JAN MOIR: It will be a miracle if Holly and Phil last the week!

JAN MOIR: After this farrago of fakery it will be a miracle if Holly and Phil last the week!

On Monday the show begins as usual with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby hosting a review of the newspapers, although there is one major breaking story that is not, ahem-ahem, mentioned. For it is no secret that at least one front page declares ‘Furious Phil Calls in Lawyers’.

Elsewhere there are prominent headlines about ‘crisis talks’ between the couple and their ITV paymasters, but not a whisper of this calumny is mentioned. Instead, guest Gyles Brandreth is invited to comment on a news story about the increasing number of schoolchildren identifying as transgender. He is having none of it.

‘Children will be children,’ booms Gyles, revealing that as a small boy he went through a period when he wanted to be like Brigitte Bardot and wear women’s clothes. ‘It was just a phase,’ he cries.

Phil puts on his Most Serious Face to rebuke this outrageous outburst of common sense. ‘We have had children on here and it is not a phase for them,’ he says. Moving on, Phil also mentions that ‘young people who don’t have sexual education are more likely to take risks with their sexual health’.

All nod and agree that sex education among the young is important, very important. Next up, an item about flying to Australia in only two hours, something Holly and Phil would probably quite like to do right now, but on separate flights of course.

Feud: Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield hosted the hit show This Morning today after Phillip called in lawyers over their falling-out

‘I wouldn’t want to be the first,’ says Phil. He looks at Holly and this is the first time she looks back at him. Her expression is a beautiful blank, but what is new about that? For most of this item, Holly keeps her gaze trained straight ahead as if she were piloting that rocket flight to Sydney all by herself and the runway had just hoved into view.

READ MORE: ‘Holly just wants Phil gone’: Holly Willoughby ‘begins contract negotiations’ as Phillip Schofield’s This Morning future hangs in the balance with show insiders claiming it’s ‘too late’ to save friendship amid fears pair might not appear on tomorrow’s show

Yet Phil keeps gazing at her, scrunching his features into something he perhaps fondly imagines is an expression of benign brotherly affection. I am reminded of Kermit trying and failing to appease Miss Piggy on countless Muppet Show capers, always ending in froggy disaster. It doesn’t bode well for the future.

By 10.26 we have moved on to a discussion about online security and the suffocating atmosphere on set continues to be freighted with innuendo and the terrible unsaid. We’re only half an hour in – how can this possibly work in the long term? But still, Holly and Phil plough on, as if nothing were happening and no one’s reputation was teetering on the brink of oblivion.

‘The more personal information the scammer has about someone, the more likely they are to bring them in and do that con,’ the security expert explains.

‘Scammers play on curiosity,’ says Phil, folding his hands, leaning forward and looking super earnest. Holly takes this Holly-opportunity to impart some Holly-wisdom, which is perhaps just as relevant to her own Holly-circumstances as to the wider This Morning audience.

‘Be a little bit private and a little bit picky,’ she says. My darling, Holly! If only you had listened to your own advice.

Next up is an item with a really marvellous guest, Alan Menken. He is the musical genius behind so many of the hit songs for a generation of Disney films, including The Little Mermaid and its new live-action adaptation. What is he going to play for us?

The TV couple are said to have held crisis talks with ITV bosses before today’s show

‘A new song called Scuttlebutt,’ says Alan. Well that is unfortunate, isn’t it children?

By now, Holly and Phil are sitting on two stools alongside Alan’s piano in the studio and I hate to sound like a concerned gastroenterologist, but are those stools further apart than usual?

I think they are, but never mind, Alan begins his medley.

READ MORE: Strained Holly and Phil’s very awkward united front: Uncomfortable smiles of ‘feuding’ co-hosts as they appear together on This Morning – with Phil’s ‘overkill’ body language and Holly’s ‘anxious’ facial expressions

‘You ain’t never had a friend like me,’ he sings, a prescient number from Aladdin. He then performs a snatch of Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid, and then a song from Tangled.

‘At last I see the light, it is like the fog has lifted,’ he sings, and it is almost as if Holly has written the lyrics herself.

But before we can digest the social and professional awkwardness of this interlude, the farrago of fakery continues with a keep-fit item about strengthening your core for summer.

‘The core, that literally is your centre, the centre of everything,’ explains Holly and really, thank goodness she is there to keep us all enlightened.

‘What is your core?’ asks Phil the dolt, even though Holly has just told him.

Never mind, all get on their mats to engage their cores. ‘I know Phil is an expert,’ says Simon the keep-fit pro, urging the television star to ‘keep your knees on the ground’. He won’t need to be told twice.

The show rumbles on in a miasma of cringe. There is a holiday item about a seaside destination in Croatia, but Holly fails to grasp its name.

‘What was it called, the Golden Horn beach?’ she wonders. Phil apparently doesn’t know anything about a Golden Horn, so we move on to a cooking segment, where lovely chef Marcus Bean is making his creamy chicken traybake.

Phil puts on his Most Serious Face to rebuke this outrageous outburst of common sense, writes Jan Moir (pictured)

Phil and Holly sit side by side at the counter. Two little blonde heads, two little angels, butter wouldn’t melt, talking animatedly about chicken salt because Holly had some on holiday last year and she loved it.

‘Can you get it here?’ asks Phil. This is the nearest they come to a proper conversation in the entire show, including a tiny chat about whether or not to eat the skins of broad beans. By my reckoning, this was also the first and only time they properly looked each other in the eye. Both seemed to be anti bean skin-eating.

Let’s move on to sunscreen, for God’s sake! ‘Growing up in Cornwall, our local sun cream was probably just lard,’ said Phil, who looked over at Holly for the usual hammy nourishment of her showbiz laughter. In the olden days, Holly would have undoubtedly found this lardy aside hilarious. Now she is treating Phil with the polite but chilly tolerance of someone sitting next to an utter pest on a long journey, perhaps to Sydney.

Holly and Phil were back on screen together amid claims of their faltering relationship

Still, you’ve got to hand it to them. For the duration of their award-winning, 150-minute show, the old pros gritted their teeth and got on with it, smiling fit to burst through the usual slick cavalcade of lifestyle items and showbiz grot.

Yet viewers didn’t have to look far to see the crack in the vase of their relationship, nor the pulsing blue vein of discord running through their showbiz cheese.

If the pair of them last the week, it will be a miracle. For you can’t build an entire television franchise on the special on-screen chemistry between your two major stars and then expect the public to be fooled when that relationship spectacularly implodes. It’s obvious, it’s insulting, it’s untenable. Despite their best efforts, it is going to be a long, long time before Holly and Phil jump a queue together again.

Source: Read Full Article