Unmissable: As much as I like Phil, maybe it’s time for ITV to find some new stars

Phillip Schofield during filming for Alan Carr's Chatty Man Christmas special.
Pic: PA

Phillip Schofield during filming for Alan Carr's Chatty Man Christmas special. Pic: PA - Credit: PA

It’s very hard being a bit mean about someone who seems to be genuinely nice, but maybe it’s time that ITV lightened Phillip Schofield’s workload.

He’s back on the box on Saturday nights with the underwhelming hypnotherapy-based You’re Back in the Room.

Yes, it’s like Paul McKenna never happened. Despite Derren Brown’s efforts to update and improve on the old “get people to do silly stuff” formula, ITV has gone back to the 1980s with this new series.

And it seems that every time ITV has a new light entertainment show that needs a host, Pip’s top of the list.

The Cube? Call Phil. Text Santa? He’s your man. All Star Mr and Mrs (because we need to know what Liam Fox and Vanessa Feltz get up to behind closed doors, not with each other, of course)? Get Schofe on Skype.

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Hosting the Soap Awards, anchoring This Morning and presenting (the recently ended) Dancing on Ice seems not to be enough for the corporation’s bigwigs. They want more Schofield.

Don’t get me wrong – I like the former Broom Cupboard resident.

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As a kid, the then-brown haired, fresh-faced presenter was a fixture of children’s TV – the Beeb’s golden boy.

His chemistry with Sarah Greene was great on Going Live and his stint in the Broom Cupboard for CBBC set the tone for his successors. Don’t believe it? Then watch the Youtube video of him and his puppet pal miming to the rocking theme of Ulysses in the 31st Century. It’s genuinely brilliant.

I even remember seeing the Twitterholic on the West End stage as the surprise choice to follow on from Jason Donovan in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – and he wasn’t bad.

He’s been a steady and consistent presence on our screens for 30 years and deserves his role as something of a national treasure.

But what about the new talent coming through? When will ITV give an opportunity to someone who is neither Phillip Schofield or Ant and Dec?

Between them they seem to soak up the slots fronting the channel’s big hitting primetime shows but no one seems to question this approach.

Every now and then these situations seem to arise – at times we’ve had certain stars overexposed across various programmes, the likes of Davina McCall and Anthea Turner before her spring to mind.

But it’s less evident with Phil maybe because he’s just a good guy, and is actually well-liked across the country.

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, however.

What do you think? Email me at elliot.furniss@archant.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @Elliot_Furniss

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