show with Josie Gibson. 

Appearing to work as normal,  she told viewers about what they could expect on ‘tomorrow’s This Morning’ before signing off with a smiley ‘see you tomorrow’. 

On Tuesday night in a long statement on Instagram she wrote: ‘I have let ITV know today that after 14 years, I will not be returning to This Morning.

‘To everyone who has ever worked on the show over the years, thank you so so much. This is such a difficult goodbye, you are incredible and I forever will be proud of what we’ve done together.

‘Thank you to everyone at ITV for being supportive. To every guest who has sat on our sofa, thank you. Most of all, thank you to the wonderful viewers. You’ve been so loyal, so supportive and the very best company every day.

‘Richard and Judy said we only look after this show, it will always belong to the viewers’. It’s been an honour to just be part of it’s story and I know this story has many chapters left to go. Sadly, however, I now feel I have to make this decision for me and my family.

‘I will miss you all so much.’

An ITV boss said the broadcaster is looking forward to working with Holly Willoughby ‘in the future’ following the news she is quitting This Morning.

The presenter took to Instagram today to confirm she ‘will not be returning’ to the show

Gavin Plumb, 36, appeared in the dock at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Friday accused of soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap 

Phillip Schofield has reportedly lent his support to former co-presenter Holly Willoughby following news of an alleged plot to kidnap and murder her. The pair are pictured together in August 2022

In a statement, Kevin Lygo, managing director of media and entertainment at ITV, told MailOnline: ‘We are sad that Holly is leaving This Morning, but respect her decision which we know will have been extremely difficult for her to make.

‘Holly is one of the best loved, respected and most accomplished broadcasters in the UK. She has been at the heart of This Morning for the past 14 years, and she is adored by our viewers.

‘Holly has brought her unique brand of warmth, energy, humour and fun to one of the country’s most popular daytime shows, and everyone on the programme will miss her enormously.

‘She remains a much loved member of the ITV family and we look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.’

Mr Lygo added: ‘Holly has brought her unique brand of warmth, energy, humour and fun to one of the country’s most popular daytime shows, and everyone on the programme will miss her enormously.

‘She remains a much loved member of the ITV family and we look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.’

Ms Willoughby is pictured on This Morning on September 25 this year

In the wake of her departure, Ms Willoughby’s ITV co-stars have rallied behind her. 

Alison Hammond said ‘this is a very sad day’ but reiterated that she loved the presenter.

Juliet Sear, TV cook and baking expert, posted that she was ‘sad’ to see Holly go, but also wished her ‘loads of positive things’ in her ‘new chapter’.

‘It’s been wonderful working with you for the last 8 years and making your birthday cakes to for the last 14,’ Ms Sear wrote. ‘Lots of love to you and you family.’

Vanessa Feltz added: ‘We will miss you so very much my darling.’

Plumb on Friday was charged with soliciting a man named David Nelson to commit murder, and incitement to commit kidnap between October 2 and 5 in Harlow, Essex.

Emma Gormley, Managing Director of ITV Daytime, wrote to staff after Plumb was arrested last Wednesday and then charged, MailOnline revealed yesterday.

She said: ‘Inevitably there is already speculation about when Holly will return. However, our priority right now is the safety and well being of Holly and her family. I wanted to reassure you that throughout this distressing time, we have been in constant contact with Holly and the authorities and we are providing all the support we can’.

The ordeal is said to have left Ms Willoughby ‘shocked and distraught’ after she was told about the ordeal shortly before she was due to go on air on Thursday. 

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield’s dramatic year on This Morning

In a dramatic year for daytime TV staple This Morning, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby have both now left the sofa that they had shared together for more than 10 years.

Schofield’s fall from grace was swift following him admitting to an affair with a much younger male colleague while still married to his wife and losing his talent representation before departing from ITV altogether.

Willoughby said her decision in October was to spend more time ‘for me and my family’ and the broadcaster’s managing director for media and entertainment Kevin Lygo has said she ‘remains a much-loved member of the ITV family’ and that he hopes to work with her in the future.

Here is a timeline of how events unfolded:

– February 2020: Schofield comes out as gay after nearly 27 years of marriage to wife Stephanie, in an emotional on-air chat with co-host and long-time friend Willoughby. The pair embrace on the sofa.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have both faced criticism

September 2022: The co-hosts face criticism over claims they skipped the queue for Queen Elizabeth II’s lying in state while attending as members of the media to film a segment for This Morning.

April 17 2023: The first hint something might be wrong comes in the first show after the Easter break. Schofield and Willoughby should both be on the sofa after he took leave while his brother Timothy was on trial for child sex offences. While Schofield is back in the studio, Willoughby is absent, saying she has shingles.

May 10: The Sun reports the pair are ‘barely speaking’.

May 11: Schofield calls Holly ‘his rock’ and says they are ‘the best of friends’.

May 15: The pair put on a united front on This Morning and make no reference to stories in the press about their relationship.

May 18: Schofield presents what will turn out to be his last episode of This Morning.

May 20: Schofield steps down from This Morning with immediate effect. ITV says he will continue to present ‘peak-time shows’, including The British Soap Awards and a new prime-time series. Willoughby releases a statement saying the sofa ‘won’t feel the same without him’.

Presenters Dermot O´Leary and Alison Hammond

May 21: It is announced that Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond will host the show on Monday May 22, as Willoughby takes early half-term leave. It is announced she will return to hosting duties on June 5.

May 22: O’Leary and Hammond host the show and hail Schofield as ‘one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had’.

May 26: Schofield admits to an ‘unwise but not illegal’ affair with a much younger male colleague and resigns from ITV. He confirms the relationship began while he was still with his wife and says he will not be hosting the British Soap Awards, his last public commitment. He apologises for lying about the relationship. He is dropped by his talent agency YMU.

May 27: Willoughby accuses Schofield of lying to her about the affair, saying his admission is ‘very hurtful’. ITV says the broadcaster was ‘not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour’ when it looked into the matter in 2020.

May 28: Former This Morning resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh says the show is ‘toxic’, adding he raised concerns about ‘bullying and discrimination’ two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was ‘managed out’ for whistleblowing. ITV responds by saying an external and independent adviser was appointed to carry out a review after the complaint, which found ‘no evidence of bullying or discrimination’.

Dame Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV

May 29: Schofield releases a statement denying ‘toxicity’ at This Morning and says ‘it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice’. Former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes alleges there was a ‘total cover-up’ at ITV over the affair and, in an interview on GB News, says Willoughby should follow Schofield ‘out the door’.

May 31: In a letter, seen by the PA news agency, ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall says the broadcaster has instructed a barrister to conduct an external review of how it has handled Schofield’s affair. She adds that Jane Mulcahy KC, of Blackstone Chambers, will ‘carry out an external review to establish the facts’.

June 1: Dame Carolyn is called to give evidence to a parliamentary committee on June 14 to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling after the departure of Schofield.

The Sun publishes an interview with Schofield in which he says he is sorry to Willoughby but owes his ‘greatest apology’ to his former lover. He reiterates that he did not ‘groom’ the man, and that although his wife was ‘very, very angry’ about the affair, his daughters have been ‘guarding’ him during the fallout.

June 2: The BBC airs its own interview with Schofield, conducted by media editor Amol Rajan. Schofield says he has ‘lost everything’ and the affair has had a ‘catastrophic effect’ on his mind. Speaking about the criticism he has faced he says he can see ‘nothing ahead’ except ‘blackness and sadness’ and now speaks about his career in television ‘in the past tense’. Schofield also urges the media to leave the younger man alone.

June 5: Willoughby makes an emotional return to This Morning, saying she felt ‘shaken, troubled, let down and worried’ following the revelations about Schofield. The episode was watched by an average of 839,000 viewers, the highest daily average for the show since the coronation bank holiday on May 8, and had a peak audience of 1.6 million.

June 14: ITV boss Dame Carolyn is questioned by MPs alongside ITV managing director Kevin Lygo and general counsel and company secretary Kyla Mullins about Schofield’s exit. Dame Carolyn tells the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee that the broadcaster does not recognise allegations of a toxic culture at This Morning, saying ‘it deeply disappoints me’.

September 5: This Morning loses its best daytime show title at the National Television Awards to The Repair Shop following being on a winning streak in the daytime category for the last number of years.

September 13: Dame Carolyn updates the CMS committee to say the external review is being led by Jane Mulcahy KC and she has ‘conducted multiple witness interviews, with further interviews set to continue during the course of September’.

October 6: A shopping centre security officer is remanded in custody over an alleged plot to kidnap and murder Willoughby. Gavin Plumb, 36, was charged at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court with soliciting a man named David Nelson to commit murder, and incitement to commit kidnap between October 2 and 5 in Harlow, Essex. The other man was due to arrive in the UK the following week from the US, the court heard.

October 10: Willoughby announces she is stepping down from presenting This Morning after 14 years saying on Instagram that it was an ‘honour to just be part of its story’. Following Willoughby’s announcement, Mr Lygo said: ‘She remains a much loved member of the ITV family and we look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.’

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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