A photo of Holly Willoughby and text reading "We'll miss you!" imposed over a shot of the exterior of a building

‘This Morning’ Gives Longtime Host Holly Willoughby an Awkward Send-Off

An end of an era, indeed

On Tuesday, October 10, This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby suddenly announced that she was leaving the British daytime program after 14 years. She hadn’t been on our screens for about a week after it emerged that two men—a 36-year-old from the U.K., who has now been charged, and one from the U.S.—had allegedly plotted to kidnap and murder her. Though she did not directly address the incident in her statement on her departure, or say it was the reason she was leaving, she did say that the decision was made “for me and my family.”

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In a post on Instagram, she wrote, “I have let ITV know today that, after 14 years, I will not be returning to This Morning. It’s been an honour to just be part of its story and I know this story has many chapters left to go. Sadly, however, I now feel I have to make this decision for me and my family. I will miss you all so much.

“To everyone who has ever worked on the show over the years, thank you so so much. This is such a difficult goodbye, you are incredible and I forever will be proud of what we’ve done together.”

However, what I’m personally concerned about is the title sequence on Wednesday’s show.

As their tribute to the long-time host, the show decided to add graphics to its usual title sequence that, firstly, looked cheap and rushed. And though I’m sure they were thrown together in haste, they could’ve done better. Why not put actual clips together as a goodbye? There were plenty, she’d literally been on the show for nearly a decade and a half, but the segment above only includes about 10 seconds of wordless footage of Willoughby.

More importantly, though, the entire tribute gave the impression that Willoughby had died (“End of an era,” “We’ll miss you!”). They also quoted her statement and actually put “family comes first’ as a graphic. When I saw the short segment I felt overcome with so much embarrassment it is quite unbelievable.

Then the first thing you see after the titles is the two presenters of that days show, Craig Doyle and Rochelle Humes, looking like they’re preparing to bury their mom with them telling viewers “Holly loved her job here and was really looking foward to the future of the show.” I was actually mortified. Of course, what she must be going through is horrific and the fact she feels she can’t continue presenting is terrible, but there was absolutely no need for the send-off to be so morbid.

I’m not the only one who felt this way:

That said, the show might have had a shortage of airable clips of Holly as her former regular co-host, Philip Schofield, left the show and ultimately the channel that it aired on, ITV, after being caught up in scandal. The 61-year-old admitted to having an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a much younger This Morning colleague after having previously come out as gay (and sitting down with Holly to talk about it).

I suppose it shouldn’t have really shocked me that her send off would be so bad. The show does not know how to handle a scandal or a surprise.

After the Queen died, Holly and Phil went to see her lying in state before her funeral and were accused of cutting in line (something that became known as Queuegate in the U.K.) but they firecely denied the accusations in a video statement aired on their show again. The whole ordeal was odd and quite laughable. Instead of just talking to viewers directly, they made a whole TV segment about it.

Then, after Phil’s scandal, Holly adressed viewers in an uncomfortable introduction after returning to the show following his admission. The segment opened with “Firstly, are you OK? I hope so,” which made no sense and was extremely out of character for the show. Then you had one of the other hosts, Alison Hammond, crying like, again, a loved one had died, called the experience “really painful.”

The press keep speculating—as they have for months—that it may be time for a “shakeup,” whether of presenters or the show entirely. Personally, I believe its time for the program to go completely. It’s been around since the ’80s and you can tell. I don’t think new, young presenters are going to be the answer.

ITV have let go of Holly and Phil. Now, I think they should do the same with This Morning.

(featured image: screencap)

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Brooke Pollock
Brooke Pollock is a UK-based entertainment journalist who talks incessantly about her thoughts on pop culture. She can often be found with her headphones on listening to an array of music, scrolling through social media, at the cinema with a large popcorn, or laying in bed as she binges the latest TV releases. She has almost a year of experience and her core beat is digital culture.