Judy Finnigan has stated that she believes Phillip Schofield should not have quit This Morning.
Schofield, 61, departed ITV and its flagship breakfast show earlier this year after confessing to lying about a ‘unwise but not criminal’ romance with a considerably younger colleague.
A few months later, his long-time co-host Holly Willoughby also left the programme, stating it was a ‘sad farewell’ but that she wanted to prioritise her family.
Judy, who co-hosted the programme with husband Richard Madeley from 1988 to 2001, has now chimed in on one of her successors’ departures.
‘I couldn’t understand why Phillip had to go,’ she has said.
Judy stated that after he resigned, she wrote him some emails with offers of support.
In them, she told him to ‘keep his chin up and wished him luck’.
Reflecting on claims of a ‘toxic work culture’ at the show, Judy also said she was taken aback by what was being said about her former workplace.
‘I’ll be absolutely straight. I did not recognise the world that people were saying This Morning had become when all that happened and Phillip left,’ she added when speaking to The Independent.
‘It simply wasn’t like that when we were there.’
However, she said much had changed in the two decades since she left and she’d observed the tone of daytime TV had switched.
‘I don’t know how many people watch This Morning now, but the image it presents is much more showbizzy than when we did it, and I suppose much more frivolous,’ she said.
‘But then, presumably programmes get feedback and that’s what their audience wants.
‘I’m not sure how many people even watch the news anymore.’
While Judy, 75, admits that some anticipated the programme to be discontinued once she and Richard, 67, left because they were’so associated with it,’ she believes it would survive despite losing both of its primary hosts this year.
‘If they get the right presenters, the right atmosphere, which is crucial, if it’s relaxed and warm and there is still an audience out there for it, it will go on for as long as it can,’ she said.
While there have been other names floated, Judy has stated that she will not be considered.
‘I’ve got absolutely no interest in it at all now. I mean, it was a fabulous career, I loved it. Well, I loved most of it. And it was fascinating. I met some amazing people and it was well-paid,’ she explained.
‘But I did it for 30-odd years and the kind of TV I was doing was full-on, it was live and it completely sucks up your life. As a mother, I just got fed up of it. I wanted my own life instead of one that needed me to be in a studio at seven o’clock in the morning.’
Judy reflected on her time on This Morning, saying she experienced sexism and perceptions that her husband was’more suited’ to give ‘a serious newsflash’ just because he was a guy.
While she claimed it made her chuckle at times, she also said it created numerous conflicts between them, but because they “had each other’s backs,” they quickly stopped and tried to make the show “100% equal.”
Richard also stated his support for Schofield a few months back.
Speaking to The Sun, he said the way he was treated was a ‘pretty savage outcome after 21 years (in the job)’.
‘It seemed quite brutal to be honest.’
He went on to explain he ‘took a paternal interest in it’ and kept in touch with Schofield, telling him to ‘take it easy and that it’ll be all right’.
This Morning airs weekdays from 10am on ITV1.