This Morning fans call for ‘charismatic’ Craig Doyle to become a permanent host after Phillip Schofield’s exit – as body language expert reveals Alison Hammond helped calm ‘nervous’ star
This Morning presenter Craig Doyle has been praised by fans after he stood in for Dermot O’Leary on Wednesday’s episode of the show.
The star, 52, has taken over from Dermot while he celebrates his 50th birthday, helming the show with Alison Hammond. He will also co-host Thursday’s episode.
Regular Friday hosts Alison and Dermot were drafted in after Phillip Schofield’s shock exit from the programme, having revealed over the weekend he was quitting after 21 years on the iconic sofa.
While Phillip’s official replacement has yet to be announced – and Holly is off for two weeks enjoying a half term break – viewers have called on Craig to step into the role permanently.
The Irish presenter is best known as a presenter for BT Sport where he covers the Rugby Union and MotoGP.
New host? This Morning presenter Craig Doyle has been praised by fans after he stood in for Dermot O’Leary on Wednesday’s episode of the show
He made his debut on This Morning last year while stepping in for Dermot alongside Josie Gibson.
On Wednesday’s show things got off to an awkward start when he failed to realise that the show had returned from an advert break, confessing to viewers: ‘I forgot we were on telly! We were all just chatting and then the music started!’
Despite the blunder, fans were quick to praise Craig, tweeting: ‘Craig and Alison are a great combo! Love his energy and natural charisma.’;
‘Loving Craig Doyle’s relaxed and dry sense of humour on @ThisMorning he also asks the guests sensible questions, he’s so chilled out, even Alison’s calmed down a bit. Surely he has to be considered for the permanent role (with Josie) #thismorning’;
‘Craig Doyle would be an excellent replacement, he has years of experience of presenting #ThisMorning’; ‘Nobody, absolutely nobody, is a better tv partner for Holly than Craig Doyle. If you can’t see it, there’s something wrong with you #thismorning #HollyWilloughby.’
While viewers praised his ‘natural’ demeanor, body language expert Darren Stanton revealed that Craig was ‘nervous’, leaving Alison to act as the ‘leader.’
Speaking on behalf of Betfair, Darren said: ‘During the opening moments of the show, Alison touched Craig’s arm as she said, “It’s really good to have you back.”
‘It’s noticeable that Craig was quite nervous, so it was a nice gesture for Alison to do on screen. He was quite jittery when he was speaking, so it’s clear Alison made sure to reassure him and put him at ease as much as she can – showing him that they were in it together.
‘Craig was often putting his hands in his pockets, which is seen as a signal of reassurance. It’s clear that Craig relies on Alison’s confidence as a leader of the two of them. She is definitely the stronger presenter.’
Starring: The star, 52, has taken over from Dermot while he celebrates his 50th birthday, helming the show with Alison Hammond . He will also co-host Thursday’s episode
Fan favourite: Despite him making a blunder, fans were quick to praise Craig, tweeting: ‘Craig and Alison are a great combo! Love his energy and natural charisma’
Decline: It’s yet to be seen how many viewers tuned in for Craig’s presenting stint but it’s been revealed that This Morning has seen a dip since Phillip Schofield’s shock exit
Stepping in: Regular Friday hosts Alison and Dermot O-Leary took over for Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on Monday and Tuesday’s shows
Despite viewers praising Craig and Alison’s chemistry, Darren revealed that Alison is ‘more confident’ with Dermot as she ‘feels connected’ with him.
He explained: ‘Alison is a natural presenter with ITV’s viewers, she’s enticing and knows how to do it well. She’s brought in a lot of success for the show, and people do connect with Alison because she’s authentic and never holds herself back from expressing herself. It creates trust and a rapport between her and the audience.
‘Viewers feel they have a relationship with Alison. However, she is definitely a lot more confident with Dermot by her side, as they present together a lot more. She feels more connected with Dermot.
READ MORE: So who could replace axed Phillip Schofield on This Morning?
‘I think she knows that if she does make a mistake, he has the experience to carry it on and pick up the slack. Alison’s body language has changed over the years with This Morning as she now has a greater responsibility. She has a lot of confidence and her and Dermot have a great dynamic on screen.’
It’s yet to be seen how many viewers tuned in for Craig’s presenting stint but it’s been revealed that This Morning has seen a dip since Phillip’s shock exit.
Part of his decision to leave was said to be in part of a rating plunge that occurred while he presented.
However, his final show last Thursday still pulled in average of 644,000 viewers. This figure had declined to 638,000 when Alison and Dermot hosted this Tuesday.
Monday’s show fared better, with an average of 703,000 viewers who were no doubt keen to see how the show would tackle Phillip’s exit.
Alison and Dermot started Monday’s episode by paying tribute to Phillip but made no mention of the controversy as they kicked off Tuesday’s show, instead cheerfully dancing to Club Tropicana as they came on air.
Phillip, 61, revealed that he was stepping down from the ITV show over the weekend after 21 years following a turbulent week and a reported feud with co-star Holly.
His departure came amid reports of a rift between him and Holly, and after his brother, Timothy Schofield, was sentenced to 12 years in jail after being convicted of child sex offences.
Phillip said in his statement: ‘I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.
‘Throughout my career in TV – including the very difficult last few days – I have always done my best to be honourable and kind.’
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Holly said: ‘It’s been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. The sofa won’t feel the same without him.’
Kevin Lygo, ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment, said: ‘Phillip is hands down one of the best broadcasters of his generation and we thank him for his two decades worth of absolutely terrific television on the This Morning sofa.
‘This Morning is made by one of the best and most diligent teams in television, who produce over 12 hours of live television each week.
‘We look forward to continuing our relationship with Phillip starting with The British Soap Awards in June and a brand new peak time series to come.’
Holly and Phillip have reportedly called a truce in a private chat, with Phillip agreeing to leave the show in a deal which will ensure he gets a new solo-presenting gig – and can keep discussions open about his future on other shows such as Dancing On Ice.
Phil reportedly has just ‘tatters’ of his friendship with Willoughby left after he allegedly failed to tell her about his brother’s child sexual abuse case.
An ITV source told the Mirror last night: ‘Phil’s fate was decided on Friday. It was a unanimous decision that he had to go.
‘He was upset, but firm that if he was going to walk away he wanted to keep his roles on The Cube, the British Soap Awards, and Dancing on Ice – crucially, with or without Holly.
‘It has all been worked out in the smoothest way possible, but behind the scenes he has told friends he has been hung out to dry. And his friendship with Holly is now in tatters.
Exit: Phillip announced over the weekend that he was stepping down from presenting the ITV talk show with ‘immediate effect’ amid reports of a rift between him and Holly
Two sides: Holly and Phil have enjoyed support from inside and outside ITV in recent weeks
‘It is hard to see how it could recover. The fact he chose to pointedly thank people who supported him – and the viewers – without mentioning her says it all.’
The once inseparable pair had increasingly grown apart in recent months, but the split became final after Phil was said to have kept Holly, 42, in the dark about his brother’s child sex abuse trial.
He issued a pointed statement on social media thanking fans for their support, but failed to mention Holly at all.
It is understood that Phil, who was described as ‘a broken man’, was digging his heels in to stay until the end, and that it took ‘much persuasion’ for him to agree to terminate his contract immediately. It means last Thursday was his final appearance on This Morning.
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