Dermot O'Leary and Alison Hammond pay tribute to Phillip Schofield after This Morning exit

Phillip Schofield left This Morning after 20 years as host, while Holly Willoughby was also absent from Monday's episode

The first episode of This Morningwithout Phillip Schofield aired on Monday (22 May) as Dermot O'Leary and Alison Hammond stepped in after the broadcaster's sensational exit from the ITV show was confirmed on the weekend.

Holly Willoughby was also not present during the programme and will not be for the next couple of weeks. Both their absences follow rampant speculation that the two are feuding.

Before getting into the day's headlines, Dermot and Alison paid tribute to Phillip. Here is everything you need to know.

What did Dermot O'Leary and Alison Hammond say about Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby?

The pair's tribute to the presenter opened ITV's flagship daytime show, along with pictures of Phillip Schofield as they said: "We can't start today's show without paying tribute to the man who spent the last two decades sitting on the This Morning sofa, Phillip Schofield. As a show, everyone on and off screen at This Morning want to say a huge thank you to Phil who helped make the show a success over the last 20 years."

Alison Hammond then added: "Quite simply, we all know he is one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had. We and all the team wish him all the best for the future."

Dermot then went on to explain Holly Willoughby's absence from the show: "Holly is now taking her break from the show for half-term, so she'll be back in the studio in two weeks on Monday, 5 June."

This Morning paid tribute to host of 20 years Phillip Schofield who announced his exit from the show. (Pic: Getty)This Morning paid tribute to host of 20 years Phillip Schofield who announced his exit from the show. (Pic: Getty)
This Morning paid tribute to host of 20 years Phillip Schofield who announced his exit from the show. (Pic: Getty)

Why did Phillip Schofield leave This Morning?

The broadcasting stalwart confirmed that he stepped down from ITV's flagship breakfast programme on Saturday and that his final episode was on Thursday 18 May. He made the announcement in the following statement: "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."

Rumours about a breakdown in the relationship between Phill and Holly surfaced when a source told The Sun: "Holly adores This Morning and for the first time in 14 years she has made it clear that should Phil ever leave, she would want to stay. They are separate entities. To those around them on set, it has become clear recently that Holly and Phil are not as close as they once were. Behind the scenes, their relationship has cooled."

It had also been reported that the rumoured breakdown of their relationship was not helped by the duo's regular absences from the ITV daytime show. Willoughby also took a week off work to recover from shingles.

While Schofield recently took planned leave around the time of his brother, Timothy Schofield's sex abuse trial last month, who was convicted of 11 sexual offences involving a child between October 2016 and October 2019, including two counts of sexual activity with a child.