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Wales Online
Wales Online
Zara Woodcock & Will Maule

Doubts over Phillip Schofield's This Morning role as bosses reportedly consider changes

The future of Phillip Schofield's role on This Morning is being questioned following his three-week absence from the show.

The 61-year-old has been hosting ITV's flagship breakfast show since 2002, but has been largely absent since his brother Timothy was found guilty of sexually abusing a teenage boy over three years, the Mirror reports.

After responding to the shocking news by saying he "no longer has a brother", Phillip returned to the show. However, questions remain over his long-term future and that of co-presenter Holly Willoughby after she was forced to take time off during a bout of illness.

Phillip addressed his absence and the support he's received since the news broke of his brother's trial. He told viewers: "I'd just like to say, it is really lovely to be back. I have missed the show and everyone here and also to you. I wanted to say thank you for your kind messages and support which were really appreciated. Thank you very much indeed. On with the show... Shall we?"

Insiders say that ITV is aware many viewers are becoming "tired" of having Phillip present the show and have become increasingly keen to see Alison Hammond. One source claimed to Mail On Sunday: "It's a case of both things colliding. Fans say they are over Phil and they love Alison."

The Mail reports that "a battle is raging over the show’s future – specifically whether to have a reshuffle of presenting staff". The Mail reports that "a battle is raging over the show’s future – specifically whether to have a reshuffle of presenting staff". It says ITV insiders claim some think it’s time for Phillip "to step back" after "noticing how some of its million-plus viewers appear to have grown tired of him".

Sources recently said that while Phil’s team at talent agency YMU were keen to get him back quickly, ITV bosses suggested more time off. One source said: "YMU’s view was the sooner Phillip was back the better But ITV offered him the chance to have more time off. They felt a longer break would benefit him as he has been in bits at points over the past few weeks.

"They were also keen to see how audiences responded to other presenters. ITV have a lot of talent and this was a good opportunity to test people out. It is possible in future there may be a presenting shakeup, and experiments like this are really helpful."

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On April 3, a jury found Timothy Schofield guilty on all counts with a majority of 10-2 after more than five-and-a-half hours of deliberation. The civilian police worker from Bath told the jury while giving evidence he watched pornography with the boy, whom he insisted was over the age of 16 at the time, and they masturbated while sitting apart – but denied performing sex acts on the teenager.

In a statement released by his lawyer after the guilty verdict, Phillip Schofield said: “My overwhelming concern is and has always been for the wellbeing of the victim and his family. I hope that their privacy will now be respected. If any crime had ever been confessed to me by my brother, I would have acted immediately to protect the victim and their family. These are despicable crimes and I welcome the guilty verdicts. As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a brother.”

Schofield has been a regular presenter on This Morning since 2002 alongside hosts including Fern Britton and Amanda Holden.

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