Jane McDonald has been confirmed as the new host for the upcoming British Soap Awards, taking over from Phillip Schofield, who recently stepped down from his ITV roles. The awards ceremony is set to take place this weekend in Salford, Greater Manchester. McDonald, a well-known singer and television presenter, expressed her excitement about hosting the event.
Schofield’s departure from ITV came after he admitted to having an “unwise but not illegal” relationship with a younger male colleague. As a result, the 61-year-old was dropped by his talent agency, YMU, and also lost his position as an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust charity. ITV has commissioned a barrister to conduct an external review of Schofield’s exit from This Morning, and the network’s executives will face questions from MPs next week regarding their handling of the situation.
In an Instagram statement, McDonald, 60 years old, said: “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 awards ceremony will be broadcast on ITV on Tuesday evening.
Schofield initially left This Morning after more than two decades, stating that he had “become the story” due to rumours of a rift between him and co-presenter Holly Willoughby. These reports surfaced after his brother was sentenced to 12 years in prison for child sex offences. At the time, ITV praised Schofield as “hands down one of the best broadcasters of his generation” and stated their intention to continue working with him on other projects, including the Soap Awards. However, he was dropped completely when details of the affair emerged the following week.
Willoughby, 41 years old, is scheduled to return to This Morning on Monday after her holiday. Meanwhile, ITV executives are set to appear before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday, where they will discuss the draft Media Bill and are expected to face questioning over the Schofield affair.
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