Richard Madeley Shares His Thoughts On Holly Willoughby's This Morning Exit

The ITV daytime show's original co-host spoke out following Holly's decision to leave after 14 years.
Richard Madeley and Holly Willoughby
Richard Madeley and Holly Willoughby
ITV/Shutterstock/Ken McKay

Richard Madelely has praised “brave” Holly Willoughby over her decision to quit This Morning after 14 years for “for me and my family”.

On Tuesday evening, the presenter announced she would not be returning to the ITV daytime show in a statement posted on her social media accounts. This followed the news last week that a man has been charged over an alleged plot to kidnap her.

Richard – who along with wife Judy Finnigan hosted This Morning from its inception in 1988 until 2001 – appeared on Good Morning Britain on Wednesday morning to react to the news.

“Holly has done a very brave, wise and courageous thing,” he told hosts Susanna Reid and Ed Balls.

“We know genuinely Holly puts her family first. She puts her family first, and her career second. That really is the order.”

He continued: “I think given the year that she has had and all the things she’s had to put up with, and this terrible thing that happened last week... Given that she has done this show for 14 years – a year longer than Judy and I – I think it’s given her a chance to step back and take stock. And she’s put her family first. She’s going to focus on them for a while.”

Richard then predicted Holly would “come back to something” else on TV eventually.

“I think she’s done exactly the right thing,” he said. “For her own mental health, apart from anything else.”

Holly Willoughby pictured with Ben Shephard on the This Morning sofa last month
Holly Willoughby pictured with Ben Shephard on the This Morning sofa last month
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

He also responded to Holly’s reference to him and Judy in her exit statement, where she said: “Richard and Judy said ‘we only look after this show, it will always belong to the viewers’. It’s been an honour to just be part of its story and I know this story has many chapters left to go.”

“I stand by that,” Richard agreed.

“When we left... a lot of people said, ‘that will be the end of This Morning, because This Morning IS Richard and Judy’, which was very flattering, but we knew it wasn’t true. This show isn’t about the faces, it’s about the format... It will carry on.”

Holly had not been seen on the show since last Wednesday, with The Sun later reporting she was “under police guard at her home” after “sinister” messages were found on a man’s phone reportedly threatening to “seriously harm” the daytime TV presenter.

He appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on Friday, charged with soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap.

In her statement announcing her exit from This Morning, Holly said it was “such a difficult goodbye”, adding: “I now feel I have to make this decision for me and my family. I will miss you all so much.”

Her exit comes just months after that of her former co-host Phillip Schofield, who left the show after 21 years in May, amid reports of a falling out between the pair behind the scenes.

A week later, he then resigned from ITV altogether after admitting to having lied to producers about an affair with a younger colleague on the show.

Richard previously said he feels “very sorry” for Phillip, describing his departure as “savage” in a recent interview.

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV1, with This Morning following at 10am.

The charges in this story have been updated.


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