Jane McDonald is set to replace Phillip Schofield as host of the British Soap Awards.
The 61-year-old star sensationally stepped down from his long-running role as a presenter on ITV’1s ‘This Morning’ last week amid rumours of a fall-out with co-star Holly Willoughby before admitting that he had had an “unwise but not illegal” extramarital affair with a younger male colleague but was still due to host the annual awards ceremony.
However, Phillip later quit ITV altogether, and now ‘Loose Women’ legend Jane – who spent almost a decade on the panel of ITV’s lunchtime chat show in the years after she found fame as a cruise ship singer in the late 1990s and has since fronted a slew of travel documentaries for Channel 5 – will be taking on hosting duties instead when the ceremony takes place on Saturday 3 June at The Lowry in Salford.
She wrote on Instagram: “I’m so excited to be this years host for The British Soap Awards!! Everyone knows how much I LOVE my soaps, this year I’ve been honoured to be mentioned in Corrie, EastEnders and Emmerdale so this is just a dream come true.”
“I can’t wait to see all our wonderful soap nominees and celebrate all their hard work with them – roll on the awards, I can’t wait.”
The British Soap Awards have now removed any mention of the former ‘Dancing on Ice‘ host – who has presented the awards ceremony every year since 2006 – from their website and the news comes just hours after it was revealed that ITV has hired a top lawyer to review the company’s handling of the scandal.
The broadcaster has hired Jane Mulcahy KC to carry out an external review of the scandal, which led to Schofield’s exit from ‘This Morning’ after more than two decades on the show.
Dame Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of ITV, says in a letter to Ofcom: “ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on the ‘This Morning’ and wider Daytime team and were not provided with, and did not find any evidence of, a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.
“Given the ongoing rumours, we continued to ask questions of both parties, who both continued to deny the rumours, including as recently as this month.”
Dame Carolyn also revealed that ITV has offered support to the former employee whom Schofield had an affair with.
She says: “The ITV employee was aged 19 when he first did work experience at ‘This Morning’ in 2015 and 20 years old when he applied and succeeded in securing a job as a runner on the show.
“He subsequently applied for and was successful in securing a promotion to ‘Loose Women’ in 2019. He left ITV in 2021.
“As you would imagine given the social media scrutiny of him, we have offered him our support throughout this period and indeed are still doing so.
“The employee has made it clear that he does not wish to be named or identified in connection with this matter. We would be grateful if you would be mindful of this.
“The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust. Phillip made assurances to us and his agency which he now acknowledges were untrue and we feel badly let down.”
ITV has now turned to a legal expert in a bid to “establish the facts”.