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Phillip Schofield 'declined' to take part in review following ITV exit

Phillip Schofield credit:Bang Showbiz
Phillip Schofield credit:Bang Showbiz

Phillip Schofield "reluctantly declined" to take part in an external review following his ITV departure.

The former 'This Morning' presenter quit the show - which he fronted for just over two decades - after he admitted to an "unwise but not illegal" affair with a younger male colleague, who also refused to participate in the review.

A report by Jane Mulcahy KC was published on Thursday (07.12.23) and revealed staff at ITV still feared that speaking out about certain issues could "have a detrimental impact on their careers".

In a letter in August, Schofield's lawyer said the star "reluctantly declined" to participate because of the "risk to his health".

They added that his "mental health has since deteriorated".

Mulcahy explained that a letter from the young man's own lawyers said he "wanted to move on with his life and was not prepared to assist with this review".

As the report was not a statutory inquiry, it means the barrister had "no power to compel people to cooperate", meaning anyone who did take part did so voluntarily.

Of the 48 people interviewed for the review, only one reported that they knew about the affair.

The barrister added that they did not report this at the time, "nor did others report suspicions from much earlier in 2017".

However, Mulcahy has "no doubt" that senior management at ITV are "absolutely wedded to the importance of an open culture".

She insisted the same culture has not filtered down to junior staff, and she noted those employees need "the confidence to raise concerns to management in line with ITV's 'Speaking Up' policy".

She has recommended that the broadcaster needs clear guidelines on good behaviour "even by those who are household names", while the review found that ITV's management "made considerable efforts to determine the truth" about the affair.

However, it noted that in the "face of the denials of the individuals involved, ITV was unable to uncover the relevant evidence".

ITV's chairman Andy Cosslett said: "We are completely committed to creating an environment where everyone is treated with respect and feels able to give of their best.

"Our promise to those we work with is that where a complaint is made, or serious concerns raised, we will always investigate and if we find that something inappropriate has happened, we will take action.

"We will continue to develop our efforts to give junior colleagues the confidence to speak up if they have something to raise."