Matt Lucas makes Gordon the Gopher joke as he pays tribute to Phillip Schofield

Matt Lucas joked about Phillip Schofield's former TV puppet sidekick Gordon the Gopher as he paid tribute to the TV presenter, who has talked about his sexuality for the first time.

Schofield wrote on Instagram that he had "been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay" before making an emotional appearance on This Morning along with his long-time co-host Holly Willoughby.

Little Britain star Lucas was among the first celebrities to share their support for Schofield.

He referred to the puppet Gordon the Gopher, who appeared alongside Schofield in the Broom Cupboard on Children's BBC in the 1980s.

Lucas tweeted: "I'm not surprised about Philip Schofield. Growing up I remember him presenting with Gordon the Gopher from inside that closet!

"Joking aside, that cannot have been an easy statement to make. People come out at different stages in their lives. Good luck Philip xxxx."

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan tweeted: "Takes a lot of guts to do this, not least when you're a very public figure & know it will all be dissected in a very public way.

"Sending my very best to @schofe & his family."

Actor and singer John Barrowman, who appears with Schofield on ITV series Dancing On Ice, welcomed his news and said "the nation loves you for who you are".

Writing on Instagram, he said: "So proud of you and your family Phillip. Welcome to your truth and authentic self."

"Can't wait to hug you and don't worry we got your back we are #LGBTQ+strong," he added.

Dancing On Ice contestant and Steps star Ian "H" Watkins posted on Instagram: "Bravo Phillip for your honesty.. Coming out is difficult but your family, friends and fans will be proud of you being your authentic self..

"I'm proud of your bravery.. Welcome officially to our beautiful rainbow family! We and our ally's will keep you safe xx #lgbtq #lgbt."

Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson recalled the time he talked to Schofield and Willoughby about his own sexuality on This Morning in 2010.

"Philip and holly were the first people I told on @thismorning 10 years ago ... letting me be brave and honest and confronting my truth," he tweeted.

"It was the best thing I did and have nothing but love and respect for him today ALL hail scofe!!!!!"

Fellow TV host Dermot O'Leary also sent his support to Schofield on Twitter, writing: "Sending big love to the Schofield and his family, @Schofe Stand up guy, heart of a lion. X."

This Morning star Dr Ranj Singh wrote on Twitter that "coming to terms with & being your authentic self is never easy, especially in the public eye".

He added that what Schofield has done is "incredibly courageous, powerful & will help so many. I am beaming with pride for him".

He said: "I'm even more proud of his family who seem so wonderful. #loveislove."

Former Love Island star Chris Hughes said that Schofield is "nothing but a great guy since the first time I met him, always asking how my family are, deserves a world of happiness, and hope this bravery provides him that. Great to see."

Pointless star Richard Osman posted: "When you create a new entertainment show and start discussing who should host, the first name on the list is always Phillip Schofield.

"That's a fact. He's just the very best at what he does, and the public adore him. Looking forward to many more years of his charm and brilliance."

Schofield has been married to wife Steph for more than 20 years and they have two daughters – Molly and Ruby.

He told Willoughby during his appearance on This Morning that he has received plenty of support from his friends and family.

He said: "My entire family, to a person, have grabbed us and said 'It's OK, we love you, we are proud of you', and every person I tell, it gets a little lighter and a little lighter.

"But at the same time I've made this decision, which is essential for me and for my head, which is the reason why I've done this, I'm very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this. They have been supporting this as, we got to this moment."

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