Amanda Holden backs Dermot O’Leary to replace Phillip Schofield on This Morning

Amanda Holden has backed Dermot O’Leary to replace Phillip Schofield on This Morning after the line-up was thrown into chaos when he left the show after 21 years.

Phillip, 61, stepped down from the breakfast telly show following reports of a feud with long-time co-host and friend, Holly Willoughby, 42.

After the shock exit at the weekend, Holly announced she was taking a two-week half-term break, leaving Alison Hammond, 48, and Dermot, 50, to hold the fort in her absence. Rumours of who will be Phillip's permanent replacement have been swirling, with Dermot, Alison and Rylan Clark all in the running.

Now Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda, 52, who has previously spoken of a rift between her and Phillip, has tipped Dermot as the permanent replacement.

During her Heart Breakfast show on Wednesday, co-host

asked her if thought Dermot would be “good to replace” the veteran presenter. She responded: “Yes. I think him and Alison do a great job, don’t they?”

Amid talk of a clash with Phillip, Amanda said she extended an olive branch by asking to meet him for a coffee – though he “didn’t reply” – in 2019.

Earlier this week, Amanda shared a cryptic post on her social media which some eagle-eyed fans thought was a dig aimed directly at Phillip after he released his official leaving statement.

In the captionless image on her Instagram account, Amanda posted the flexed bicep emoji onto a solid background. The emoji is usually used to celebrate an accomplishment or someone overcoming adversity.

The glamorous telly star has plenty of insider knowledge of the This Morning team as she hosted the show with Phillip for almost four months during Holly's maternity leave.

She was the main co-host from September to December 2014 before leaving to record Britain's Got Talent, then returned for from March to July the following year. In 2017 she again returned, presenting a number of episodes with Ben Shephard.

Despite being the hot favourite for the permanent spot on the sofa, Dermot was noticeably absent on Wednesday as he took the day off the celebrate his 50th birthday.

He was replaced by fellow presenter Craig Doyle, who joined regular host Alison for the morning.

But according to a body language expert, Alison displayed signs of feeling awkward with “a lot of pressure on her shoulders” as the bigger name of the two fronting the show.

Piers Morgan also weighed on Phillip's departure and the line-up shakeup on Wednesday, writing in his column in The Sun newspaper that he didn't agree with the "manner of his sacking".

"I don't know the full story behind Phillip Schofield's downfall, but where I feel personal empathy with him is over the manner of his sacking,"

He continued: "For ITV to not even give him the chance to say a proper goodbye to his large, loyal audience after 21 years struck me as needlessly churlish, and I know he's utterly heartbroken about it, because he told me himself."


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