Willoughby herself, it should be said, is accused of nothing. “She is a great commercial commodity for ITV,” says celebrity publicist Mark Borkowski. “Holly would struggle on the BBC because of the level of commercial deals she has.”
He remains unconvinced that ITV will want to lose her. “Finding somebody of that quality: a woman, the girl next door, not particularly threatening, ITV are doing everything they can to try and mitigate the circumstances beyond this.
“The programme was going to respawn in some way and she is still the great hope for ITV at the moment. They will be throwing out there all sorts of focus groups, market research, talking to advertisers and making a careful decision.”
Some predict she will take a leave of absence until things die down. “I would be playing the ‘this has been a very difficult time’ and ‘the stresses and strains on the family’,” says Borkowski. “I would be preserving the situation and waiting to see where this story travels. Because it doesn’t seem to be over.”