In her 23 years in the spotlight, it’s often felt like Holly Willoughby could do no wrong with her career choices – hellooo Dancing On Ice, Celebrity Juice, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, and that little-known 13-year gig on This Morning.
But lately, despite rave reviews for her presenting skills, the TV star has seen one of her new shows axed, and the other declared a dud after plummeting viewing figures. And insiders say it’s made her more grateful than ever she decided not to quit her mid-morning safety blanket…
“Holly’s so relieved to have the comfort of This Morning,” says an insider close to the 41-year-old ITV veteran, who has been co-hosting the popular show alongside pal Phillip Schofield since 2009 – and who last week got the chance to present live from inside Buckingham Palace ahead of the Jubilee. “Holly had previously had a bit of a wobble over her future and whether she should try and break out of daytime for good. But things haven’t gone as smoothly as she’d hoped with her other work, and it’s reminded her how cutthroat this world can be.”
Holly – who's mum to Harry, 13, Belle, 11, and Chester, seven, with TV producer husband Dan Baldwin – has been trying new projects in recent years, including holiday quiz show Take Off, fronted with fellow TV stalwart, Bradley Walsh. News broke last week that the BBC had “quietly axed” the primetime programme that saw audience members win luxury holidays. It follows news that Holly’s other big job on The Games also performed badly.
Two million viewers tuned in for launch night, but ratings dropped off dramatically to 500k by the second episode. Audience members at the live shows – which saw celebs compete in athletic challenges – were spotted actually getting up and leaving, with one insider claiming, “It wasn’t just a handful, it was noticeable.” One bright spot in the gloom, however, is BBC1’s Freeze the Fear With Wim Hof, which viewers praised as “brilliant”, with Holly and her co-presenter Lee Mack declared, “naturally hilarious”.
heat’s source continues, “In some ways, Holly wishes she hadn’t taken on so much extra work and spread herself so thin, it’s been very stressful. She’s been talking to her pal Fearne Cotton, who is all about cutting yourself slack and not putting yourself under huge amounts of pressure – especially when she’s a busy mother as well.
Fearne advised Holly to stay where she is at This Morning and to talk it out with producers. Holly is now considering making a bigger commitment to the show – even possibly signing up for another ten years!”