Holly’s ‘flirty’ with co-host but dream double act is clear, says expert

SINCE Phillip Schofield’s abrupt departure, a whole host of presenters have stepped in as Holly Willoughby’s co-host on This Morning.

But this week Ben Shephard has proved such a hit with fans that they have been begging ITV bosses to make him a permanent fixture.

Holly Willoughby has had a cast of rotating presenters... but who should take the job permanently?


Holly Willoughby has had a cast of rotating presenters… but who should take the job permanently?Credit: Rex

Holly, 42, has been paired up with Josie Gibson, Alison Hammond, Dermot O’Leary and Craig Doyle since Schofield quit, after admitting to an affair with a younger colleague.

But fans say Tipping Point presenter Ben, 48,  is the “perfect match” for Holly.

One posted: “Ben should be permanent with Holly. They’ve worked together loads. He can laugh at the right moment. He’s not loud. He’s respectful.. he’s professional.”

So just how does Holly get along with the rotating cast of co-hosts – and who does she share that extra frisson with?

Here, behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings analyses the on-screen chemistry between Holly and her fellow presenters.

Ben Shephard: ‘Dream team’

Ben Shephard is a regular on Good Morning Britain as well as fronting the game show Tipping Point, and with 25 years in the business, his experience is more than a match for Holly’s.

Jo says: “Ben Shephard and Holly seem like the dream team.

Ben Shephard's rapport with Holly was praised by fans


Ben Shephard’s rapport with Holly was praised by fansCredit: ITV

“Coming from GMB, he has a newsy, smart and informed style coupled with a gentle manner, which means he naturally complements Holly’s style and experience, without competing with it.

“It feels like this is the perfect long-term pairing just waiting to happen and no wonders viewers loved it so much.

“Ben has an experienced and reassuring touch and exudes just the right amount of confidence and humour whatever the subject, which will make him an easy co-presenter for Holly.”

Dermot O’Leary: ‘Stifled’

Jo feels Dermot O'Leary's personality struggles to shine through


Jo feels Dermot O’Leary’s personality struggles to shine throughCredit: Rex

Former X Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary, 50, joined Alison Hammond in a regular Friday slot from January 2021.

Jo says: “Dermot and Holly work well together but there doesn’t feel like there is any real presenting chemistry there.

“He seems to take his lead from all his female co-presenters and so his character and personality seem to feel a bit stifled, around a strong female presenting team.

“He seems daunted by Holly, which makes him come over as lacking confidence. There’s not a lot of natural flow between them.”

Alison Hammond: ‘The threat’

Alison Hammond could be Holly's natural successor, says Jo


Alison Hammond could be Holly’s natural successor, says JoCredit: Rex

Alison Hammond joined the show as a reporter, after finding fame on Big Brother in 2004, and joined Dermot on the Friday show from 2021.

The 48-year-old is currently presenting The Great British Bake Off and was nominated as Best Presenter in this years National Television Awards.

Jo says: “Alison, like Josie, has come from a Big Brother background, so they are both reality TV contestants turned presenters.

“Josie doesn’t feel like she presents any real threat to Holly’s crown, but Alison is a fast rising star and I imagine that she is the one to watch.

“I think while it all seems jolly enough, Holly may feel a little threatened by that, especially as it’s a show where viewers like the male/female combo and it could be that Alison will ultimately take over her role.

“They both have distinctly different personalities too – with Alison being earthy and outspoken and Holly being a little more polished and reserved. It might not be the best combo moving forwards, as the two differing personalities might clash.”

Josie Gibson: ‘Relaxed’

Josie Gibson's down-to-earth style has proved a hit with fans


Josie Gibson’s down-to-earth style has proved a hit with fansCredit: Rex

Josie Gibson, 38, starred in Big Brother in 2010 and took various presenting jobs before joining This Morning in 2019, becoming a regular presenter two years later.

Jo says: “There’s no real threat here so Holly feels more relaxed around Josie, especially as it allows Holly to shine on some of the more serious features on the show, while Josie slips into place as the lighter, more comedic one of the duo.

“She also has an earthiness about her, like Alison, so again this might create some friction between them during some segments.

“But like Dermot, she seems aware that she has less experience and history than Holly, understandably deferential, so lets her take the lead.”

Craig Doyle: ‘Sexual chemistry’

Craig Doyle and Holly's flirty vibes are impossible to ignore, says Jo


Craig Doyle and Holly’s flirty vibes are impossible to ignore, says JoCredit: Rex

Craig Doyle, 52, has been a regular part of the presenting team since May 2022.

Jo says: “With his cheeky Irish charm and easy banter, there is a good ‘sexual’ chemistry and natural flirting between Holly and Craig.

“He has more of a sporting background, so they fit in easily around each other, comfortable in their joint presenting style.

“I think Holly likes how relaxed Craig allows her to be, so there’s a spark between them that both accept and enjoy.”

Rylan Clark: ‘Little brother’

Rylan Clark and Holly look like pals on and off camera


Rylan Clark and Holly look like pals on and off cameraCredit: Rex

Former X Factor star Rylan Clark, 34, has become a sought-after presenter and been a regular guest host on the show since 2014.

Jo says: “It would be hard not to present well with Rylan – literally one of the nicest blokes in TV, without a shred of arrogance.

“Holly seems protective of Rylan, like he is her younger brother and is so relaxed with him that you can’t help but feel there is also a genuine friendship off-set as well as on-screen.

“Rylan also feels like has no agenda other than having an authentic curiosity and interest in guests, allowing Holly to feel like the senior presenter.”

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