ALISON Hammond and Dermot O'Leary are furious at being made to pay tribute to Phillip Schofield just days before he admitted having an affair with a younger male colleague, according to reports.
The presenters delivered a brief 30 second tribute to Phillip, 61, after he resigned from This Morning following his fallout with co-star Holly Willoughby, 42.
Viewers claimed the duo looked like they were being forced to read at gunpoint during the sombre opening segment.
Just days later disgraced Phillip was axed from ITV after admitting to lying about an affair with a younger employee while still married to wife of 30 years Stephanie Lowe.
A source told the Mirror: "Both are furious. The telling thing in all of this is the silence where Phil’s colleagues could have stepped in to back him. No one wants to be damaged by association.
"There is a real shock behind the scenes that such a successful show has been so badly hit by the actions of one presenter.
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"The thinking last week was that when it returned after the summer, Phil would not be replaced by one person – but that there’d be a rolling rota on the sofa, much like there is on Good Morning Britain. But now those conversations seem irrelevant."
Alison and Dermot's tribute was generic and free of any personal touches.
Alison, 48, began by saying: "We can't start the show without paying tribute to the man who spent the last two decades sitting on the This Morning sofa.
"Quite simply, we all know he's one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had and we and all the team wish him all the best."
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Dermot, 50, added: "As a show, everyone on and off screen want to say a huge thank you to Phil for what he's done to make the show a success over the last 21 years."
The mood lifted almost immediately afterwards, and it was soon business as usual as they talked through a list of lighthearted news stories with Gyles Brandreth and Camilla Tominey.
Meanwhile Phillip's affair confession came in an extraordinary statement.
He wrote: "I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague.
"Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship.
"That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over. When I chose to come out I did so entirely for my own wellbeing. Nobody 'forced' me out.
"Neither I nor anyone else, to my knowledge, has ever issued an injunction, super or otherwise, about my relationship with this colleague, he was never moved on or sacked by or because of me.
"In an effort to protect my ex-colleague I haven't been truthful about the relationship.
"But my recent, unrelated, departure from This Morning fuelled speculation and raised questions which have been impacting him, so for his sake it is important for me to be honest now.
"I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family.
"I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.
"I have therefore decided to step down from the British Soap Awards, my last public commitment, and am resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.
"I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.
"That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.
"To protect his privacy, I am not naming this individual and my deepest wish is that both he and his family can now move on with their lives free from further intrusion, and that this statement will enable them to do so.
"I ask the media now to respect their privacy. They have done nothing wrong, and I ask that their privacy should be respected."
Phillip was subsequently dropped by ITV and by his agent at YMU.
ITV came out with a statement following the dramatic exit which read: "We are deeply disappointed by the admissions of deceit made tonight by Phillip Schofield."
In response to being cut from YMU, Schofield said: "It is with the most profound regret that after 35 years of being faultlessly managed by YMU I have agreed to step down from their representation with immediate effect.”
Last night Phillip's on-screen partner and best pal, Holly Willoughby, broke her silence on the scandal.
The star, who is on holiday until June 5, issued an extraordinary statement admitting he repeatedly failed to tell the truth about the relationship.
She said on Instagram: "It's taken time to process yesterday's news.
"When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not.
"It's been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie."
Despite clamours for This Morning to be axed from ITV's schedule, it will return tomorrow.
But major stars are mulling over their futures on the tainted show.
The Sun on Sunday revealed one household name has drafted a resignation statement in the wake of Schofield’s admission that he lied about an affair with a much younger male employee.
Senior producers now fear an exodus of regular presenters from the roster, which includes Rochelle Humes and Alison Hammond.
A source said: “The future of the show is hanging by a thread and the presenting talent are unsure of their next move – they’re deciding whether to leap from a sinking ship.
“The whole This Morning senior team is in complete damage-limitation mode worrying about the presenters who might walk away.
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“Phillip no doubt thinks he has tried to do the right thing but the overwhelming feeling on set is that procedures need to be put in place to ensure the same mistakes never happen again.
“Some presenters feel the saga has left too much toxicity around the show, it can’t survive and they’re considering their future.”
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