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 The nation waited with bated breath for Holly’s message. Its collective breath cannot have been so bated since Neville Chamberlain announced to the nation in September 1939 that Britain was at war with Germany.

At any rate, the executives at This Morning had chosen to give Phillip Schofield’s consensual affair with a male colleague, and his subsequent fall from the sofa, the gravity and import of a national disaster. The rest of the world must think we are mad. Is it something to do with Brexit, they must have been wondering in the foreign offices of Washington, Paris and Berlin?

Ms Willoughby, the nation’s sweetheart, who had returned from holding down a beach in the Algarve, was ready for her personal D-day. She had applied her maquillage with care. Her eyes were wide and brimming, her cheeks blushed to peony, her lip gloss a trembling bubble gum pink.

Her wardrobe was also equal to the task: a schoolgirl white blouse with severe buttons and a high neck. She looked like an ingenue who has just discovered the world is a wicked place and that people have something called sex.

“Hi there,” she said. “Right, deep breath.” As openers go it wasn’t quite up there with Walter Cronkite’s announcement of the assassination of JFK, but we felt for her, we really did.

Never has she been more trivial, more pointless or self-righteous, as hard and empty as a cut glass bowl, and as easy to see through. It was vintage Hollyier than thou. She asked us if we were OK? No, I wasn’t. We’ve had over a week of the Phillip Schofield business, and my overwhelming emotion has been one of “so what?”.

As far as we are aware, a television presenter had a legal if foolhardy fling, and tried to cover it up. Can we have some real news please? Like the war in the Ukraine, perhaps? Instead, we got more of the War of the Sofa. Determinedly, brightly, Holly went on reading from her script, like Doris Day cast as Medea. 

“It feels very strange indeed sitting here without Phil.” Bless her. It must feel even stranger to Phil. She imagined, eyelids downturned, that “you might have been feeling a lot like I have – shaken, troubled, let down”.

I’m sure the hapless Mr Schofield is indeed feeling all that. Then came the coup de grace, fatal as the asp at Cleopatra’s breast. “You, me and all of us at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth.” Enough to jerk tears from Caligula’s eyes.

Stalin would have loved the ruthless world of light entertainment. It used to demand serious dexterity and months of work with the scalpel, glue, paint, and airbrush to erase enemies of the people. Via Commissar Holly, ITV can do the job in 10 seconds.

The Virgin Goddess went on, pupils dilating, “I hope that, as we start this new chapter and get back to a place of warmth and magic that this show holds for all of us, we can find strength in each other … and, from my heart, can I just say … thank you for being here this morning.”

I’m afraid I can’t return the compliment with wholehearted warmth. In the annals of statements, this was a humdinger - one of the most ludicrous, pointless and magniloquent ever made.

Source : Telegraph/UK


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