Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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Holly Willoughby KEEPS her M&S job amid queue jump with Phillip Schofield

Holly Willoughby’s deal with M&S is secure amid her ongoing row with her This Moring co-host Phillip Schofield.

The retailer confirmed they had renewed the 41-year-old presenter’s contract with them after she and Phil “skipped the line” to see the Queen in state last week – claims both strongly denied.

Holly and Phil have been the subject of online abuse following the claims, and an online petition to sack the duo from their lucrative presenting roles has garnered more than 66,000 signatures in six days.

But while her job as a presenter at ITV could be in jeopardy, her deal with M&S is reportedly still firmly in place, with Holly originally signing on as a brand ambassador in September 2018.

An M&S spokesman told The Sun: “I can confirm that we have renewed our current contract with Holly and will continue to work with her.”

It follows claims that Marks & Spencer had some discussions about Willoughby’s deal with them as they were concerned about the backlash.

Amid the episodes, the couple received support from Friday’s show hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary, with MailOnline understanding they were “in regular contact” with the couple throughout the week.

Holly and Phil have not commented on the matter since issuing a statement on Tuesday’s show, insisting they “did not skip the line.”

Holly has relied on her friends for support over the past few days to get her through. And despite the fact that calls for Holly and Phil’s sacking could earn Alison and Dermot the role as full-time hosts, sources say they have remained loyal.

Phil and Holly are reportedly being paid up to £600,000 to present the Monday to Thursday daytime show, with Alison and Dermot filling in for Friday’s show.

Although neither ITV, Holly nor Phil have said they will change the presenter line-up, it hasn’t stopped speculation as to who would take the top spot if the duo left This Morning.

According to William Hill, Vernon Kay and Rochelle Humes are 2/1 favorites to replace the pair as main presenters. Dermot is 4/1, same price as Josie Gibson, with Alison, Craig Doyle, Ruth Langsford and Mollie King available at 5/1.

The speculation hasn’t caused any tension between the stars, however, as a source told MailOnline: “Alison, Dermot, Phil and Holly are incredibly close and bonded.

“When things blew up over the weekend, they immediately came forward to offer their support. Alison in particular spoke to Holly many times on the phone and was a real rock.

“Dermot and Alison, along with the other senior members of the ITV team, all knew they were going to visit Westminster and there is a sense of shock and confusion at how things blew up.”

Insiders from This Morning believe they are now “over the worst of the crisis” but ITV bosses are still taking steps to ensure Phil and Holly get the support they need.

“ITV has a duty of care to look after all of its presenters and some of the abuse Phil and Holly have experienced on social media is absolutely appalling,” the source added.

“People have taken things way too far in some things they say and management have been in regular contact with Phil and Holly to check that they are okay. That will continue until next week when they return to the program.

“Those working on the show are hoping that by then things will be over and they will be able to end this nightmare. But only time will tell.’

The message comes after it emerged that Holly and Phillip wanted to publicly apologize for it “Queue gate”, but they were talked out of it after legal advice.

A statement was made by ITV on Saturday and later broadcast on This Morning on Tuesday, voiced by Holly, but both stopped using the word ‘sorry’ – a move that has enraged many viewers.

A source told MailOnline: “Every word of the statement was doused. In the end it backfires spectacularly.

“Initially, Holly and Phillip were willing to apologize if they upset anyone as they were both keen to put an end to the affair. But they were strongly discouraged from apologizing.”

Such was the backlash against the couple that TV insiders are voicing “serious concerns” about the presenters’ well-being after they appeared weepy and mute on This Morning this week.

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