TV presenter Phillip Schofield has stepped back from ITV’s flagship morning show This Morning having presented his last episode on Thursday after more than 20 years.
He said he was stepping back from This Morning because the programme “has become the story” and “I want to do what I can to protect the show I love”.
The 61-year-old will not return to co-host the morning talk show with Holly Willoughby, with Thursday’s show being his last.
In a statement Schofield described the last few days as “very difficult”.
He said:“I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.
“Throughout my career in TV – including the very difficult last few days – I have always done my best to be honourable and kind. I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.
“So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me – especially This Morning’s amazing viewers – and I’ll see you all for the Soap Awards next month.”
Schofield will continue to present peak time shows for ITV including next month’s The British Soap Awards and a new prime time series, the broadcaster said.
Holly Willoughby will remain on This Morning and will co-present with members of the This Morning family.
His co-presenter Willoughby said: “It’s been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. The sofa won’t feel the same without him.”
Kevin Lygo, ITV’s managing director, media and entertainment, said: “Phillip is hands down one of the best broadcasters of his generation and we thank him for his two decades worth of absolutely terrific television on the This Morning sofa.
“This Morning is made by one of the best and most diligent teams in television, who produce over 12 hours of live television each week.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Phillip starting with The British Soap Awards in June and a brand new peak time series to come.”
More to follow.