Here are the latest updates on Holly Willoughby after the TV presenter announced she is leaving This Morning.
The 42-year-old’s departure from the ITV daytime show comes after a man was charged over an alleged plot to kidnap and murder the media personality.
Gavin Plumb, 36, has been remanded in custody after being charged with soliciting a man named David Nelson to commit murder, and incitement to commit kidnap between October 2nd and 5th in Harlow, Essex.
The charges indicate the defendant is accused of planning to assemble a ‘kidnap and restraint kit’ and encouraging a third party to travel to the UK to carry out the alleged offences.
Bosses of the ITV show were alerted to the alleged plot last Thursday morning, October 5th, with the TV star pulling out of the show just before it was due to go live on air, it has been reported.
The broadcaster is believed to be providing care and support for the presenter alongside the police.
In a statement shared to her page on Instagram on Tuesday (October 10th), Holly wrote: “I have let ITV know today that after 14 years, I will not be returning to This Morning.
“To everyone who has ever worked on the show over the years, thank you so so much. This is such a difficult goodbye, you are incredible and I forever will be proud of what we’ve done together.”
Celebrities and fans write messages of support
In the wake of the shocking news, friends, co-stars and celebrities have been sending messages of support for Willoughby, a mum-of-three.
In the comments section of her Instagram post, TV star Josie Gibson wrote: “You’ve made me laugh until my cheeks ache sharing the sofa with you. We are sending you so much love HW.”
Alison Hammond put: “This is a very sad day! Love you.” This Morning presenter Dermott O’Leary added: “Nothing but love and respect for you and yours. X.”
TV chef, James Martin typed: “Big love to you and your family see you soon and the door is always open for lunch or dinner …x.”
Presenter Laura Whitmore said: “You do what’s best for you. Look after yourself lovely Holly. You light up any screen you’re on xxx.”
Emma Kenny added: “You’re a powerhouse Holly….but you’re right, family should always come first x.” Also adding to the outpouring of love and support for the TV star, Dan Walker penned: “Wishing you all the best Holly.”
Broadcaster Susannah Reid wrote: “Sending love to you and your family Holly.” And, pop-star Emma Bunton posted: “Lots of love gorgeous girl.”
Following the shocking announcement, more than 9,000 people have commented on Willoughby’s post which has received 359,000 likes from her followers.
This Morning’s dramatic year
It has been a dramatic and turbulent year for the star and the show, after Willoughby’s former co-host Phillip Schofield left the show earlier this year after it came to light that he had been in a relationship with a much younger colleague.
The star admitted to the allegations of previously having a romantic relationship with the younger man and made a formal apology. ITV bosses say the pair ‘repeatedly denied’ having a relationship until after Schofield left the show.
An external review of the facts is currently underway.
Holly Willoughby makes decision to depart for her family
Willoughby’s three children are Belle, Harry and Chester – with husband Daniel Baldwin. The couple married in 2007.
About leaving the longstanding TV show, Willoughby said it was an ‘honour to just be part of its story’ but that she feels ‘I have to make this decision for me and my family’. She presented This Morning for 14 years.
ITV said it is looking forward to working with Holly Willoughby ‘in the future’ following the news she is quitting This Morning.
ITV bosses release a statement in support of Willoughby
In a statement, Kevin Lygo, managing director of media and entertainment at ITV, said: “We are sad that Holly is leaving This Morning, but respect her decision which we know will have been extremely difficult for her to make.
“Holly is one of the best loved, respected and most accomplished broadcasters in the UK. She has been at the heart of This Morning for the past 14 years, and she is adored by our viewers.
“Holly has brought her unique brand of warmth, energy, humour and fun to one of the country’s most popular daytime shows, and everyone on the programme will miss her enormously.
“She remains a much loved member of the ITV family and we look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.”
Paul O’Grady posthumously named Person of the Year by Peta
‘Peta urges everyone to follow his example and honour his memory by speaking up whenever they see an animal in need’
The late TV star Paul O’Grady has been named Peta’s Person of the Year for his ‘lifelong determination to make the world a kinder place for animals’.
The animal rights organisation said ‘he never wavered in his commitment to protecting the most vulnerable among us’.
O’Grady, who passed away in March this year aged 67, was a leading figure in a number of animal rights campaigns including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, which he was an ambassador for.
He rose to fame as a comedian best known for his drag persona Lily Savage. He went on to host light entertainment shows and became the host of For The Love of Dogs, which showcased life at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
The TV and radio star joined Peta in the 1990s to raise awareness about testing on animals, and urged the Lord Mayor of London to stop herding sheep across London Bridge in 2014.
He also raised awareness of the treatment of orcas kept in marine parks and joined a campaign to ban foie gras – a mousse or pate made from force-feeding ducks and geese.
Peta vice president Elisa Allen said: “Paul O’Grady once said that ‘it is our duty to treat animals with respect’, and he lived by his own principles every day by being a tireless animal advocate.
“Peta urges everyone to follow his example and honour his memory by speaking up whenever they see an animal in need.”
A statement from the Peta said: “Peta recognises and thanks Paul O’Grady for his lifelong determination to make the world a kinder place for animals.”
“He never wavered in his commitment to protecting the most vulnerable among us. We will always treasure his legacy of compassion,” it added.
O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio will be presented with the award on his behalf.
Manchester’s historic Portico Library awarded huge grant to secure its future
The funding has helped secure the future of the 218-year-old building
The Grade II-listed Portico Library will receive almost half a million pounds to transform the historic building.
The funding has helped secure the future of the 218-year-old building – a much-loved gem standing proudly on Mosley Street.
Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the £453,000 will see the treasured library undergo a huge revamp and preserve its book collection.
During its development, local communities in Manchester will be invited to help work on the project.
With particular focus on environmentally sustainable architectural plans, it aims to unite all three original floors of The Portico Library for the first time in 100 years.
The ground floor will be transformed into a ‘Northern bookshop’ which will hold educational activities, with areas for dining, exhibitions areas and meeting spaces.
While the upper floors will showcase the library’s incredible book collection and archives, which includes the first edition of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
John Carpenter, Chair of the Portico Library, said: “The news that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting The Portico Library’s bold scheme to open up and share its extraordinary heritage and collection, to Manchester residents and visitors, is a major cultural signal to Manchester, the North and the UK.”
He added: “This visionary project, years in the making, fulfils our mission of working with the many people in Manchester to explore, share and celebrate their diverse stories and the city’s literary and global heritage.
“Embracing creativity, collaboration and inclusivity, the project will unlock the Library’s past to plan for the future. We would like to thank the National Lottery players who have made it possible to realise our vision.”
Handwritten note with ‘plan to kill’ Brianna Ghey found in accused girl’s room
The note was found during a police search
A handwritten note with alleged details of a ‘plan to kill’ transgender teenager Brianna Ghey was found by police in the bedroom of Girl X.
The crumpled paper note (pictured) was discovered by officers during a search conducted at the accused’s home in March, more than a month after the tragic death of the 16-year-old.
Brianna was found after being stabbed 28 times in Culcheth Linear Park, Warrington, earlier this year.
The teenager was discovered by dog walkers just after 3pm on Saturday, February 11th.
Girl X from Warrington and Boy Y from Leigh both deny murder. During the trial, jurors at Manchester Crown Court heard how Girl X sent a picture of the handwritten note to Boy Y on February 3rd.
The note began with the header: “Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey.”
It continued: “Meet Boy Y at wooden posts 1pm. Walk down to library…bus stop. Wait until Brianna gets off bus then the 3 of us walk to Linear Park.
“Go to the pipe/tunnel area. I say code word to Boy Y. He stabs her in the back as I stab her in the stomach. Boy Y drags the body into the area. We both cover up the area with logs etc.”
In her opening speech, prosecutor Deanna Heer KC told the jury: “It is clearly, the prosecution say, a plan to kill Brianna Ghey.” During the same search on March 17th, officers found a note found in a drawer headlined ‘plan’.
Details in the note continued: “Give them alcohol with sleeping pills.
“Slit throat. I kill her. Dismember body. Place pieces in bin bags, bury bags 7ft underground, bones including.
“Get her to go to Linear park, go to the hidden spot near the bridge I usually go to. Someone jumps out and restrains her (plan B). I kill her.”
During the search, police also found a computer tablet and a black notebook.
Jurors heard that written in the notebook was the word ‘anarchy’ on one page, and on another there was a list of ‘what is right and wrong’. Another page had a ‘spider diagram’ with ‘good and ‘evil’ in the middle.
The ‘legs’ of the diagram lead to the words ‘forgiveness, justice, morality, good, suffering, evil, sin and free will’, the court heard.
On another page there were the words ‘Valentine’s gifts’ and on another the words ‘revision HW’. Prosecutor Cheryl Mottram said: “Homework, perhaps.”
Written on another page were the words ‘types of serial killers’, with a list under the heading.
Words underneath included ‘organised and disorganised’, ‘mass murder’, ‘psychotic’, ‘organised crime’ and ‘copy cat’. On another page were the words ‘films’, and ‘faves’.
Another page was headed with ‘Jeffrey Dahmer’ and then a ‘list of characteristics’. There were also notes about ‘John Wayne Gacy’, the ‘killer clown’.
The notebook also had written inside it a note which read ‘potential threats’ and ‘people that need to go’.
Another page had Boy Y’s name on it followed by a ‘list of qualities or attributes’. Underneath was written the words ‘trustworthy, funny, sociopath, good sense of humour, very very smart, genius level and not sociable’.
Officers also recovered a black purse inside a ‘cubby hole’ with a handwritten note inside.
The note read: “Friday 11th November, attitudes to forgiveness.” Jurors were told the note contained two names, including Gee Walker.
“Forgives her son Anthony’s killer,” it read. And continued: “Julie Nicholson, who could not forgive the terrorists who killed her daughter Jenny.”
Three handwritten notes were also found on the floor of the room. One read ‘serial killer facts’, with a ‘list of facts relating to serial killers’ including ‘killing themselves in police custody can be a final act of control’, ‘hedonism’ and ‘power and control orientated’.
Other notes made were ‘cruelty to animals’, ‘bed wetting past age of five’, ‘USA has the most serial killers’, ‘lack of empathy for others’ and ‘can be superficially charming’.
One note read ‘Dr Harold Frederick Shipman, aka Dr Death’, followed by the words ‘classification, serial killer’.
And jurors were told there was also a note in relation to ‘Richard Ramirez, or the ‘Night Stalker’.
The trial, which began on November 27th at Manchester Crown Court, continues.