This Morning drama is ‘terrible misunderstanding’ says Gyles Brandreth

Queen Elizabeth II: Gyles Brandreth pays tribute to monarch

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Gyles Brandreth, 74, jumped to the defence of This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield as the fallout continues after they were accused of skipping the hours-long queue to see the Queen lying-in-state.

Amid backlash, Holly and Phil assured viewers that they “would never skip the queue”. However, the furore continues to rage on and a petition to have them axed from This Morning has now reached more than 55,000 signatures.

Gyles, who is a regular fixture on the ITV daytime show, argued that there has been a “terrible misunderstanding” and shared his hopes that people will “move on”.

In an exclusive interview with, Gyles said: “It is a terrible misunderstanding and I imagine people will realise that and will move on.  

“[Holly and Phillip] are good people and good friends of mine.  

“I am really sorry about the misunderstanding and it is sad that there is a misunderstanding because the atmosphere around Westminster, around Westminster Hall and Buckingham Palace, has been so universally good amongst all ages. It is a shame that anything should spoil it.  

“But it genuinely was a misunderstanding, I completely accept that.”

On Tuesday’s instalment of This Morning, Holly and Phil explained in a pre-recorded package that their visit to Westminster was “strictly for purposes of filming”.

Holly told viewers: “Like hundreds of broadcasters we had special access, but this was strictly for the purpose of filming.

“The rules were we would be quickly escorted round the edges to the back of the room. In contrast, those in the queue went onto the carpet and got to pause for a second.

“None of the broadcasters took the place of anyone in the queue and there was no filing past the crowds.

“We realise it may have looked like something else and therefore totally understand the reaction, but please know we would never skip the queue.”

Gyles appeared on Friday’s This Morning alongside hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary to announce a new competition.

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He explained to me: “We are doing a fun competition with This Morning which runs until November 11 for people to write poems. I have a project called Poetry Together and we are running a competition to get old people – whether that be in your 70s, 80s, or 90s – or young people at school, to write a poem.  

“It can be funny or sad and you will get to perform it on This Morning!”

It comes as Gyles is celebrating the release of his brand-new book, A History of Britain in Just a Minute.

Dubbed a “hilariously addictive romp through British history”, Gyles takes readers through 1,000 years of British history as though he was playing the popular BBC Radio 4 game, Just a Minute.

Describing his new venture, the former MP explained: “On the radio, what they do is they genuinely give you these subjects and you have got to improvise for 60 seconds without hesitation, deviation or repetition on that subject.

“So, the challenge was to do exactly that and it was much trickier than I thought because it is so easy to repeat things…but it was fun to do.

“It was fun thinking about all the things that make up our history from 1066 to Paddington Bear, so many different things to cover and fun doing it in that way.

“The idea is, if you want to, you can play the book at home like a game. Give somebody a subject, like Guy Fawkes, and see how they do against the clock. Then, you can read my version and see if I’ve done any better. Although, I don’t think I got everything right so don’t get the book to help you through your GCSEs!”

A History of Britain in Just A Minute by Gyles Brandreth out now RRP £16.99 (BBC Books).

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