Former This Morning star Dr Ranj has hit out at the show’s “toxic” culture before it airs on Monday for the first time since Phillip Schofield’s admission of an affair with a younger ITV colleague.
The veteran TV presenter, 61, resigned from the broadcaster on Friday and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an “unwise, but not illegal” affair with a young male colleague on This Morning.
Ranj Singh, who used to be the show’s resident doctor, said he raised concerns about “bullying and discrimination” two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was “managed out” for whistleblowing.
“The issues go far beyond him”
His statement – posted on Twitter and Instagram – comes as This Morning returns on Monday with Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary hosting.
Dr Ranj said: “I was on the show for 10 years and I genuinely loved and valued working there. However, over time, I grew increasingly worried about how things were behind-the-scenes and how people, including myself, were being treated.
“I didn’t know the truth about what was going on with Phillip, but I do know the issues with TM (This Morning) go far beyond him.
“It takes more than one person to create a culture.”
Dr Ranj said he raised his concerns with senior executives at ITV as he had been heavily involved in “diversity, anti-bullying and mental health projects” across the channel.
“I then found myself being used less and less,” he continued.
“I even took my concerns directly to the top of ITV: the culture at This Morning had become toxic, no longer aligned with ITV values, and I felt like because I whistle-blew I was managed out.
“But as history and experience have taught us, things like bullying and discrimination are very hard to prove, particularly in hindsight and when the ‘people in power’ control the narrative.
“As we’ve seen, no review or investigation is foolproof.”
It “still hurts”
The doctor said he was assured that things would be addressed and changes made but he has not worked on the show since – adding it “still hurts” two years on from lodging complaints.
An ITV spokesperson said: “We are sorry to read Dr Ranj’s post today. At ITV we are fully committed to providing every opportunity for anyone who works with us to raise any concern or comments they may have.
“Following a complaint made by Dr Ranj, we appointed an external and independent advisor to carry out a review. This external review found no evidence of bullying or discrimination.”
According to The Mail on Sunday, Schofield first met the younger ITV colleague whom he later had an affair with when he was aged 15.
Lawyers representing Schofield have confirmed they met when the boy was 15, but said the affair began after he started working at ITV, and the man’s lawyers have also said that it started after he joined the broadcaster.
In a statement on Friday, Schofield said it was when the younger man joined the show as an adult that their affair began.
ITV said it investigated “rumours of a relationship” between Schofield and the ITV employee about three years ago but both parties “categorically and repeatedly denied” it.
A spokesperson for the broadcaster said on Saturday that ITV was “not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour” when it looked into the matter in 2020.
“Phillip’s statement yesterday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship”, they added.
The broadcaster also said it was “deeply disappointed” by the “admissions of deceit” by Schofield after he spoke publicly about the affair.
Long-time co-host Holly Willoughby said in an Instagram story posted on Saturday: “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.”
In his statement, Schofield apologised for lying about the relationship.
“The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them (the Daily Mail), and to many others about a relationship that I had with someone working on This Morning,” he said.
“I did have a consensual, on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.”
He went on: “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.”