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Phillip Schofield: From Gordon The Gopher to king of daytime TV

The star landed the plum job on This Morning after John Leslie was sacked.

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Phillip Schofield co-hosts ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby, while the pair also front Dancing On Ice (David Davies/PA)

Phillip Schofield co-hosts ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby, while the pair also front Dancing On Ice (David Davies/PA)

Phillip Schofield co-hosts ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby, while the pair also front Dancing On Ice (David Davies/PA)

Phillip Schofield has graduated from the Broom Cupboard to enjoy one of the most enduring careers in television.

He made his name alongside sidekick Gordon The Gopher but is now seen as the king of daytime TV.

The “silver fox”, 57, has enjoyed a longer small-screen shelf-life than many other presenters, thanks in part to his chemistry with Holly Willoughby.

As well as co-hosting ITV’s This Morning, the pair also front Dancing On Ice.

In more recent months, Schofield has been in the headlines over an apparent feud with Amanda Holden.

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Last summer he criticised “hurtful and wildly untrue stories from nameless ‘sources’”.

Schofield always knew he wanted to be on TV, spending many years writing letters to the BBC.

“I never had a thought about pursuing another career,” he is quoted as saying.

Phillip Schofield with Gordon The Gopher
Phillip Schofield with Gordon The Gopher (BBC/PA)

The presenter, who also has several advertising and corporate deals, is now said to pocket more than £1.7 million a year.

At 17, he got a job as a bookings clerk at the BBC but later moved with his family to New Zealand, where he landed TV and radio work.

When he returned to Britain, he presented links with puppet Gordon The Gopher in 1985, on the first afternoon of Children’s BBC.

“If you can introduce Newsround with a fluffy gopher squeaking next to you, you can handle anything,” he later said.

His words were proved right – only on Thursday, viewers of This Morning watched as an alpaca started spitting in Schofield’s face.

The Oldham-born star moved on to Saturday morning show Going Live in 1987.

In 1996, he signed an exclusive contract to present a series of shows including Talking Telephone Numbers, Schofield’s Quest and Schofield’s TV Gold.

He also notched up success on stage, as the lead in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

In 2002, Schofield was given the plum job on This Morning after John Leslie was sacked.

He shared the sofa with Fern Britton, who later quit, rejecting rumours she did so because Schofield was being paid more than her.

Willoughby – Schofield’s “on-screen wife” – replaced Britton.

Willoughby recently denied that all was not well behind-the-scenes in their relationship.

“It would be impossible for us to fake the giggles,” she told Closer magazine.

“I’m on the telly for two-and-a-half hours … I’m not that good an actress. If I was, I’d be doing something else.”

And the former host of The Cube also paid tribute to his co-presenter in his statement, announcing that he is gay, saying: “My friends are the best, especially Holly, who has been so kind and wise and who has hugged me as I sobbed on her shoulder.”

The All Star Mr & Mrs host also thanked his wife and daughters for their “strength and support”.

He married Stephanie in Scotland in 1993 and the couple have two grown-up daughters together, Ruby and Molly.

In 2018, the couple marked their silver wedding anniversary.

PA