EastEnders star says Phillip Schofield shouldn’t host British Soap Awards next month
24th May 2023

EastEnders star Debbie Arnold has claimed that Phillip Schofield should not host the British Soap Awards as it will ‘all be about him’.

The 67 year old actress, who has also appeared in Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks, claimed that Philip’s presence at the ceremony could take the spotlight away from actors nominated for gongs.

ITV this week confirmed Phillip will host the British Soap Awards next month, despite stepping down from his role on This Morning after 21 years.

In a statement issued at the weekend, the 62 year old announced he was quitting the popular daytime ITV show with immediate effect after a rumoured feud with co-host Holly Willoughby created a media frenzy.

British soap star Debbie, best known for her portrayal of April Branning in EastEnders, was asked during an interview with GB News if she "didn't like the idea of tainted Phillip Schofield" hosting the awards.

She replied: "It's not tainted Phillip Schofield as much as the fact that it will all be about him and not about these other poor actors who spent years trying to get these awards.

"It will just be all about Phillip, nobody will even be looking at them, they'll just be looking at him."

Speaking about the actors nominated for gongs, she added: "I don't think they'll be upset, he hasn't done anything to harm any actors…but they will definitely want the evening to be about them and surely if he hosts it it will all be about him."

Elsewhere, there are said to have been concerns that Philip’s attendance at the awards ceremony could prove controversial and overshadow the event.

An ITV insider told The i: "It's a big Saturday night event with celebrities and a paying public audience in the theatre. It's happening very soon. What if viewers side with Holly and Phil gets jeered?"

The source added: "It's a high-risk return for Phil and his presence could overshadow the event."

Announcing his departure from This Morning on Saturday, Phillip said: “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. I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.

“So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me – especially This Morning’s amazing viewers – and I’ll see you all for the Soap Awards next month.”

According to sources, Phillip has received a hefty six-months' wage packet as part of his leaving deal. As well as his planned appearance at the British Soap Awards in June, ITV bosses said he would be back presenting a prime-time show later in the year.


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