Phillip Schofield rose from presenting with a puppet to ‘king of daytime TV’
26.05.2023 - 20:09
Phillip Schofield graduated from presenting on CBBC’s Broom Cupboard to enjoy one of the most enduring careers in television. The 61-year-old, who made his name alongside sidekick Gordon The Gopher on the BBC children’s television show, came to be seen as the king of daytime TV. On Friday, he announced he had quit ITV after admitting to an affair with a “much younger” male colleague at This Morning.
He had fronted the popular daytime show for more than 20 years, enjoying a longer small-screen shelf-life than many other presenters, thanks in part to his chemistry with Holly Willoughby. As well as co-hosting This Morning, the pair also fronted Dancing On Ice. Schofield always knew he wanted to be on TV, spending many years writing letters to the BBC.
“I never had a thought about pursuing another career,” he is quoted as saying. At 17, he got a job as a bookings clerk at the BBC but later moved with his family to New Zealand, where he landed TV and radio work. When he returned to Britain, he presented links with puppet Gordon The Gopher in 1985, on the first afternoon of what was then called Children’s BBC.
“If you can introduce Newsround with a fluffy gopher squeaking next to you, you can handle anything,” he later said. His words were proved right – in February viewers of This Morning watched as an alpaca started spitting in Schofield’s face. The Oldham-born star moved on to Saturday morning show Going Live in 1987.
In 1996, he signed an exclusive contract to present a series of shows including Talking Telephone Numbers, Schofield’s Quest and Schofield’s TV Gold. He also notched up success on stage, as the lead in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. In 2002, Schofield was given the plum job on This Morning