I’m a PR expert – inside This Morning’s year of chaos… and what Holly Willoughby and Phil must do to bounce back | The Sun

HAS there ever been a more chaotic year for This Morning and its presenters in the three decades it's been on air?

The ITV show has been plagued by controversy throughout 2022, with its presenters at times facing a barrage of criticism.

The wholesome late-morning show has been rocked by claims of bitter backstage feuds, "tone-deaf" segments and, of course, the infamous 'queue-gate' which saw some viewers vow to boycott it.

Recently it was reported Holly Willoughby is considering a big move to a rival channel following the incident which saw swathes of fans turn against her and co-host Phillip Schofield.

But PR expert Carla Speight reckons all the mayhem could actually be a blessing in disguise for the 34-year-old show.

She tells The Sun: "The team at This Morning have had a tough 2022. However, I think it’s probably a good thing. It’s brought back a lot of viewers and even introduced some new ones to the show.


Inside This Morning’s biggest controversies amid calls for show shake-up

Inside This Morning’s feuds from Phil’s fall-out with Fern to Eamonn backlash

"This Morning is an iconic show that’s been running for decades. It’s faced so many issues over the years and not only survived, but thrived."

Here we look back at This Morning's year of chaos as Carla shares her thoughts for what the future could hold – and why ditching 'tone deaf' segments is the one thing the team must change.

Queue-jumping saga

The most publicised row happened in September, while the late Queen was lying in state at the Palace of Westminster.

Main presenters Holly and Phil were accused of jumping the hours-long queue to see the Queen's coffin, while thousands of mourners patiently waited in the rain.

Most read in TV

emergency trip

Comedian Rhod Gilbert rushed to hospital after stage four cancer diagnosis


EastEnders airs shock major exit – but fans spot a huge problem


Alison Hammond in line for career boost as she's set to get own show


Coronation Street star reveals she's expecting her first baby

Following a huge backlash, producers were forced to issue a statement denying the duo received VIP treatment, while the two attempted to diffuse the drama by saying they were there in a professional capacity.

Viewers threatened to boycott the show, while a petition demanding the firing of the presenters received over 75,000 signatures.

Meanwhile guest presenter Alice Beer also came under fire for conducting "disrespectful" interviews with members of the public queuing, and handing out doughnuts.

Carla believes it would have been impossible to film the show while Holly and Phil were in the queue, adding that they would have been criticised had they done so.

She says: "They didn’t really queue jump, they were reporting on the historic moment as many other journalists did, and it just wasn’t possible to do it from the queue itself.

"It would have been distasteful to play Spin the Wheel in the queue, they couldn’t possibly have brought their light-hearted entertainment from there either.

"And the show would have been rubbish if they stood there in the queue trying to present a more respectful, toned-down version of the show."

Wooed by rival

According to an insider, Holly was unhappy with the way ITV handled the fallout of the queue-jumping debacle.

It's been claimed the BBC is now trying to woo Holly away from its rival for more projects – after she co-presented Freeze the Fear on the channel.

Recently Holly and her husband Dan Baldwin were personally invited to an awards ceremony by the BBC's content boss Charlotte Moore.

The source said: "The BBC has made it clear to Holly how valuable they think she is and would love to get her working on more of their shows."

Carla believes there is very little chance of this happening as Holly knows how "fortunate" she is to be working on This Morning.

She says: "I can’t see Holly leaving This Morning for the BBC any time soon. She’s stuck with them through their toughest year and she’s done that with many tempting offers sent her way as I’m sure she receives all the time.

"She’s been in the industry long enough to know that some controversy can be good for ratings and it will settle down with stoic professionalism being a constant presence.

"She shows up smiling, connects with the audience and I really think she loves being part of the This Morning team."

Backstage feuds

Despite their incredible on-screen chemistry, some reports have indicated Friday hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary have an ongoing behind-the-scenes rivalry.

The pair replaced husband-and-wife duo Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford and immediately became a hit with viewers.

But a source told the Mail they struggled to hit it off as they are from "very different backgrounds" and "do things so differently".

These differences were said to be the catalyst for "on-air bickering" and "tensions off-air".

But ITV quickly shut down the speculation, claiming the presenters are close and even hang out together away from the show.

Carla says: "Alison is as much an established presenter as Dermot now.

"I think the pair know how to tackle a so-called feud professionally, but in all honesty, you just have to watch them to see they love working together, as Alison said in an interview."

She also believes the rumours may have won the show more viewers as people "love a bit of real-life drama".

NTA snub

For years Phil and Holly were mainstays in the nomination list at the National Television Awards, and have won multiple gongs.

But this year the pair's names were nowhere to be found in the Best Presenter category – instead Alison received a nod, but was beaten by Ant and Dec.

However, the show did win the Best Daytime Programme category – for the 12th consecutive year.

For Carla, it was a good idea for the NTAs to "mix up" the nominations.

She explains: "Simon Cowell wasn’t nominated, Were they snubbed? No. I think Alison’s huge rise in fame this year contributed to her nomination.

"She’s had a fantastic year, she’s been on RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Masked Singer, released her own fashion line, become a much loved regular on This Morning, and so much more."

Tone deaf bragging

The stars of the show including Phil, Holly, Rochelle Humes, and Dermot gathered at James Blunt's pub in London for their Christmas party on December 6.

Pictures posted by Phil and Holly showed several champagne bottles on a table as the crew cheerily posed for a selfie.

The next morning, Phil and Holly started the show by talking about how incredible the party was.

But they were met with yet more backlash as fans criticised them for being tone-deaf.

One Twitter user wrote: "So when most of us can't afford to heat our homes or put the oven on. These **** think it will be great to show how all amazing they are. F**k off and read the room."

But Carla believes much of the fuss was about nothing.

"Yes we have a cost of living crisis at the moment and that’s impacting millions, but does that mean everyone's work Christmas parties should be banned?" she asks.

"If the critics are to be listened to, we should cancel everything, though I’m sure they won’t be happy with that either.

"Phil and Holly respectfully showed up sober, that was the right thing to do for them, though obviously it doesn’t make a difference to the angry viewers."

'Out of touch' segments

In June viewers branded the show "out of touch" when chef Wolfgang Puck used caviar and smoked salmon as a pizza topping.

It irked viewers with many pointing out the expensive food items were a poor choice given the current climate.

Months later in September, fans were angered by a competition segment filmed in a food bank, where entrants were asked to use a £2-a-minute phone line to call in.

Carla agrees viewers were right to be enraged by the segments.

She explains: "The expensive pizza was out of touch. Showing nutritious and affordable recipes would probably have been a better choice given that many watching the show are struggling with the rise in costs.

"If Jamie Oliver can learn how to create tasty, nutritious and affordable meals in a microwave, which no one thought would happen, then the chefs on This Morning would be better tailoring their recipes to the times we are facing now."

David Jason outrage

When legendary Only Fools and Horses star Sir David Jason appeared on the show in October, fans were quick to slam Phil and Holly's behaviour.

Some complained the pair talked over the actor, while others moaned about a "stupid" game of Spin the Wheel which cut his interview short – he even pretended to fall asleep during the segment.

But Carla believes the pair may have been in awe of "national treasure" Sir David.

She adds: "He was on a topical daytime TV show which has a lot to pack in, not a show like Life Stories or a stand-alone documentary."

New Year changes

Although Carla acknowledges it has been a tough year for This Morning, she believes it will give them room to make much-needed changes.

She says: "They could do with connecting with audiences again. Being more mindful of what they put on and what the current economic state means for a lot of their viewers.

"We’ve just come out of one crisis and now we’re well into another. The public has been battered, both mentally, physically and now financially.

"We rely on shows like This Morning to get us through the tough times. We want it to bring light entertainment, a bit of hope and fun to our days."

Source: Read Full Article