Dermot and Alison’s ‘excruciating’ return to This Morning: Body language expert on how the hosts leaned on one another for support as they were forced to address Phil and Holly feud and ‘toxic’ ITV claims live on air
Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond ‘leaned on each other for support’ while addressing the Phillip Schofield scandal in an ‘excruciating’ opening to This Morning, a body language expert said today.
Schofield, 61, resigned from the broadcaster on Friday and was dropped by his talent agency after admitting to an ‘unwise, but not illegal’ affair with a young male colleague.
The scandal deepened last night as former This Morning resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh hit out at the show’s ‘toxic’ culture, saying he raised concerns about ‘bullying and discrimination’ two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was ‘managed out’ for whistleblowing.
In today’s episode, the show’s stand-in hosts tried to put a lid on the backlash with a brief aside before the daily review of the newspapers – which have splashed the row over their front pages.
Describing the moment as ‘excruciating’, body language specialist Judi James told MailOnline: ‘Alison and Dermot performed a very telling gesture of unity and mutual support as they engaged in eye contact while doing the kind of tough-guy hand clasp that gladiators might have used before going into the arena.
Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary visibly ‘leaned on each other for support’ during today’s episode of This Morning, body language expert Judi James said
Ms James said of this moment: ‘Dermot performed an embarrassed act of self-diminishing, pulling his upper arms into his torso and stuffing his hands between his legs’
‘It looked touching and showed how badly they needed each other for support on this challenging morning.’
O’Leary appeared to reference the claims of ‘toxicity’ as he presented Monday’s episode of the show, saying: ‘We all know we happen to be in the news at the moment and of course we appreciate that but just from both of us, the whole team here, the crew, the guys downstairs, we love making this show for all of you.’
READ MORE – Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary take over This Morning hosting duties and vow to ‘continue making the show we love’
Co-host Hammond added: ‘We really do and that’s exactly what we are going to do, we are going to continue to do that.’
Gyles Brandreth, who was in the studio to review the news stories of the day, said: ‘We are very happy to be here, can I say that as well?
‘This is a happy place to work, I enjoy coming in here and have done since I began coming in. We are happy people in a happy place.’
Analysing the moment, Ms James said: ‘As Dermot began with an emphatic ”Now…” his head dipped and his brows raised. ”We are in the news at the moment…” saw Alison nod and bare her lower teeth in what looked like a micro-gesture of anger.
”’We love making this show for you” was Dermot’s rebound line as he clapped his hands together and Alison made a cutting, lidding gesture with her right hand to suggest a desire to keep control.
‘The lowest point came as Gyles Brandreth tried to chip in to help them once they were on the sofa. Trying to sound like some kind of jolly dad he threw in that it was ”A happy place to work”, at which point Dermot hid his face behind his mug in a complete cut-off gesture that left only his tired-looking eyes showing and Alison looked down at the table as though unwilling to share her feelings at all.
‘Dermot performed an embarrassed act of self-diminishing, pulling his upper arms into his torso and stuffing his hands between his legs as though trying to make himself look as small as possible. As he self-hugged, Alison’s eye expression projected sadness.’
Ms James said that when Gyles Brandreth called This Morning ‘A happy place to work’, O’Leary ‘hid his face behind his mug in a complete cut-off gesture’
It comes as Eamonn Holmes today branded Schofield ‘delusional’ after the under-fire host issued a statement insisting there had been ‘no toxicity’ at This Morning.
In a bombshell intervention today, Schofield, 61, attacked those who had claimed there was toxicity behind the scenes at the programme, accusing them of holding grudges.
Holmes – who previously helped present This Morning but now works for GB News – has since issued a scathing response to the statement and said that if Schofield was ‘looking for a fight’ he had ‘picked on the wrong person’.
READ MORE – ‘A handful of people have a grudge against me’: Phillip Schofield hits back at growing accusations of ‘toxic’ culture and bullying
The 63-year-old tweeted: ‘Schofield has just put out a delusional statement. Like Holly he puts it on Insta Stories so if it goes wrong there is no record after 24 hrs. I’m reluctant to give the liar any more publicity but believe me Pip if u r looking for a fight , u have picked on the wrong person!’
Holmes has been critic of Schofield for a number of years, believing he would get his ‘comeuppance’ for the way he’s treated others – including wife Ruth Langsford.
It comes as This Morning’s former resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh hit out at the show’s ‘toxic’ culture, claiming last night that he raised concerns about ‘bullying and discrimination’ two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was ‘managed out’ for whistleblowing.
Schofield addressed the claims in a statement on Instagram today, writing: ‘Now I no longer work on This Morning I am free to say this.
‘I hope you have noticed that it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice.
‘This Morning IS the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there there was no toxicity. You can listen to those persistently loud voices if you like.
‘But the thousands of guests over the years, thousands of staff and crew, hundreds of presenters and contributors all know it, it IS a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard working people.’
Speaking out for the first time since leaving the show today, Schofield hit out at those ‘with a grudge against me’
Holmes said that if Schofield was ‘looking for a fight’ he had ‘picked the wrong person’
In a statement yesterday, Dr Ranj said the ‘issues’ at This Morning go ‘far beyond’ the host.
He said: ‘I was on the show for 10 years and I genuinely loved and valued working there.
READ MORE – CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Phillip Schofield has ripped the stuffing out of This Morning’s sofa
‘However, over time, I grew increasingly worried about how things were behind-the-scenes and how people, including myself, were being treated.
‘I didn’t know the truth about what was going on with Phillip, but I do know the issues with TM (This Morning) go far beyond him.
‘It takes more than one person to create a culture.’
Dr Ranj said he raised his concerns with senior executives at ITV as he had been heavily involved in ‘diversity, anti-bullying and mental health projects’ across the channel.
‘I then found myself being used less and less,’ he continued.
‘I even took my concerns directly to the top of ITV: the culture at This Morning had become toxic, no longer aligned with ITV values, and I felt like because I whistle-blew I was managed out.
‘But as history and experience have taught us, things like bullying and discrimination are very hard to prove, particularly in hindsight and when the “people in power” control the narrative.
‘As we’ve seen, no review or investigation is foolproof.’
The doctor said he was assured that things would be addressed and changes made but he has not worked on the show since, adding it ‘still hurts’ two years on from lodging complaints.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Dr Ranj Singh said he had ‘thought long and hard’ before weighing in on the ongoing scandal
The television medic confirmed that he had taken concerns about the behaviour of editors and senior producers to ITV and had then seen his screentime drop
In a blow to ITV, This Morning’s biggest sponsor Arnold Clark has announced it will be ending its existing multi-million-pound deal with the channel as planned.
The car dealer’s multi-year deal with This Morning began in September 2021, but the car dealer has confirmed it will not be renewed when the contract ends later this year.
A source told The Sun: ‘There is a lot of speculation about This Morning’s future and some staff are concerned about their jobs.
‘Phil’s admission of deceit has plunged ITV into a crisis which it has never been faced with before.
‘It is widely known internally that they have lost over £2million in sponsorship deals since Phil’s affair became public.
‘Arnold Clark, who are the main sponsors of This Morning, are also reconsidering their position.
‘Brands do not feel ITV is a safe bet at the moment.’
An ITV Spokesperson said: ‘This Morning’s current show sponsorship runs until the Autumn and no sponsors have pulled out of ITV.’
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