2018 is proving to be a big year for Holly Willoughby. This Morning celebrated its 30th anniversary in October, the presenter has just made her debut in the jungle to co-host I’m A Celebrity alongside Declan Donnelly, and she is also starring in a snazzy new Christmas ad for M&S as part of her fashion campaign with the high street retailer.
We talk exclusively to her and co-host Phillip Schofield about tricky guests, pulling pranks – and their unbreakable bond…
On their This Morning career
The legendary This Morning presenting duo that is Holly and Phil made their debut on the hit daytime show together as part of a revamped format in 2009.
Reflecting on their first day on the show together, it seems that Phil wasn’t quite the steady shoulder to lean on that Holly was hoping for. Asked if he looked after Holly on her first day, Holly was quick to reply, “No, he bloody didn’t! I was sort of holding onto him for dear life and just before we went live he went, “I’m off”, and he ran away!”
To which Phil responded, “I knew she’d be fine.”
Despite her fears about being thrown in at the TV deep end it seems that Holly navigated her new role successfully. She continued, “You have to learn pretty quickly, but I did have the master teaching me, so I knew I was in safe hands.”
And when it comes to the reason the show has attracted a loyal legion of followers since day one, Holly revealed, “Obviously the original presenters Richard and Judy were married, but it was a family in a broader sense: they had Dr Chris, the family GP, they had [agony aunt] Denise [Robertson]. It was a real family affair, not a manufactured show.”
For Phil it was the fact that whoever was fronting the show it, “always remained current and still had a massive heart.”
Over the years the pair have interviewed countless celebrities on the This Morning sofa, but there are still a few dream guests they would love to quiz.
For Phil this would be Dame Judi Dench who once sent him a token of her affection.
Explaining more he revealed, “She sent me a picture once when I was in the [CBBC] Broom Cupboard and it says ‘To Phillip from your most ardent admirer’, which was lovely.”
For Holly it’s all about the royals. She said, “I think I’d have to choose Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle because they’re normal people who married princes. I mean, that’s the fairy tale. I want to ask them how they did it!”
On their relationship
Holly and Phil’s on-screen chemistry can’t be denied, but fans may often have wondered if everything is as rosy between them when the cameras are turned off.
When asked if they’ve ever had an argument, the answer was pretty much a resounding no.
Explaining more Phil revealed how the duo manage to maintain harmony both on and off set saying, “If we disagree on something, which is rare, we very quickly see the other person’s point of view. And we don’t have egos between the pair of us – there’s none of that nonsense.”
But despite getting on famously there are still a few things they would like to change about each other.
For Phil it’s Holly’s organisational skills. He said, “I’d make her neater. I swear to God. she’ll leave her phone, her purse, everything in the studio, we get half way down the corridor and she realises.”
Not one to be outdone Holly said of Phil, “I’d like him to be a bit more gullible occasionally, so I can at least get my own back have the odd moment of glory where I make you have a slight squeal or jump, or make you cry with fear.”
Happily there are a few things that they like about each other.
Holly loves the fact that Phil is, “always looking out for me”, while Phil enjoys the fact that they both, “share the same sense of humour”.
On the bond they share with each other’s families
Family is another area where Holly and Phil share a special bond. Holly is married to TV producer Dan Baldwin and they have three children – Harry, 9, Belle, 7 and Chester, 4.
Phil is married to Stephanie Lowe and they have two children – Molly, 25, and Ruby, 22.
On spending time with each other’s families Holly said, “My kids love Phil. It’s really nice. We like going on holiday to the same place, so we meet up when we’re there.”
Phil added, “Holly has the most delightful children. She’s an amazing mum, and Dan is an amazing dad, and the children all love getting together.”
Interview by Emma Cox – and originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Woman & Home.