Huw Edwards and Phillip Schofield’s scandals trigger demand for change as TV bosses are under fire

As 2023 has seen its share of scandals involving TV presenters, TV bosses are now confronted with demands for actual change.

Huw Edwards and Phillip Schofield’s scandals trigger demand for change as TV bosses are under fire
© Karwai Tang / GETTY IMAGES
Huw Edwards and Phillip Schofield’s scandals trigger demand for change as TV bosses are under fire

Currently taking place is the Edinburgh TV Festival. Part of its programme are talks with streaming giants, debates around the future of the industry but also interviews with British TV bosses. On 23 August, Kevin Lygo, President of Television at ITV and on 24 August, Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer, were both questioned about the scandals that have rocked their channels in the past few months.

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These questions come as the internal investigation concerning Phillip Schofield is coming to an end and should reveal its report in September. They also come a month after Huw Edwards' placement in a mental health institution following the scandal that struck him.

Do these scandals have the potential to change TV institutions and what have the people the top planned?

Bosses at ITV have to prove they didn’t know about Phillip Schofield’s affair

Phillip Schofield stepped down for This Morning and ITV back in May 2023. Not long after that, it was revealed that the star presenter had had an affair with a member of staff whom he had met years prior, when this man was a minor.

At the time of the scandal, rumours and accusations of grooming flew around which, in an interview with BBC, Schofield denied. However he admitted to the affair, calling it ‘unwise but not illegal.’ Since the scandal broke out, ITV has had to lead an investigation about Phillip Schofield’s behaviour as well as the work environment on This Morning.

Now that the investigation, led by mediator Jane Mulcahy KC, has been going on for months, people want answers. Kevin Lygo, who spoke at the Edinburgh TV festival on 23 August asked the public to be patient and specified that the mediator is ‘talking to everyone involved.’

Not only that, it has been reported that Mulcahy has required everyone to hand over their phones. He says:

[She has] taken out phones and looking at every text we’ve sent, including emails and WhatsApps

This will determine who knew and how the affair was handled. Lygo and ITV claim that this scandal is taken very seriously and that it will encourage the channel to possibly ‘change (their) process to make it better.’

However, Lygo refuses to comply with pressure coming from the public and on social media saying:

There is an enormous pressure these days from the press and social media saying, “you’ve got to decide” and “why didn’t you fire him?”, and you just think “well hang on a minute we don’t know what the truth is yet.

Read more:Phillip Schofield: Was the This Morning presenter fired or did he step down?

BBC is ‘uncomfortable’ following Huw Edwards scandal

Also speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival was Charlotte Moore from BBC. The channel suffered a massive blow when in July 2023, star presenter Huw Edwards was revealed as the man who had paid an underage man over £35,000 for explicit pictures.The Sun had revealed the story keeping the name of the presenter a mystery therefore creator a tornado of rumours coming from mainstream and social media.

Even though the police has found no criminality in the accusations against Edwards, the BBC is now left to conduct an internal investigation. The scandal ended Edwards career but was also a moment of crisis for the channel as a whole as its boss, Tim Davie, kept mute for days, allowing other presenters to be accused of being the presenter in question.

Not only that, the BBC was challenged in how they handled the scandal. On 24 August, Moore shared that the story had left the BBC ‘very uncomfortable.’ She also express the will of the BBC to make sure that its staff behaviour is kept in check and points out that no level of seniority should play a role in how members of the channel treat each other.

We have to make sure respect at work is adhered to by everyone in this industry. It’s better to have these conversations than not have them.

It seems like Charlotte Moore hints at a general change within the TV industry and not just at the BBC. However, we cannot say if the channels are actually working together in order to ensure this ‘change in the culture’ Moore speaks about.

The results of both internal investigations will maybe encourage TV channels and the media in general to create a guideline on how to create a safe and positive work environment. This is more than needed as the scandal surrounding another TV presenter, Dan Wootton, is still ongoing.

Read more:

Dan Wootton loses support as solid proof of catfishing has been revealed

Dan Wootton: This could be the real reason why tabloids are not focusing on his scandal


The Telegraph: BBC content boss calls for ‘respect at work’ in wake of Huw Edwards scandal

Metro: ITV boss issues plea before Phillip Schofield investigation concludes

Phillip Schofield: ITV’s investigation into his scandal may not be as thorough as they claim Phillip Schofield: ITV’s investigation into his scandal may not be as thorough as they claim