Phillip Schofield: Everything We Learned from ITV’s Bosses During Parliamentary Inquiry

On Wednesday morning, ITV boss Carolyn McCall appeared in front of a Parliamentary committee to be grilled over the network’s culture and duty of care in the wake of the Phillip Schofield scandal.

Schofield, a long-time anchor on ITV’s flagship daytime show “This Morning,” resigned last month in ignominy shortly before admitting to an affair with a young male runner on the show while he was married (Schofield has two adult daughters with his wife, Stephanie).

Some have questioned the intensity of the coverage, which has unsurprisingly taken a mental toll on both Schofield and his former lover, especially since the affair was, in the anchor’s own words, “unwise but not illegal.” But there are a number of elements – not least the runner’s age – that catalyzed the media tsunami that now threatens to take down not only Schofield but his former co-host Holly Willoughby as well as various network executives including McCall.

When McCall took her seat in front of the committee for Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) in Westminster at 10am on Wednesday morning she was joined by ITV’s head of media Kevin Lygo and the network’s general counsel Kyla Mullins. It couldn’t have escaped the trio’s notice that a livestream of the committee proceedings was going head to head with “This Morning,” which also airs at 10am each day on ITV.

Together the executives faced a barrage of questions from Members of Parliament (MPs, who make up the CMS committee) over what exactly they knew about the Schofield affair, how long for and what they did about it.

Here are the key things we learned:

  • Person X first joined ITV in 2016 when he was 20 years old.
  • He first completed work experience on “This Morning” before securing a position as a runner.
  • Person X applied to ITV after Schofield suggested who to contact. In his application form he wrote Schofield was a “family friend.”
  • ITV first heard rumours about an affair between Schofield and Person X in Dec. 2019.
  • Senior management and “This Morning” production staff repeatedly asked both Schofield and Person X whether they were in a relationship but both denied it. McCall said Person X was asked no fewer than 12 times.
  • Person X left ITV in 2021.
  • Person X was never made to sign an NDA nor (as was widely rumoured) was there a gagging order in place. He did leave with a settlement, however. Mullins said he left ITV with a “standard settlement agreement with a whistleblowing carve-out.”
  • ITV is paying for counselling for Schofield. McCall said she was “very concerned” about his state of mind.

There were some points that remain a mystery. In response to a question about a showreel Person X made on the “This Morning” set – which included appearances from both Schofield and Willoughby – McCall and Lygo claimed such an opportunity would be open to any runner, a claim that the committee appeared sceptical of.

There was also confusion over whether Schofield chose to resign or was pushed, as suggested by his original resignation statement, in which he wrote that ITV had decided “the situation can’t go on.” Lygo dodged the question, saying: “I think everyone felt it had come to a natural point.”

ITV have appointed a barrister to conduct a full investigation into the situation, which McCall repeatedly stressed the network would “learn from.” Whether any heads will roll as a result of that investigation remains to be seen.

For a full explanation of the Schofield saga, click here.

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