IT is hard to ignore the apparent chill that has descended on the seemingly bulletproof friendship between Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
Once the pair seemed inseparable.
It’s hard to ignore the tension between This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield[/caption]
Holly and Phil used to be inseparable, giggling together after a particularly heavy night at the National Television Awards[/caption]
The This Morning stars would enjoy holidays together in the Algarve; stifle bleary-eyed giggles on the sofa after a particularly heavy night at the National Television Awards; and poignantly, when Phil came out as gay on the show in 2020, Holly was the one to console him in a loving embrace.
But now it seems there is trouble in paradise.
Speaking as one half of a long-standing TV partnership, which moved long ago into the realms of friendship, I feel real sympathy for both of them.
I know how lucky I am to work with a real pro like Lord Sugar.
But my experience of working on BBC One’s The Apprentice has helped me to understand the pressures of TV — in particular, how crucial it is that you have the support of your co-star.
And how difficult things would be if you didn’t.
There are lots of examples of on-screen duos being firm friends in real life, Ant and Dec are such great mates they once lived on the same London street.
But not all TV partnerships can extend into real life.
Others have bitter fallouts — Eamonn Holmes and Anthea Turner spring to mind.
After Anthea joined Eamonn on the GMTV sofa in the Nineties, he dubbed her “Princess Tippy Toes” and said she was “unbearable”.
Based on my experience of TV partnerships, I’ve been thinking about what the formula might be to keep things on track.
The first thing is that Alan and I are genuine friends.
We connected over football, then politics, he walked me into the House of Lords when I was introduced and he was a Labour peer (he is now a crossbencher).
We always said friendship first, football second, politics last.
And now we are on The Apprentice together. I think it helps that neither of us has to do the show because it’s our main job.
We do it because we enjoy it.
It’s fun, but it is also a force for good. Alan has given loads of young people a chance to run their own business — something which, for most of them, would not have happened without him.
Many have gone on to have real success and he has changed lives for the better.
For us, it’s gone beyond getting on well together on screen. We go on holidays together and he goes cycling with my husband.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s bloody hard work, with 12-hour days, seven days a week.
Which makes the support and encouragement you get from colleagues vital.
You must be able to trust each other and no one can get away with thinking they are better or more important than anyone else.
It’s important that the success and trappings of being on TV don’t go to your head and it’s critical that you respect your colleagues from the bottom up.
Alan does that so well — without his support and encouragement I would not have been able to do the show for the past 12 years.
Lots of people warn against mixing business with pleasure and about the potential difficulties that could arise.
But the truth is that nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else.
I can only imagine how Holly and Phil must be feeling right now if their friendship is having a wobble, with their every move scrutinised on live TV each day.
What is tricky is that they are sold as a package (they are the Ant and Dec of daytime TV) and as friends.
Who really knows what is going on between them?
But having to pretend to be friends on air in front of millions of people would be emotionally exhausting.
HANG IN THERE, VINNIE
MY heart really goes out to Vinnie Jones, who said last week that he feels “broken” inside and “struggles to comprehend” going to bed on his own, four years on from the death of wife Tanya.
Some marriages are just meant to be, and you can see from how deeply Vinnie feels the loss of Tanya, who died in 2019 at the age of 53, that theirs was one such partnership.
They had been married for 25 years when she tragically died of cancer.
And although some might say that four years is a long time, Vinnie’s words are a reminder that the pain of grief ebbs and flows, and often never really goes away.
Sending strength your way, Vinnie.
OLD THE BABY . . .
Robert De Niro has welcomed his seventh child at the age of 79[/caption]
I know that in many ways we women are short-changed biologically when it comes to periods and the menopause.
But on the other hand, at least the menopause puts a natural break on things and offers an intervention to any woman insane enough to consider having a baby in their seventies.
WOKE IS CON JOB
I’M all for being polite and civil but are we taking things a little too far when it comes to not causing offence to prisoners?
Apparently, prison guards have been told not to refer to inmates as “convicts” – because strictly speaking, those on remand have not been convicted of a crime.
Staff have also been advised to avoid the phrase “ex-con” when referring to former prisoners.
Instead, the prison service has suggested they be called “persons with lived experience” or “prison leavers”.
It all feels a little bit pedantic to me.
FLYING NEST IS FOR BEST
MORE than half of adults aged 24 or under in England and Wales are still living with their parents, according to the last census.
The cost-of-living crisis is partly to blame but the stats are still fairly shocking.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows the number of families with adult children living with their parents rose 13.6 per cent in the decade between 2011 and 2021, to nearly 3.8million.
And the number of 20 to 24-year-olds living with their parents rose from 44.5 per cent to just over half, or 51.2 per cent.
I can see there are lots of reasons that make it difficult for young adults to be truly independent, many of them financial.
But when I was growing up, I literally could not wait to leave home, to earn my own money, live where I chose, and eat baked beans on toast for tea if I fancied it.
Looking back, I think it was really good for me to make my own way and, as they grew up, I felt the same way about my children, too.
I love my kids to death and I really enjoy their company.
But I could not wait for them to leave home so I could get on with the next chapter of my life – and they could do the same.
HOW dispiriting it is to learn that for many young women, sexual harassment, bullying or verbal abuse is the norm at work.
According to a TUC poll, almost three in five women have experienced harassment at work with more than two in five having experienced at least three incidents of sexual harassment.
But what’s worse is that most victims do not report it for fear of not being believed or of damaging their working relationships or their career prospects.
JENNIFER SETS THE TONING
JENNIFER LOPEZ looked stunning last week at the premiere of her new film The Mother.
She was wearing a dress which revealed her tight abs, which most women in their 20s could not get away with, let alone a woman in her 50s.
Jen says exercise is good for her mental strength, but boy it’s also good for her figure.
As we get older, most of us have to try doubly hard at everything, including diet and exercise, to look even half as good.
Jennifer must be trying triple hard, as not only does she look youthful, fit and feminine, she looks bloody fantastic too.