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This Morning stand-in hosts Rochelle Humes and Craig Doyle today paid tribute to Holly Willoughby following her shock exit from the show – saying her decision was ‘heartbreaking’ but she was ‘quite rightly putting her family first’. 

The TV host, 42, announced her decision to step down from the show after an alleged ‘kidnap and murder plot’ emerged last week. She said yesterday that she was quitting the ITV daytime programme ‘for me and my family’. 

Stand-in host Rochelle Humes opened today’s show by sending her ‘love, best wishes, and respect’ to Holly, before adding that she was ‘recent events, especially in the past week, have been hard to deal with’.

She told viewers: ‘Holly loved her job here and was really looking forward to the future of the show, but recent events especially in the past week have been hard to deal with and she’s quite rightly putting her family first.’

Craig added that her decision to leave was ‘heartbreaking’ but ‘as Holly knows only too well, the show must go on.’ 

‘On behalf of everyone here. In front and behind the camera we just loved working with Holly she made coming to work so much fun. We are really, really sad and we’re really going to miss her,’ he added. 

Emotional opening credits included messages for the outgoing host, which said ‘we will miss you’, ‘family comes first’ and ‘goodbye Holly’. 

Holly pictured alongside Josie Gibson in her last appearance on This Morning last Wednesday 

Holly Willoughby’s former colleagues wish their best to her in today’s show, following her departure from hosting This Morning after 14 years

Holly’s first appearance on This Morning alongside Philip Schofield, 14 years ago 

Today, Rochelle Humes and Craig Doyle opened the show by wishing the former This Morning presenter their best

‘We loved working with her’: Rochelle Humes and Craig Doyle’s tribute to Holly Willoughby in FULL

Rochelle Humes and Craig Doyle told viewers: ‘We want to start by sending our love and well wishes to our Holly.

‘Last night, Holly made what we know would have been a heartbreaking decision to leave This Morning after 14 years.

‘She loved her time here but recent events, especially in the past week, have been hard to deal with and she is quite rightly putting her family first. 

‘On behalf of everyone here, in front and behind the camera, we just loved working with Holly she made coming to work so much fun.

‘We are really, really sad.

‘Holly said she will forever be proud of what she has achieved on the show and so are we.

‘But as Holly knows only too well, the show must go on. So, here is what we have coming up.’


Holly last appeared on the show last Wednesday, alongside Josie Gibson – at the time viewers did not know it would be her last.  

An ITV executive said she will be ‘missed enormously’ as she posted an emotional statement to her eight million Instagram followers.  

This Morning boss Kevin Lygo dropped a huge hint about the presenter’s future as he wished her well in a statement following her exit. 

In her post to Instagram, Holly said it was an ‘honour to just be part of its story’ over the last 14 years but that she feels ‘I have to make this decision for me and my family’.

However, Managing Director of Media and Entertainment at ITV, Kevin suggested that Holly’s relationship with ITV isn’t over forever. 

In his statement, Kevin said that ITV look forward to working with Holly in the future as he suggested it won’t be the last viewers see of her on the channel.

He said: ‘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. 

Goodbye: Holly Willoughby will be ‘missed enormously’ following her departure from hosting This Morning, an ITV executive said today

It’s over: It has been claimed that Holly quit the show because the show ‘wasn’t the same’ after her co-host Phillip Schofield left but was finally ‘tipped over the edge’ by an alleged ‘kidnap and murder plot’

Co-host Craig Doyle (left) said: ‘Last night Holly made what we know would’ve been a heartbreaking decision to leave this morning after 14 years’

Statement: This Morning boss Kevin Lygo dropped a huge hint about the presenter’s future as he wished her well in a statement following her exit (pictured August 2023)

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

Holly , acknowledging that leaving is ‘such a difficult goodbye’, thanked the network for ‘being supportive’. 

She also expressed her gratitude to the ‘wonderful viewers’ that she says have been ‘loyal, so supportive and the very best company’ over the years.

Her exit from the show comes after a former Pizza Hut worker was remanded in custody last week charged over an alleged plot to kidnap and murder Ms Willoughby. 

Gavin Plumb, 36, from Harlow, Essex, is accused of offences including soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap in relation to the broadcaster.

 Insiders have now told MailOnline that the alleged plot pushed Ms Willoughby to quit, but added that it had been in chaos since Mr Schofield’s exit.

This Morning has due to be relaunched in January with Ms Willoughby and a new host, sources say. Good Morning Britain‘s Ben Shephard was believed to be the favourite to replace Mr Schofield.

As Rochelle and Craig paid tribute to Holly, visuals of her with her fellow co-presenters were shown including Alison Hammond (pictured)

Having her say: Holly, 42, announced last night that she ‘will not be returning’ to the show. She said it was an ‘honour to just be part of its story’ over the last 14 years but that she feels ‘I have to make this decision for me and my family’ 

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

The TV presenter pulled out of hosting This Morning on Thursday and her London home was reportedly being guarded by police after Plumb was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of conspiracy to kidnap. 

Holly’s full statement today said: ‘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.’

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.’

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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