Phillip Schofield: How BBC snub could have destroyed This Morning star’s dreams
Phillip Schofield is considered one of Britain’s top presenting talents after more than three decades on our television screens. The star landed his first job in New Zealand before returning to the UK to front CBBC, Going Live! and many more. His longest gig so far has been on ITV’s This Morning, a show which he now co-hosts with Holly Willoughby. But in the early days of his career, the presenter was dealt a series of cruel comments that could have ended his stint on TV. Fortunately Phillip was hardened to criticism by then, after many years of rejection. His resolve, tenacity and thick-skin helped him continue to strive to make his dreams a reality and establish himself as the presenter many adore today.
While Phillip Schofield is one of the most familiar faces on British TV now, his rise to the top was not easy by many means.
During childhood, his dreams were crushed by teachers who urged him to forget about his hopes of becoming a presenter and take a ‘normal job’ instead.
Shortly after landing his first gig on the BBC, a top executive ordered for the “cringey wimp” to be sacked and other scandals would also befall the future star.
Unearthed accounts reveal how one putdown before Phillip’s debut on British TV could have culled his career decades ago – way before it ever truly began.
The “unintentional” yet cutting snub was detailed in Robin McGibbon’s 1992 biography ‘Phillip Schofield: The Whole Amazing Story’.
TV producer Phillip Hamilton “showed an immediate interest” in the budding presenter after watching his work on the New Zealand programme ‘Shazam!’.
He invited the youngster to discuss opportunities on a new show he was developing for the BBC, over a lunch in Notting Hill Gate, London.
Mr Hamilton remembers that meeting especially well because he “inadvertently put Phillip down”.
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At the time, Phillip was talking about his success on ‘Shazam!’ and was “proudly” explaining that they had managed to attract more 800,000 viewers.
But, through not knowing the size of the audience in New Zealand, Mr Hamilton misread the star’s pride for shame – the BBC viewership was as high as nine million at that point.
He recalled: “I said something like, ‘Oh, hard luck – don’t worry about it.’ I had no idea 800,000 was great for New Zealand.
“Poor Phillip must have been deflated by my reaction, but took it well.”
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Despite the crushing comment, Mr Hamilton was impressed by the star but ultimately knew he was not the right fit for his show ‘No Limits’.
He said: “We had 200 people in the studio audience, with live bands and lots of other things happening, and I needed someone with a huge amount of character – someone quite spiky.
“I told Phillip he was too clean for the job – I actually used those words. He was disappointed but seemed to understand.”
Despite the early rejection, he would soon go on to find fame on CBBC, which would launch his career and propel him to the hit shows he is known for today.
Interestingly, the young man hired to front Mr Hamilton’s show ‘No Limits’ was Timmy Mallett, who would also go on to become a much loved TV host.
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