It’s been a decade since Holly Willoughby joined Phillip Schofield to host This Morning, following the departure of much loved Fern Britton.
Fern Britton, first hosted This Morning as one of the holiday replacements for then regulars Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan in the 1980s.
This Morning, broadcasting on ITV for over thirty years, will always be ‘Richard and Judy’s show’ with former Granada Reports hosts Madeley and Finnigan the founding presenters who resided on the sofa for thirteen years from 1988 until 2001.
However there have been some memorable co-hosts in the years after including Ruth Langsford and Eammon Holmes; but for the past ten years Monday to Thursday has been served by former Children’s BBC continuity announcer Phillip Schofield and CBBC presenter Holly Willoughby.
Phillip of course joined the show as a guest host in the 1990s presenting alongside the late Caron Keating, however, since 2002 he has been the male lead on the show, notably alongside Fern Britton in the 2000s.
Can you believe it’s been 10 years?
Phillip: They always say ‘time flies if you’re having fun’ and we have such a ball, such fun together and so the time has whizzed by.
Holly: It doesn’t feel like 10 years. It’s gone super-duper fast, but it’s been so amazing. The best mark I’ve got of that time is that it’s the same age as Harry. So, as I’ve watched him grow, I know how long I’ve been on ‘This Morning’, so that’s always a visual reminder of how long I’ve been there.
What do you remember of your first day together?
P: I was nervous for her because I wanted her to have a good time and enjoy the experience. I wanted to make sure she was okay and felt comfortable and happy but the minute she started it was quite obvious that we were going to have a ball.
H: Just being so, so nervous and holding on to Phil for dear life – I was just scared, scared, scared. I’d watched This Morning as a fan for many years before doing it, I didn’t want to be the one to mess it up, I didn’t want to let everyone down – but luckily 10 years later I’m still there.
Richard and Judy launched This Morning from Liverpool in 1988.
What made you both want to join the show?
P: Right back from those first days of Richard & Judy, it’s on all of our radars. Everybody knows the show, whether you’re a regular viewer or dip in and out or you just know about it because you read about it online. So I wanted to get involved as I loved Saturday morning TV and the live aspect, I love working live. I love the fact that it’s like Saturday morning TV for adults.
H: Well, I had worked with Phil for a few years on Dancing On Ice, so we already had a fantastic friendship and a great working relationship. There is no other job in telly like it, there are so many reasons why it’s such a brilliant show. It’s the perfect show!
What was your first This Morning on-screen faux pas together?
P: There have been so many, because it’s such a relaxed studio and that’s when you can forget you’re on the telly, which makes you both laugh. What’s lovely is that we’ve got the same sense of humour, it works at the same speed, we find the same things funny and so we’re always very happy to laugh at each other’s mistakes!
H: I remember a very early one because we were doing Dancing On Ice at the same time and we came back from the ad break and instead of saying, ‘Welcome back to This Morning’, I said, ‘Welcome back to Dancing on Ice.’
Fern and Phillip hosted the show before Holly joined in 2009.
They say don’t work with animals or babies – what are your most memorable animal and baby stories on the show over the past 10 years?
P: They can be incredibly well behaved until about three seconds before the camera cuts to them. We’ve had babies crying all the way through so you can’t actually hear what anyone is saying, we’ve had babies dragging people’s microphones off them.
As far as animals are concerned the stories are legendary. Practically every animal that walks into the studio poos on the floor! It happens all the time. Holly is quite nervous about bigger animals. I can’t remember what the bird was, but it was quite a large bird that started flapping but that made Holly quite nervous. She has at times grabbed me and pushed me in between her and the animal, like a human shield.
H: Animal wise, there has been so many, I mean when the snake curled itself around my leg, that was terrifying. Baby wise, I’m like ‘I’ll take the baby’, then Phil takes over the interview whilst I’m babysitting.
You’re famous for hysterically laughing on-air during the show. Can you remember the first time this happened on the show together?
P: There was a moment with Fern, which has become quite a legendary, the dunking beef moment and Holly very, very early on made a similar comment about beef and it made us both laugh and I can remember saying ‘Not again!’
Holly’s so funny and incredibly endearing. They always say, ‘if you laugh a lot then you live longer.’ And so certainly from our experience on This Morning we should probably easily get into our nineties.
H: 10 years ago Gino [D’Acampo] was just starting on This Morning with us, and I didn’t really know him that well, so the first time you hear him say ‘one sheet of pasta’ and it sounds like something else, it was hard to keep a straight face!
Eammon and Ruth host the Friday and Summer editions of This Morning.
What’s been your all-time favourite moment over the past 10 years?
P: Oh wow, that really is very difficult. I think probably the aftermath of the night after the NTAs. There’s nothing that we’ve done since and nothing in my entire career prior to that where either of us have been in that state live on TV. It was the fact that Holly was still wearing the same dress, it was the fact that she got piccalilli stains all down it. Holly looks constantly beautiful, so when she’s looking dishevelled, in a beautiful frock and covered in piccalilli then that was probably one of my most favourite moments.
H: My favourite moments are probably when we get somebody on who’s really nervous and it’s normally a real life story, and they come on and then they say ‘I’m telling you my story because I really trust you’ – I think that is the biggest compliment anyone can give. I think that’s what This Morning is all about really isn’t it? You want people to feel like we are your friends on screen, and that you’re not on your own and that we are there with you.
Who has been your most memorable guest?
P: I love interviewing Myriam Margoles because she just says what’s on her mind. We were about to interview her and both Holly and I at the time were eating ice creams and she shouted across the studio ‘I want one!’ We hadn’t even introduced her yet, no one even knew she was in the studio. And so the camera quickly found Miriam who was fake outraged that she didn’t have an ice cream and so one of the team rushed out and got her an ice cream and she did the entire interview eating an ice cream. It’s like having a mate on the sofa.
H: One of our all time favourite guests, Samuel L Jackson. I also love Bill Nighy. He’s been on quite a few times. He has the best stories, he’s funny, he’s so cool and laid back, he’s like my favourite favourite.
Lorraine Kelly has even had a stint hosting This Morning.
If you could interview anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?
P: The final tick on my check list would be finally to get Dame Judi Dench on the sofa. I am Dame Judi Dench’s biggest fan. When I was doing the broom cupboard, she sent me a signed picture, because she apparently watched the broom cupboard quite a bit. I’ve still got here, obviously. And she said ‘From your most ardent admirer.’ We see each other at do’s, she’s always so so lovely but she doesn’t like doing live TV interviews, which I completely understand. But it means that she just won’t come on and that would be the final tick, I think, for people that I want to get on the sofa.
H: I would say Marilyn Monroe because along with the rest of the world, my fascination with her.
What’s the thing you are most proud of working on This Morning?
P: Project 84 was really quite groundbreaking. It was an arresting view to have 84 guys, the people who take their own lives in that month and have all those statues. That was something we were very proud of.
H: This Morning makes people laugh, which I think everyone needs, but also it does really amazing things like the ‘Be Kind’ campaign, which has had huge success and had a really big impact in schools.
Anne Diamond and Nick Owen, previously of ATV and TV-am guest-hosted This Morning before launching a Beeb rival Good Morning in the early 1990s.
You’re self-proclaimed besties. What do you look for in a best friend?
P: For me in Holly it’s someone I trust entirely and completely and someone who trusts me, not just on the telly but you know with our lives. I don’t think there’s anything that we don’t know about each other, we know each other’s strengths and each other’s weaknesses. If one is feeling down, the other one will be there to prop them up and make sure they’re okay. She’s like the sister I never had. I adore my brother, but I never had a sister and Holly is like my younger sister and that’s a lovely position to be in.
H: Somebody you can talk to that actually listens, somebody that gives great advice, somebody who’s loyal, somebody who makes you laugh and that you can return all of this by being there for them in return.
What’s your favourite holiday memory together?
P: Oh my goodness me, well last summer, we were at a restaurant and Holly said ‘This is quite close to our house so we will walk back and there’s a beautiful sort of natural park land, with fields and paths.’ And she got us lost. It was pitch black and we were using our phones as torches. We were a little worse for wear and we were essentially lost in the Portugese woodlands for quite some time, all of us.
It was absolutely hilarious and so this year, we did the same walk but in the daytime, and we went back to Holly’s after lunch and she said ‘Don’t worry, I know the way now, I’m not going to get us lost.’ The only thing that got lost then was Dan’s sunglasses, he looked over a river and his sunglasses fell in! I think it’s the fact that it’s very relaxed. We hardly ever talk about telly, we talk about families or what are we going to do on the day or what are we going to eat or drink or playing with the kids in the pool. They are very relaxed lovely lovely summers.
H: Holiday’s are really nice because you’re both really relaxed and it’s different because all of our families are together, everyone really likes spending time with him [Phil] as well because they know Mummy goes to work with him so it’s nice for them. You know they’ve grown up seeing him loads. I think there isn’t one stand out memory it’s just nice, real time together.
Phillip rates Ant and Dec as iconic presenters.
Who are your presenting icons?
P: I think Davina [McCall] is a bit of a hero. Bradley Walsh I think is one of the most naturally funny people and he’s got the best general knowledge and I think it’s because of The Chase. You could ask him anything and he’s answered before you’ve finished the question. You tend to gravitate towards your friendship group, whether it’s Ant & Dec, they are very, very funny, I love what they do.
H: Cilla Black I think has to be one of mine, I remember I grew up watching her on Blind Date and obviously Surprise Surprise. She was the first female I knew that was holding entertainment shows together on her own. She was just brilliant at it, she was really funny and she was really quick, and I just liked that she was professionally really good at what she did but also loved a glass of champagne. She had that real balance between work and real life and when I met her, I was lucky enough to meet her quite a few times, and she said ‘she couldn’t think of anyone better to fill her shoes on Surprise Surprise’ so that was really lovely to have her seal of approval was amazing.
Holly enjoyed Cilla Black’s presenting on ITV, she went on to take over hosting duties on Cilla’s Surprise Surprise.
What do you wish for for your next 10 years on This Morning?
P: I’d be quite happy, so long as I’m in good health and Holly is too. It’s an evolving show, you never know what direction it’s going to take, you know none of us knows what direction life is going to take.
H: I hope it continues to be in people’s front room for the next ten years. I hope it continues to grow, I feel that’s a real strength of the show. It’s always adapting and changing, so I think as long as it continues to do that and know when it’s serious and know when its not taking itself too seriously, there’s no reason why it can’t be around for another ten years, or another twenty.”
The date of Holly and Phillip’s 10 year anniversary is September 14th, however the programme is marking the anniversary on Thursday 5th September 2019. This Morning, airs weekdays from 10.30am on ITV, STV and UTV.
Holly and Phillip have hosted This Morning together for a decade.
This Morning marked thirty years on-air in October 2018.
This Morning hosts past and present mark 25 years of This Morning.