Dermot O’Leary And Alison Hammond Address This Morning Headlines

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Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond appeared to reference the claims of “toxicity” at This Morning as the show aired for the first time since former host Phillip Schofield admitted having an affair with a younger male colleague. 

Phillip resigned from ITV on Friday and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an “unwise, but not illegal” affair.

It came after his exit from the show earlier this month, following weeks of speculation over a feud with former co-host Holly Willoughby.

Over the weekend, former This Morning resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh claimed the show had “toxic” culture, saying he raised concerns about “bullying” two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was “managed out” for whistleblowing.

With stories about the show continuing to made headlines, Dermot took a moment to address the matter at the start of Monday’s show as they welcomed Gyles Brandreth and Sonia Sodha for a news review item. 

“We all know we happen to be in the news at the moment and of course we appreciate that but just from both of us, the whole team here, the crew, the guys downstairs, we love making this show for all of you,” Dermot told viewers. 

Dermot O'Leary and Alison Hammond on Monday's This Morning
Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond on Monday’s This Morning

Alison added: “We really do and that’s exactly what we are going to do, we are going to continue to do that.”

Gyles also said: “We are very happy to be here, can I say that as well?

“This is a happy place to work, I enjoy coming in here and have done since I began coming in.  We are happy people in a happy place.”

In a statement on Sunday, Dr Ranj said the “issues” at This Morning go “far beyond” the host.

He said: “I was on the show for 10 years and I genuinely loved and valued working there.

“However, over time, I grew increasingly worried about how things were behind-the-scenes and how people, including myself, were being treated.

“I didn’t know the truth about what was going on with Phillip, but I do know the issues with TM (This Morning) go far beyond him.

“It takes more than one person to create a culture.”

Dr Ranj said he raised his concerns with senior executives at ITV but later “found myself being used less and less”. 

“I even took my concerns directly to the top of ITV: the culture at This Morning had become toxic, no longer aligned with ITV values, and I felt like because I whistle-blew I was managed out,” he said. 

An ITV spokesperson said: “We are sorry to read Dr Ranj’s post today.

“At ITV we are fully committed to providing every opportunity for anyone who works with us to raise any concern or comments they may have.

“Following a complaint made by Dr Ranj, we appointed an external and independent advisor to carry out a review.

“This external review found no evidence of bullying or discrimination.”

ITV has also insisted that This Morning’s future is “not under review” following claims it could be axed in the wake of the controversy about Phillip’s affair. 

Phillip Schofield on This Morning earlier this monthPhillip Schofield on This Morning earlier this month

According to The Mail On Sunday, Schofield first met the younger ITV colleague whom he later had an affair with when he was aged 15.

Lawyers representing Schofield have confirmed they met when the boy was 15, but said the affair began after he started working at ITV, and the man’s lawyers have also said that it started after he joined the broadcaster.

ITV said it investigated “rumours of a relationship” between Schofield and the ITV employee about three years ago but both parties “categorically and repeatedly denied” it.

A spokesperson for the broadcaster said on Saturday that ITV 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.

On Monday, Phillip issued a fresh statement insisting there is “no toxicity” at This Morning and “it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice”.

“Now I no longer work on @thismorning I am free to say this,” he wrote on his Instagram Story.

“I hope you have noticed that it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice.

“This Morning is the best show to work on, with the best people.

“In all the years I worked there there was no toxicity.

“You can listen to those persistently loud voices if you like.

“But the thousands of guests over the years, thousands of staff and crew, hundreds of presenters and contributors all know, it is a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard working people.”