PHILLIP Schofield is at the centre of a civil war at ITV’s This Morning, with a series of presenters unhappy about the host’s attitude behind the scenes.
The Sun can reveal his professional relationship with close friend Holly Willoughby has become strained in recent months.
We can also disclose that the show’s Friday presenter Ruth Langsford has made an official complaint against Phillip, 57.
Eight star ITV presenters have spoken to us about what they describe as a “toxic” environment at This Morning.
It follows Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden’s allegation that Phillip got her banned from presenting on the show.
One household name said: “For so long people have been silenced because they are scared for their job. If they speak out publicly about the atmosphere they fear there could be repercussions.”
Phillip and Holly’s most recent bust-up was over his apparent jealousy when she won a Bafta in May for I’m A Celebrity where she had filled in for Ant McPartlin — but he didn’t want her to celebrate the win on This Morning.
An ITV source revealed: “Phillip was furious. He didn’t want Holly mentioning her triumph when they reunited on This Morning.
“It felt very petty and bitter for someone who is his close friend. But it felt like he was jealous.”
A former colleague of Phillip’s added: “He is very jealous of Holly, who has remained a nice person despite her success.”
It followed Phillip’s fury over a Sunday Times Magazine cover which declared: “How Holly Willoughby eclipsed Phillip Schofield and became Britain’s hottest TV star.”
Tensions also increased when Holly, 38, banned Phillip from posting videos of her drinking alcohol on his social media.
She was so nervous about how he might react she asked staff at the management company they share to break the news.
Another ITV source said: “Holly felt it was inappropriate that Phillip was posting videos of her on social media drinking shots of alcohol, but felt too nervous to speak to him directly about it.
“So someone at their agents YMU spoke to Phillip who accepted Holly’s decision. But it just shows things can become strained between them. But they find a way to work it out.”
A source close to Holly said: “It’s true there have been some issues. They’re like brothers and sisters – they have ups and downs but love each other.”
To make matters worse, Ruth Langsford, 59 — wife of fellow This Morning Friday presenter Eamonn Holmes — has made a formal complaint to ITV’s embattled new head of daytime TV Emma Gormley over Phillip’s conduct.
It followed an incident in April which saw Phillip rudely interrupt Ruth while she was presenting a preview of Loose Women during an episode of This Morning.
An ITV source revealed: “Ruth and Eamonn both appear to be treated harshly by Phillip. After Phillip literally cut her off in the middle of a sentence on air when she was hosting Loose Women she decided enough was enough. Yet again nothing changed.”
Rising star presenters are scared of Phillip moaning about them to ITV.
Fern Britton left ITV after Phillip encouraged the broadcaster to replace her with Holly after ten years in 2009.
Fern, 62, quit because Phillip was being paid three times as much as her. Her ex-agent Jon Roseman branded him an “arch manipulator”.
Amanda Holden is the only star who has attacked Phillip publicly. She confronted him in the This Morning studio after he blocked her filling in for Holly when she presented I’m A Celebrity last year.
Instead, he lobbied for Rochelle Humes, 30, to get the job because she was “easier to manage” on air.
Later Amanda, 48, said the three things she wouldn’t like in her house were: “Spiders, flies and Phillip Schofield”.
This Morning production staff fear upsetting Phillip who can be brutal in his analysis of their work and angry if something isn’t done the way he wants.
We have learned Phillip’s PA and personal runner — a male in his twenties — left This Morning to work on Loose Women, despite a previous close friendship with him. ITV say he was promoted.
A source on the show said: “It was odd because they were so close and then he up and went to Loose Women and they didn’t seem to be talking much anymore.”
But last night This Morning Editor Martin Frizell hit back at the claims from the eight presenters about Phillip, insisting he and Holly have a “genuine friendship”.
Frizell — the husband of ex-GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips — added: “We have the smartest viewers watching telly and believe me they would be the first to notice any issues — they haven’t because there are none.”
A spokeswoman for ITV said: “It’s deeply disappointing and unfair for Phillip to be the target of this sort of malicious gossip.
“Phillip is a much respected broadcaster and colleague and this is absolutely not a description of This Morning that we recognise.
“Holly and Phil are great friends both on and off screen and are popular among viewers and colleagues alike.”
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