This Morning: Watch Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary pay tribute to Phillip Schofield

Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary paid tribute to Phillip Schofield, as ITV News' Entertainment Correspondent Rishi Davda reports

This Morning has paid tribute to its outgoing presenter Phillip Schofield after the ITV programme returned for the first time since his departure was announced.

Schofield, who presented the show for more than 20 years, announced on Saturday that he would be stepping down from the show with "immediate effect".

Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary, who filled in as hosts in place of Holly Willoughby and Phil for Monday's edition, began by wishing Schofield "all the best for the future."

Watch the moment Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary pay tribute to Phillip Schofield

They said: "Now we can't start today's show without paying tribute to the man who spent the last two decades sitting on [the] This Morning sofa, Phillip Schofield.

"So as a show, everyone on and off-screen at ITV and This Morning want to say a huge thank you to Phil for what he's done to make the show such a success over the last 21 years.

"Quite simply we all know he's one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had and we and all the team wish him all the best for the future."

Willoughby, who Schofield has hosted alongside since 2009, will remain on the show, but she is taking early half-term holiday and will return on Monday June 5, the broadcaster has said.

ITV has yet to confirm who will take on hosting duties for the remainder of this week, but has said Willoughby will "co-present with members of the This Morning family" in the interim.

Last Thursday marked Schofield's last day on the show as the broadcaster said he will not be returning for a final episode.

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His departure followed reports claiming a breakdown in the relationship between the two presenters.

Schofield, who also shared the news in a post to his Instagram story on Saturday, said in a statement: "I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.

"Throughout my career in TV - including the very difficult last few days - I have always done my best to be honourable and kind.

"I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can't go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.

Phillip Schofield stepped down from This Morning with 'immediate effect' on Saturday. Credit: PA

"So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me - especially This Morning's amazing viewers - and I'll see you all for the Soap Awards next month."

On Schofield's departure, Willoughby wrote on her Instagram: "It's been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. The sofa won't feel the same without him.”

Schofield will continue to present "peak-time shows" for ITV, including next month's The British Soap Awards and a new prime-time series, the broadcaster has said.

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