Fern Britton has dismissed reports that she quit This Morning because of a rift with Phillip Schofield.
The 51-year-old presenter announced she is to leave the popular daytime show at the end of this series, after 10 years.
Introducing yesterday’s programme, Britton said Schofield was “simply the best” and she looked forward to “cheering on” whoever replaced her on the sofa.
In dismissing speculation surrounding her departure, she appeared to mouth an obscenity, which she said was “for our deaf viewers”.
“I realise people like to speculate, rather hurtfully, but the reason is 10 years is a long time on the show and I’m ready for a change,” she said.
“I want to slow down a little and enjoy life a bit. My immediate plan is to build a vegetable plot in the autumn and become a This Morning viewer cheering on whoever the lucky person is who will work with Phillip, because he is, after all, simply the best.
“So that’s the end of that.”
She then appeared to mouth the word “b******s” silently, before adding: “That’s for our deaf viewers.”
A number of reports suggested that Britton was quitting the show because she was unhappy at being paid less and having a lower profile than Schofield.
Schofield posted a message on his personal website yesterday, saying they had “clicked” from their first day together and he was proud of what they had achieved on the show.
On yesterday’s show he said: “Nobody will miss you more (than I will), let me say, but we do have four months to wreak havoc on the airwaves, so shall we start?”
Britton’s last appearance on This Morning will come on 17 July — the presenter’s 52nd birthday.
William Hill have opened a book on who will replace Britton on the sofa, with Ruth Langsford the favourite.
Former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips is at 4/1, while Schofield’s Dancing On Ice co-presenter Holly Willoughby is at 16/1.
Schofield’s one-time furry sidekick, Gordon the Gopher, is at 100/1, with Kerry Katona — who slurred her way through an interview on This Morning last summer — at 125/1.
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